Hiking in Chamonix is a real joy – whether it’s gentle strolls on the valley floor, the sparkling air and cool pine woods of the valley sides, or the dramatic and beautiful high alpine walks. Wherever you are, the soaring peaks and glaciers above and the wild profusion of flowers below make an unforgettable frame for the dazzling snow-capped summit of Mont Blanc which dominates the valley.
The chalet’s position in the heart of the valley gives a huge variety of walks to start right from your door. Here are just a few favourites to get you started – there are walking guides at the chalet which you are welcome to borrow, with more detail as well as safety information. We also have a page on mountain walking safety here with suggested equipment list and photos.
Les Bois circuit
Almost level and suitable for pushchairs, this circuit takes you through the delightful hamlet of Les Bois, with its appealing chalets and gardens. Stop off here at the captivating Hotel La Prairie for drinks and crêpes beneath the shady pergolas, before winding on through the woods to Les Tines. If it’s open, peep into the tiny church here, to admire the beautifully painted interior before crossing the bridge at the old sawmills and strolling back beside the river as the sun filters through the pines. About an hour, though you can extend or cut short as you like.
The terrace of Chalet Floria, with over 4,000 plants, is one of the most bewitching spots in Chamonix. You can see the flag above the restaurant from the chalet, and it’s about an hour’s walk from the door. The path winds up through the pines, revealing a series of ravishing views before reaching the captivating terrace, where butterflies and hummingbird moths zip to and fro among the riot of flowers.
One of the most famous hikes in the Alps, a classic but straightforward high alpine walk through magnificent surroundings to a stunning pale green lake reflecting Mont Blanc. Lovely chalet at the lake serving lunch and drinks. You can go either from the Flegere lift, near the chalet (takes about 2 hours) or take the top lift from Flegere, the Index, to make it easier (about 1.5 hours). Check walk conditions by asking at Flegere before setting off, as there can be dangerous snowpack on the path well into July.
The Grands Balcons
The Grand Balcon Sud and Grand Balcon Nord take you along the natural balconies which run along the sides of the valley at around 2000m. The lifts whisk you up to the starting points, and from there it’s 2-3 hours through astounding scenery covered with flowers, whilst the jagged spires of the peaks with their pale turquoise glaciers set off the deep blue sky. Allow longer for a relaxing time with lunch stops etc – you may want to take a lot of pictures! For a full day out you can combine the Balcon Nord with the Aiguille du Midi, or the Balcon Sud with Lac Blanc.