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Autumn hikes in Chamonix without lifts

Walks that don’t need lifts

Some of the valley’s loveliest walks don’t need lifts. Here’s a selection of  favourites, all accessible without lifts. Some can be started directly from the chalet.

Le Chapeau
A beautiful route which can be done as a short walk of around 1.5 hours out and back, from the hamlet of Le Lavancher. Or go direct from the chalet via the Sources d’Arveyron for longer walk an extra lookout over  the gorge (about  2.5 to 4 hrs out and back). Details and directions here.

La Floria

A straightforward 45 minute ascent, visible from the chalet – start from beside ‘Rabbit On The Roof” ski makers in Les Praz, on the side of the valley facing us (quickest way, about an hour from the chalet), or from near the “Paradis des Praz” just past the Golf Club. Can be made into a nice loop by combining these two routes. A beautiful view from the cafe, normally opens until early November, mainly according to the weather. If not bring a flask and  sandwiches!
Details and route here.

Lac Vert / Plaine Joux
Drive up to this lovely spot for classic views of Mont Blanc reflected in the water. Walk around the lake and then up behind it (take the fire road, signed to Chalets d’Ayeres, and then double back to the lake) for a different perspective. There’s a whole network of well signed paths round here. Plaine Joux, a short walk away, often has a restaurant open in autumn (call Passy Tourist Office to confirm on 04 50 58 80 52) or try l’Auberge des Gorges de la Diosaz in Servoz which has a very good restaurant. This whole  area has lots to explore –  More details here


This is a great place to walk in Autumn – there are various lovely out-and-back walks that can be done from the Col des Montets, which is beautiful in itself.  You can happily stroll around here, through a little nature trails up to the Aiguillette d’Argentiere or by a pretty stream on the ‘Chemin des Diligences’ to Vallorcine. Or take one of the three longer walks below: Le Berard, Les Granges or Loriaz.

Col des Montets 
You go through here on the drive to Vallorcine, and it’s well worth a stop.

A few hundred metres from the col, in the direction of Chamonix, you’ll see a parking place where you can access the Aiguillette des Posettes. A fantastic walk, about four hours as a round trip.

Le Berard

20 minutes walk from Le Buet is the very charming buvette over a waterfall. Below it, a steel walkway takes you directly beneath the cascade – spectacular. Carry on past the buvette into the nature reserve, a very pretty walk by the river which opens out  into a beautiful valley with a big  colony of ibex. NB Dogs are tolerated in this section of the nature reserve but must be on leads. The cascade is very dangerous for them  and also the ibex too so please do respect this. Map and more info and pics here.

Les  Granges
A picture perfect hamlet, accessed from Le Couteray just above Le Buet. Details here.

For the fit (or hire E-bikes! It is a long but straightforward trail), the trail continues above Les Granges to Loriaz. Details here.

Loriaz in early winter

La Jonction

An enormous ascent of amazing beauty.  Autumn is the best time  for this wonderful walk. Start early, it is a full day. You need to be fit!  Route overview and details here.

Lac Emosson (Switzerland)
Drive up past the Swiss border (obligatory to stop for Rivella, chocolate and Swiss wine!) and take the road signed to Lac Emosson. Plenty of parking at the top. Lots of walks up here including a remarkable fossilised beach with dinosaur footprints. If you want to do the walk to the footprints, get a good map as it’s quite a walk, 4/5 hours round trip. But just to walk over the impressive sweep of the dam and around the lake is lovely too, the turquoise water is spectacular against the golden leaves.