Chamonix is an amazing place for running and hiking in the summer months. There is an abundance of well-marked trails throughout the area as well as the option to catch the train and explore routes across the valley. Here's a guide to some of my favourite Chamonix hiking trails, as well as the cafe's you can find on the way!
Buvette de Caillet
Buvette de Caillet is a small mountain cafe halfway between Chamonix and Mer de Glace. A 6 mile route can be found here. This route begins by heading out of Chamonix following the wide trails alongside the river Arve. The route crosses the river and heads up steep trails, reaching 'Buvette de Caillet' four miles into the hike. The route continues back down to Chamonix for a further two miles, entering Chamonix via the Planards area.
Distance: 5.9 miles/9.5km
Les Houches is a small mountain village down the valley from Chamonix. A 10 mile route can be found here. It begins along woodland trails heading out of Chamonix towards Petit Balcon Sud. These trails then continue past 'Parc de Merlet', a nature reserve with mountain wildlife, and 'Statue du Christ-Roi', a 25m monumental statue overlooking Les Houches. The route reaches the train station at Les Houches after six miles and at this point there are some options:
- Catch the train back to Chamonix
- Cross the main road into Les Houches centre
- Continue back to Chamonix along the River Arve
Distance: 10.3 miles/16.6km
Chalet de la Floria
Chalet de la Floria is a lovely cafe overlooking the valley. It's a perfect spot for coffee or lunch. The cafe can be found by following trails that are marked as leading to 'La Floria'. It is only a 45 minute walk directly from Chamonix town centre but a longer route can be found here. The route heads up steep trails to the bottom of the Charlanon lift before traversing across the mountain to the top of the Flegere lift. This section of trail is a bit more technical - at points the trail is narrow and rocky with steep drops. Once at the Flegere lift the trails become wider again and head down the mountain to Chalet de la Floria before returning to Chamonix town centre.
Distance: 8.9 miles/14.3km
Buvette du Plan de l'Aiguille
This route is tough and very steep! The trails can be accessed at the back of the car park behind the Aiguille du Midi cable car. The route weaves through the trees all the way up the mountain reaching the Refuge du Plan de l'Aiguille after almost four miles of uphill trails! This refuge provides a great viewpoint as well as somewhere to top up on water. The route the continues with another 15 minutes of walking up to the top of the cable car. There is another restaurant here as well as the option to take the cable car back down. Alternatively, the route retraces its steps back to the Refuge du Plan de l'Aiguille before taking a different path all the way back down into Chamonix town centre.
Distance: 8.5 miles/13.7km
I hope you can enjoy some of these beautiful routes. Be aware that out of season many of the mountain cafes and restaurants may be closed so pack enough food & water just in case.
If you want to plan your own routes then check out my guide here!