top-ten-trails-in-chamonix

Trails & Inspiration

Top 10 Trails to Run or Hike in the Chamonix Valley

In collaboration with HOKA, SportsShoes presents 10 of the best trails in the Chamonix Valley.
Choose to run or hike, fast or slow and go high or low; there are suitable options for athletes of every ability.
This collection has been handpicked by elite athlete Tom Wood, who divides his time between living in the UK and Chamonix.

chamonix-valley-top-ten-trails

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1. La Promenade - Le Tour to Chamonix (12.6 km)

One for those rainier days, or when your legs just need a little rest from all those big climbs. La Promenade takes you through the forests alongside L’Arve River as a tour of the villages and towns of the Chamonix Valley. Just follow the signs for Argentière and then Chamonix and you’re all set.

Take the number 2 bus to Le Tour.

argentiere

Photo by Simon Fitall on Unsplash

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2. Lac d'Emosson - Le Buet (11.1 km)

We challenge you to find a more spectacular 10K route than this stunning mountain trail from Lac d'Emosson, which starts on the border in Switzerland and finishes at Le Buet in France. This is one adventure you will not forget in a hurry and in good weather you're guaranteed stunning photographs towards Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains.

lac-d'emosson-le-buet

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3. Rochers des Mottets (8.95 km)

The best combination of stunning mountain views and café stops whilst at an approachable length too. This route takes you alongside the famous Montenvers mountain railway to the Rochers des Mottets buvette for an incredible vantage point over the Mer de Glace glacial valley. If you’re a fan of local produce, this route is the one for you, as an easy detour can be made on the return journey to take you past Le Caillet buvette – a quaint mountainside café that make their juices and pastries from local mountain ingredients.

rochers-des-mottets

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4. Blaitière Dessous (8.92 km)

A historical excursion to the remnants of the valley’s goat farming history. This route takes you on a zig-zagging climb over the town of Chamonix itself to the hillside pastures and alpages of the Blatière. Keep your ears open for the tinkling of cowbells on the way up!

blaitiere-dessous

Image credit: Tom Wood

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5. La Floria (9.66km)

A rewarding shorter trip for an easier day in the valley, great for running or even dog-walking. A gentle climb from the Chamonix delivers you to La Floria buvette, a beautiful café with stunning views onto Mont Blanc and the big glaciers. Remember to bring cash to enjoy some of their delicious pastries du jour!

la-floria

Image credit: Tom Wood

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6. Aiguillette des Posettes (12.7 km)

Perhaps my favourite run in the whole valley, and perhaps the one that resembles the fells of the Lake District or Eryri the most. Beginning with a grassy ascent through slates and bilberries the Aiguillette des Posettes is reached, an incredible viewpoint of the entire valley beneath Mont Blanc, and then deep into Switzerland in the other direction. An enjoyable, runnable ridge is followed to the Col des Posettes before another grassy climb and descent to complete the circuit of the Le Tour ski area. A route for photo opportunities!

aiguillette-des-possettes

Image credit: Tom Wood

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7. Argentrail - Trail des Grands Montets (14.5km)

A fast circuit that forms the route for the Argentrail trail race, held each year in July. It begins with a quick traverse along a balcony towards the pretty village and meadows of Le Lavancher, named after the old Savoie word for Avalanche. From here, head up the wooded zig-zags to the open pastures beneath the Grands Montets ski area and then enjoy the roaring descent back down to Argentière.

Take the number 1 or number 2 buses to Argentière.

argentrail-argentiere

Image credit: Tom Wood

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8. Mer de Glace (23.0 km)

Perhaps the most classic run in the Chamonix valley, a must-do for both runners and hikers, so remember to set a day for it! The highlight of the route is the high-level balcony traverse from one famous glacier to another, starting at the Montenvers Hotel overlooking the Mer de Glace to the Plan de l’Aiguille buvette and cable car station above the Glacier des Bossons. You’ll run along in awe of the giant pinnacles towering over you and have even better views out to the Aiguille Rouges on the opposite side of the valley.

mer-de-glace

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9. Au Sommet du Mont Buet (24.3 km)

If you’re looking for a proper summit experience without the need for any mountaineering equipment or guides, this is the route for it. Mont Buet stands at just over 3,000m tall and boasts an excellent circuit of forested climbs, rocky vistas and high-altitude ridge running. This is a route famous for dense snow patches even in July, so be sure to be prepared for a real mountain adventure.

Take the train to Le Buet.

au-sommet

Image credit: Tom Wood

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10. Lac Blanc par le Col Cornu (21.2km)

A real taste for the Aiguille Rouges nature reserve in the pinnacles above Chamonix.

Ever wondered where those stunning photos of lakeside trail runners that appear as silhouettes in front of Mont Blanc are taken? They’re at Lac Blanc, a glacial outflow of deep blue water in which sometimes you may even spot someone taking a freezing dip! The route climbs from Chamonix to the Lac and then descends to Argentière via a fun section of metal ladders on the steep rock walls, with plenty of views along the way.

Take the number 1 or 2 bus back from Argentière.

lac-blanc

Image credit: Tom Wood

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR CHAMONIX TRAILS KOMOOT COLLECTION NOW

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