6 awesome dog-friendly hikes in the French Alps

The French Alps are a world-renowned hiking mecca, the variety of alpine walks in the region makes it ideal for people looking for somewhere to stay with their dogs. The Aravis, in particular, is a superb location. From mountaintop treks to lakeside strolls there’s something to suit walkers of all levels. Read on to discover our favourite dog-friendly walks in the French Alps.

OVO Network’s tips for when hiking with your dog

Going on holiday to the French Alps in summer with your dog can be a fabulous experience, with incredible hiking trails and dog-friendly chalets, restaurants and shops! Before setting off, take a look at our five tips to get your dog holiday-ready.

A man and his dog on a hiking trail in the french alps with pine trees and mountains in the view

When out walking we’d always suggest you keep your dog on a lead. Some of our walks will take you across fields with livestock in them. In such cases, it’s best to know how to act, especially if the herd is accompanied by a guard dog. Check out our article on guard dogs in the Alps for our top tips on how to avoid an uncomfortable situation!

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3 Dog-friendly walks around the Aravis valley

Circuit Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A small chapel on the Circuit Jean Jaques Rousseau, a shady, dog friendly walk in the Alps

  • Difficulty – Very easy
  • Duration – 1 hour 30 minutes

This walk is a short hour and a half loop along the River Nom, just to the North-East of the town of Thônes. The trek is named after the Swiss writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau who stayed at a manor house situated in the hamlet of ‘La Tour’, which you will pass along the way. The walk is calm and enjoyable as the terrain is mostly flat. It is an ideal walk in the summer as the surrounding trees provide welcome shade for much of the route, making it easy for your dog to avoid the heat during the hike. Stop for a picnic along the way and let your dog enjoy the shallow riverbank. Read the full description of this walk here.

Croix de Colomban

The metal cross at the peak of the Colomban, a great spot to enjoy the views with your dog

  • Difficulty – Medium
  • Duration – 3 hours 30 minutes

This walk takes a good three and a half hours. The hike will lead you from the ski resort of La Croix Fry, part of Manigod village, to a large cross, known as the Croix de Colomban, which is situated high above the town of Thônes. The path takes you through dense forests and Alpine meadows and you will feel totally immersed in the stunning scenery. On a clear day, you will even be lucky enough to see Mont Blanc! Check out the full guide to the Col de Colomban walk on our Insider’s Guide.

The Hameau des Alpes

A small wooden bridge on the dog friendly hike the hameau des alpes loop over the river in a shady woodland

  • Difficulty – Very easy
  • Duration – One hour

This hike is a nice, easy one-hour loop through the La Clusaz valley. As you walk you’ll find some interesting information points dotted along the trail, giving you an insight into the scenery, nature and local heritage of this area. While you enjoy the environment, your canine friend can enjoy the numerous woodland smells! Find out all the details of this lovely dog-friendly walk in La Clusaz here.

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3 Dog-Friendly walks around Lake Annecy

Further down from the Aravis Mountains is Annecy, a beautiful bustling lakeside town. This change of scenery offers many other walks that are dog-friendly too. Discover more about hiking in Annecy here.

Roc de Chère

Man sitting on a large rock above Lake Annecy on the dog-friendly

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 2 hours 30 minutes

The Roc de Chère is a lovely natural reserve perched right on the side of Lake Annecy. Dozens of pathways criss-cross through the woodland area making room for many an adventure. Your dog will love it here, the trees offer excellent protection from the sun and the proximity to the lake makes this hike all the more worthwhile. Here and there you will be treated to stunning views, and if you’re lucky you may even stumble upon a beach – somewhere locals come to cliff jump from up to forty feet above the water!

La Cascade du Pissieu

A black labrador running in a river in the french alps

  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 1 hour

The Massif des Bauges is a vast, natural park on the other side of the lake from the Roc de Chère. With mountains that are lower and slightly less steep than the Aravis Mountains, the great number of hiking trails across this area are often flatter and less difficult. The views from the Bauges stretch out for miles across the surrounding alpine mountains, offering you plenty of opportunities to stop, have a picnic and take in the scenery. The trek up to the Cascade du Pissieu is a truly superb walk through the woods that will lead you to a stunning hidden waterfall. The walk is most enjoyable at the end of winter or shortly after heavy rain as that is when the current is strongest.

Mont Veyrier

View from the peak of Mont Veryier down over Lake Annecy

  • Difficulty – Medium
  • Duration – 3 hours 30 minutes

Mont Veyrier is the closest mountain hike to Annecy town centre. It is perhaps the hardest of the hikes on this list but the views at the top are astonishing. You can walk to the starting point from the town centre, and from there you just keep following the trail upwards, it will take you three hours to do the entire walk! There is a halfway point at which you can rest (which offers great views onto the lake and town below) but do push on to the top, as the panoramic view over the lake and the surrounding alpine mountains is unforgettable.

When not out on the trails, you and your pup both need the perfect chalet to put your feet up in! Take a look at our stunning pet-friendly chalets, most of which are just minutes away from the nearest hiking trails. Properties that allow pets can be hard to come by but we have a broad selection, with large fenced-off gardens and spacious living areas.

A dog friendly chalet in a field with mountain views in the French Alps

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Written by... Andrew


Hi, I'm Andrew and I am the Social Media Manager at OVO Network. I live in La Clusaz and love everything about life in the mountains. My favourite things to do are skiing, mountain biking and chilling by Lake Annecy with my little family! - andrew.goodman@ovonetwork.com