The Best Long Trails around Chamonix
This is our personal selection of the best long trails in and around Chamonix. Going for a long day hike or a long run in and around the Chamonix Valley will enable you to see more and reach places that are harder to reach and therefor likely to see less people. For the sake of this list we consider a trail long if its length is longer than 15 kilometers. If you are used to walking or running on the flat, then 15 kilometers might not seem like a lot but in our experience covering 15 kilometers in the mountains around Chamonix will quickly be a multi-hour endeavor. Especially if the vertical gain and loss are substantial. You might notice that many of trails we list here also can be found in our list of trails with the best views. That is not a coincidence. Longer often means more altitude and more altitude usually equals better views. So forgive us for the repitition.
A beautiful trail passing through two natural reserves providing some of the best natural scenery in the region
This is one of our overall favorite trails in the region and the trail that runs the full lenth of the Chamonix Valley makes this one easy to arrange from a logistics perspective. The trail runs the full length of the valleys on the northern side of the Aiguilles Rouges parallel to the Chamonix Valley. Where the Chamonix Valley is fully developed, the two valleys in this trail run through the Vallon de Berard and the Passy Natural reserves and as such they are completely undeveloped and offer pure natural scenery. You can do the trail in either direction but starting at the hamlet of Le Buet does reduce the vertical gain considerably and we find the views in that direction much better too. The trail has a spectacular starts as you pass by the Cascade de Berard and the Grotte a Farinet and then make your way through a beautiful forest on trails that follow the stream up the valley. From there you move into rocky terrain as you climb to the Col de Salenton before descending into the wide grass lands of the Passy Natural Reserve. We then visit Lac Pormenaz and pastures of the Montagne de Pormenaz before descending to Servoz. A truly spectacular day out and a justified choice for our #1 long trail in the region!
Beautiful views and high altitude lakes on this trail that covers most of the Aiguilles Rouge natural reserve
This beautiful trail also scores very high in our Trails with the Best Views category. Which makes sense as this trail visits the high altitude lakes of the Aiguilles Rouges natural reserve and as such provides spectacular views over the full length of the Chamonix Valley. The climb up from the Col des Montets is steep but it is our favorite approach for the very popular Lac Blanc. The Lac Blanc itself is famous for a reason and thanks to its refuge its a perfect spot for a break and a meal. The traverse to the Index and from there to the Col de la Gliere and the Col Cornu are rocky and very exposed but these are the highest altitude trails on the Aiguilles Rouge so good views and spectacular scenery are guaranteed. The two high altitude lakes of the Lacs Noirs and Lac Cornu are a nice added bonus. Overall, if you want to be able to say that you did most of what the Aiguille Rouge on the north-western mountains above Chamonix have to offer then this is the trail for you.
One of the harder trails on our site but with hard effort comes amazing rewards as you climb one of the highest peaks
This is our winner for the Trails with the Best Views category and its also an amazing choice for a long trail. It will be a long day out on quite steep and technical terrain so make sure you are up it before tackling this beast of a trail. We love this trail for its incredible views and the variety of scenery. Beautiful woodland trails, open pastures, rock ridges and spectacular summits. The highest point on this trail is the Mont Buet summit at 3096 meters. It's the highest point in the area and as such the views will be spectacular in all directions. This includes fantastic views of Mont Blanc in the distance. You will be passing a number of Cols and traverse high altitude ridges for much of the trail and you will see a great number of view points. If you can make it work then we really recommend you give this a try.
A well-known trail that explores large parts of the Sixt-Passy natural reserve above Servoz and Passy
This is one of our favorite loop trails which does a thorough exploration of the Desert de Plate and the Fiz mountains. Without your own car this one will be a bit tricky to get to but there are public transportation options in summer. This route is well-known in the region and it's also used for annual trail running race called the Tour des 5 Refuges. And you will indeed be visiting 5 refuges on the way which will make it much easier to provide food and water during your adventure. You can also book one of the refuges for the night and split this trail in two or even more parts. The majority of the trail takes place in the Sixt-Passy natural reserve so with the exception of the refuges you will be walking through pure natural scenery. The trail is very exposed without much forest to provide shade. The majority of it will be grasslands and pastures. The views from the mountain passes into the next valley are absolutely spectacular. Especially the view from Col d'Anterne is not something you will quickly forget.
A beautiful variant on Stage one of the Tour du Mont Blanc with stunning scenery and two really nice Refuges.
This is one of our overall favorite trails and in our opinion the clear winner for the Tour du Mont Blanc stage between Les Houches and Les Contamines. We think it best to take the Bellevue cable car and skip the uphill climb from Les Houches. It does not add to much value in our opinion and the trail is long enough as it is. From Bellevue you move down to this amazing suspended rope bring crossing the Torrent de Bionnassay. A river that originates at the Glacier de Bionnassay. From there you travel up this beautiful saddle to the Col de Tricot which opens up amazing new views into the Miage Valley and far beyond. The Chalets de Miage are absolutely fantastic and rightfully very popular with locals and tourists alike. Its then a short climb to the Chalets du Truc, another nice refuge and snack bar worthy of a stop-over. You then end up the beautiful town of Les Contamines. On a sunny day, there is no way in hell that you will not enjoy this spectacular route!
A big climb on this out-and-back trail to a spectacular view point where the Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers split
This is another well-known trail in the Chamonix Valley where you climb up to La Jonction. A rocky view point where the Glacier des Bossons and the Glacier de Taconnaz meet and split in two and make their own way down towards the valley. On the way you will be passing by two excellent buvettes. The Chalets du Glacier des Bossons, which can also be easily reached using the Les Bossons chair lift, and the Chalets des Pyramids further up the trail. These two make excellent spots for a break and a meal on the way up or a celebratory beer on the way down. The trail is beautiful with ever improving views of the glacier and Mont Blanc as you make your up higher and higher. It is quite a strenuous climb. Especially the last part is quite rocky. It is also an out-and-back so you will be doing the entire thing in reverse to get back to your starting point. In all honesty, we would definitely have ranked this trail higher if the way down just felt a bit less tedious. Overall, this trail has earned its popularity and if you want to see some glaciers up close then this is a really great option.
Looking for more long trails in and around Chamonix?
The trails we have presented above as the best long hiking and running trails around Chamonix are only a few of the many trails we have on our website. You can use our detailed search function to find trails based on a large number of variables, including length, elevation gain and loss, technical difficulty and much more. Using the search box below you can put in your own parameters and find your perfect long trail.
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