The Best Low Altitude and Valley Floor Trails around Chamonix
This is our personal selection of the best trails around Chamonix that stay at a low altitude or even stay on the valley floor. Everyone's first instincts when they visit Chamonix is to climb one thousand vertical meters and do one of the more spectacular trails that be found on the plateaus on either side of the valley. If you are not up for a vertical kilometer climb or if the gondolas and lifts aren't running then there is still plenty of natural beauty to be found at the lower altitudes or even on the valley floor. The first trails that will come to mind are the Petite Balcon Sud and the Petite Balcon Nord that run through the valley at relatively low altitude and connect most of the the towns and hamlets in the valley. They are a great way of getting around but in our opinion there are better options and we will discuss them here.
An amazing waterfall, a little restaurant, a cave and beautiful trails lined with wooden totem carvings
This is one of our overall favorite trails near Chamonix, so you will see it popup in multiple categories. Its also one of the best trails do with children and your family. The Cascade de Berard waterfall is in our personal opinion the nicest waterfall in the direct vicinity of Chamonix. The waterfall has a very impressive viewing deck. Right above the waterfall is the Buvette de Berard, a nice little restaurant where you can enjoy a snack or a meal. The Grotte de Farinet cave is located right behind the restaurant. The cave is not very big but it is still a nice little add-on to an already excellent trail. Lastly, there are a number of wooden totems on the trail to the waterfall and back to Le Buet. In its category and length and altitude this is probably as good as it gets near Chamonix.
A beautiful forest trail, a waterfall, a view deck over the Mer de Glace glacier and an amazing buvette that services delicious cakes
This is our favorite low altitude trail near Chamonix. It is also highly recommend for families with kids. The trails begins at the hamlet of Le Lavancher. You can either park your car there or make your way up from the Lavancher bus stop. It starts with a nice forest trail that leads to a fantastic view point over the Rochers de Mottets. From there you climb up until you reach an opening where you will find the Cascade du Chapeau waterfall. From there its another short hike up to the Buvette du Chapeau, a lovely little restaurant with a nice outdoor sitting and viewing deck. They serve amazing tartlettes. There is an optional little trail that you can add on to go to a viewing deck over the Mer de Glace glacier. All in all, a really nice short trail with a nice variety of terrain, multiple view points and a great buvette.
A church, a tiny chapel, two waterfalls and amazing scenery in this fantastic loop near Les Contamines
This trail is a bit far from Chamonix but if you are willing to explore a bit further away from the Chamonix Valley then this is a trail we can highly recommend. The entire valley south from Les Contamines is blessed with stunning scenery. This trail starts at the Notre Dame de la Gorge chapel and then proceeds to visit the nearby Sainte Chapelle. A tiny chapel mounted against a rock face above the river. The trail also visits two waterfalls. The Cascade du Pont Romain and the Cascade de Combe Noir. Both very beautiful. In between we make our way through open pastures. Overall, a really beautiful trail that stays at low altitude and, although a bit lengthy, it is still very doable for families with children.
A deep ravine with wooden walkways mounted on the side with a river and multiple waterfalls below it. Absolutely spectacular!
The Gorges de la Diosaz is one of our favorite destinations for a short but spectacular walk with the kids. The entrance to the gorge is located on the eastern end of Servoz. The beautiful Diosaz river runs through a steep ravine with beautiful cliff sides. On those cliff sides they have built wooden foot bridges that enable you to travel deep into the ravine. These wood bridges are absolutely amazing, often overhanging the ravine and giving great views into the river and waterfalls below. The trail ends at the Cascade du Voire waterfall. That is where the trail ends and then you will take the same trail back. There are sign posts all along the way providing historical context and stories about the sights you will see along the way. There is a snack bar at the entrance of the gorges where you can buy pancakes and other snacks.
Great variety of scenery and points of interests including 2 chapels, a playground and 2 nice places to eat
This trail starts at the town of Argentiere at the northern side of the Chamonix Valley. The town has some nice shops and restaurants and the Eglise de Saint-Pierre church which is worth visiting. The trail then moves to the forest passing by the small wooden Chapelle Protestante on the way. We then go through the forest and pass by a nice playground with a little stream where the kids can play before going La Cremerie du Glacier. You enjoy a great meal there before proceeding on and climbing up to the lovely hamlet of Le Planet. From there we descend to Montroc passing by a dairy farm with a little shop before going to Tre-le-Champ with a nice little view point with wooden totems. From there its nice gentle walk back to Argentiere. All in all, a fantastic little loop walk that covers most of the highlights around Argentiere. It will not disappoint!
A lake with a restaurant and a big playground, a lovely hamlet and a beautiful pasture with amazing views
This lovely trail stays at a relatively low altitude and will be a great option if you are visiting Chamonix outside of the peak summer months. Lac des Chavants is a recreation area which includes a lake, a climbing wall, a large playground and a nice little restaurant on the lake. From there you will be entering a nice ondulating forest path with nice little streams on all sides. From there you will make your way to one our favorite and most pictoresque hamlets in the area: Vaudagne. The old school building and the Chapellle de Vaudagne are very nice. We climb through Vaudagne and make our way to the pastures at the Chalets de Charousse. Easily our favorite pasture in the valley with the amazing Mont Blanc back drop and the farm houses are equally stunning. All in all, a nice little loop with a great mixture of scenery.
Looking for more low altitude trails around Chamonix?
The trails we have presented above as the best low altitude and valley floor 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. There is also a tag called "Low Altitude" which you can use to find trails that stay at lower altitude. Using the search box below you can put in your own parameters and find your perfect long trail.
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