Merlet to Bellachat and Aiguillette des Houches
Elevation + / -
1005m / 1005m
When to go
Mid Jun - End Sep
3.0 - 5.0 Hours
1382m / 2315m
2.0 - 3.5 Hours
9+ Years old
This route is the easiest way to enable you to enjoy the spectacular views from the Refuge de Bellachat and the Aiguillette des Houches without the need to ride the lifts to Planpraz and Brevent. The trail starts at the Merlet animal park. If you are using your own car then you can park it at any of the parking bays at Merlet. If you are using public transport then check the website of the Merlet animal park for the bus schedule. From Merlet your first destination is the Refuge de Bellachat. This refuge has an amazing setting and its an amazing location to enjoy a snack and a drink. Great views all along the Chamonix valley. After leaving the refuge you will head towards the Aiguillette des Houches following the crest trail. This part is absolutely spectacular with amazing views of Mont Blanc and the mountain ranges all around you. At the Aiguilette you will head down towards the Chalets de Chailloux before heading back to Merlet.
Photos of this Trail
We have a large library of pictures from in and around the Chamonix Valley. All pictures are categorized and geo location tagged. These are the pictures we have for this trail. Click on any picture to view it's details and location.
Trail Directions & Safety Considerations
9+ Years old
Natural Reserve. Dogs not allowed.
When to Go
Mid Jun - End Sep
Risk Considerations & Difficulty Assessment
This route reaches an altitude of 2315m at the Aiguillette des Houches. The trail will usually be clear of snow and fully accessible from mid June to the end of September. Always check conditions ahead of time. The trails are generally well marked. There are a couple of trails that can take you from Refuge Bellachat to the Aiguillette des Houches. The main one is more north and will be clearly marked on your hiking map. The more spectacular route leads you over the crest and over the Aiguillette de Brevent. Follow the crest and the trail should be easy to follow. The trails are generally well kept but are rocky. The trail on the crest is less well groomed and can be a bit more challenging. If you are doing this with kids then taking the safer main route between Bellachat and the Aiguillete des Houches is probably a better idea.
Trail Starting Point
The starting point of this trail is at Park Merlet. You can park your car at one of the parking bays near the Park. There is also a bus that runs from the Les Houches train station down in the valley but it only runs in the peak summer months. Check directly with Parc Merlet to confirm its operating hours.
There are hiking trails that circle around Park Merlet. Depending on where you parked or where you got dropped off by the bus you can either take the left or the right side trail to meet up with the main trail going from Merlet to Bellachat. Once you are on that trail to Bellachat you will not be able to get lost. Once you are at Refuge de Bellachat, you will notice a couple of trails heading west towards the Aiguillette des Houches. The main trail takes you more north and away from the crest. This route is the safest with children and the easiest to follow. The trail we are suggesting is to follow the crest and walk the entire length of the crest to Aiguillette des Houches. The trail is widely used and should be in good conditions. Do not take this trail if you are early or late in the season and snow is partially covering the trail. Once you reach the Aiguillette des Houches there will be a big trail marker indicating the way back to Park Merlet. Follow the trail down the mountain and keep following the signs for Park Merlet till you are back to the starting point.
Points of Interest for this Trail
We have a large database of all of the points of interests in and around Chamonix. These are the points of interest you will find along this trail:
3D Map & GPS
Trail Route Map & GPS
You can download the GPX file and load this route into your own GPS enabled device or application. If you are on Strava, then you can open this route in Strava and save it to your account.
3D Map of this Trail
FATMAP in an incredible website and mobile application that you can use to view the trail in full 3D, do a fly over of the route and get a detailed vertical profile. You can view the FATMAP of this trail below and use the 'View larger map' link to visit the trail on the FATMAP website.