I’ve put this list of family friendly walks around Chamonix together because it’s the guide that I wish I had when we started walking here as a family. I’ve got a similar blog post about Family Friendly Walks around Briancon too.. I have ended up writing up 16 hikes around in Chamonix in total. They aren’t in any particular order.
No. 1 – La Floria Chalet – Restaurant – Chamonix
La Floria is a short ‘lunchtime’ hike because it’s only 2km (each way) and 300m accent and takes around an 1 hour (up). You park in the La Flegere carpark in La Praz. Follow the path by the river and then after reaching the road, follow signs up to the restaurant. Anyone older than 4 years old can mange this. There are always lots of people carrying their children in back packs up. The walk goes up through the trees on a wide path. It’s impossible to get lost and is safe for children. There are often wild strawberries by the side of the path. The restaurant at the top is lovely. It has shady tables and great views out over the valley. You will need cash as they don’t take credit card. We have done this as the first walk since arriving in Chamonix because it’s so easy, delightful and great training for longer walks.
Park at La Flegere car park.
Lots of shady tables…
Happy kids on the way back down…
No. 2 – Gorges of the Diosaz – Servoz
Servoz is a short drive from Chamonix. The Gorges of Diosaz is a very child / family friendly walk. It is a step of steps up the side of a gorge with walk falls, over hanging rock and pretty views. Most children over 4 could walk up it. You can’t push a buggy up the steps but you lots of people carry kids up it in back packs. It doesn’t take long – perhaps an hour and a half. There is a lovely cafe at the bottom. Servoz itself is really pretty.
The path is a set of steps the whole way. You come back the way you go up.
No. 3 – Meadows and Glacier – Les Houches
This is a short, essentially flat walk where you get wonderful views to Glacier de Bionnassay and see lots of butterflies/wild flowers. Children from aged 4+ can manage this. You also get view of Aiguille de Bionnassay above which is 4052m. You take the Bellevue cable car from Les Houches. You then walk for 2km (with minimal accent and decent) to a meadow and then further if you like down to a look out point over the river / glacier. From the cable car, walk down passed the railway station. down a little and then turn left. Follow the path which is narrow in places along the mountain side. It takes roughly an hour each way. You come back the way you came and there is a nice cafe at the top of the cable car with good food.
The hardest bit. It’s got a cable to hold on to.
The path goes around to the glacier basin – although this is just morraine now that the glacier has retreated so far. If you keep going down then you get to an amazing suspension bridge. It’s worth the effort.
On the way back, you can extend this walk by walking to the top of the Prarion lift which takes another hour.
No. 4 – Cascade de Bérard, Vallorcine
If you drive north of Chamonix, up through Argentiere and over the col des montets, you get to Vallorcine. It’s a really pretty area with amazing wildlife and views. I think this is the best child friendly walk in Chamonix. You can adjust the length of the walk to suit your child’s capabilities. You can park at Buet (don’t forget to pay for parking or get a 15 EUR fine), cross the road and can follow signs up to the waterfalls. There is cafe just above the walk falls with good ice creams. It takes perhaps 15 minutes from the carpark to the waterfalls. Any age of child can get this far. If you kids are between 4-7 then you could walk futher up to the river. There are lots of places to paddle and have a picnic – so you can just turn around when you have had enough.
There is a cafe at the bottom by the waterfalls.
No. 5 – …or for older kids visit Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, Vallorcine
If you have kids over 7 and they are fit then you could take them up to the Refuge de la Pierre a Berard. The route is 5.3km, 580m accent and took us 2.5 hours to walk up. The food is wonderful (try the tarte aux myrtilles!) and they have cold beer. If you are planning to eat then take cash.
The path takes you up by the side of the river.
Photo of Refuge to Pierre a Berard from Wikipedia.
Filing up water at the hut. Once you leave the forest – it can be hot in the sun.
No. 6 – Aiguillette des Posettes, Vallocine
This is a cracking ridge walk with stunning views – worthy of being in my list of family friendly hikes near Chamonix! It’s a reasonably long walk at 10km in length. However, you gain height quickly using the cable car in Vallocine and only then climb around 300m to reach the summit. You are treated with amazing views all along the ridge. The keep is to get onto the ridge and stay on the ridge all the way. There is a clear, well marked path with good steps on the decent. There is only slightly steep section just as you come into the forrest on the way down but this passes quickly.
You take the lift up and then join the ridge path.
Walking up the ridge with wonderful views all around.
The summit with Mont Blanc in the background.
Walking along the valley floor on the way back.
No. 7 – La Flegere to Planpraz, Chamonix – Along the Grand Balcon Sud
This is a lovely family friendly walk between two cable car stations with wonderful views over Mont Blanc. It is about 5km, 300m accent and takes around 2 hours. The Grand Balcon Sud is a winding path along the side of the mountain. There are few places where it is a little narrow and you might want to hold your child’s hand. It’s well signed from La Flegere.
One of the narrower sections of the path.
No. 8 – Plan de l’Aiguille to Montenvers along the Grand Balcon Nord
This might be the best child friendly walk in Chamonix. You can combine this walk with a trip up the Aiguille du Midi. After looking over amazing peaks, you then come back to the lower station. You walk across to Montenvers and either take the Mer De Glace train down or walk down. I would highly recommend the training. If you are going to do this walk then book your place on the Aiguille du midi and get the Chamonix multipass which includes the train down. The route has around 380m accent and 6.2km and took around 3 hours including lunch and plenty of snacks.
You start at Plan de l’Aigullee cable car and follow signs and join the Gran Balcon nord. There are lots of place to have picnics. When you near the end, follow signs to Signal Forbes. Don’t be tempted to avoid this uphil section. It’s worth the effort with amazing views down to the Mer de Glace.
You traverse this path whilst having amazing views in all directions.
Almost down to the train station.
No. 9 – Argentière Glacier – Pointe de Vue
If you and your family would like the chance to see a glacier up close then this is a great child friendly walk. You take the cable car up from the Grand Montet to the highest lift (currently Plan Joran) You follow the signs and path around to Point de Vue.
You can have a picnic at the top – looking down over the glacier. Don’t be tempted to walk on the glacier without ropes / crampons etc.
You walk on the same route to the view and back again. You can extend the walk by wakling to the Refuge and then down into Argentiere but this takes an extra 1.5 hours and the walking is steep.
No. 10 – Bisse du Trient (Trient, Switzerland)
Okay, this isn’t Chamonix, but it’s just 30 minutes drive away, down the valley passed Vallorcine. It’s such a good walk, that I think it’s worth including. This walk starts from the Col de la Forclaz and follows a gentle old irrigation channel dating from 1895. This channel was used to bring water from the Glacier du Trient to the Col de la Forclaz and also bring down ice from the Glacier too. There are numerous signs explaining the history of the area along the route. It’s very gentle walking – you can even take a buggy. However, the views lovely and the Buvette du Glacier Trient is wonderful. You can buy food in EUR’s.
The route is quite flexible. You can walk to the cafe and back on flat, easy paths. However, we had two cars, so parked one at the Col de La Forclaz and the second by the Refuse de Peuty in Trient (down the valley). Then we walked from Col de La Forclaz to the cafe, had lunch and then walked up the river to a view point. Then we walked down to the Rufuse Le Peuty. It took 1.5 hours to the first cafe and then 2 hours to the viewpoint and back down.
Great views all into the valley from the track and irrigation channel.
Yummy food at the cafe.
Looking at the Trient glacier and cooling down feet in the super cold water.
No. 11 – Lac Emosson – Switzerland
It takes 40 minutes to drive to the Lac Emosson from Chamonix – so you might be asking – is this really a family friendly hike around Chamonix?… Well yes, it’s totally worth the effort to get there. You drive to the Lac Emosson car park which is a really long and windy road. The walk takes around 5 hours, has 550m accent and 12km. You leave the carpark, stop for a coffee, then walk around the edge of the dam. You should walk up the gorge and not up the road because it’s much easier to walk up difficult terrain than walking down.
You walk up the well marked footpath from the side of the lake.
The way up is on a rough and sometimes requires some scrambling – however it’s well marked, isn’t hard walking and kids enjoy it.
When you get to the top – the views are stunning. You also find some 250 million year old footprints in the rock which have been lifts up from the sea bed.
If you come up the rough gorge track – then you can enjoying a gentle walk down.
You can stop at a lovely cafe on the way down. We have lunch here it was really tasty.
No. 12 – Lac Vert – Servoz
This is a really easy walk with a stunning lake. It’s about 30 minutes drive from Chamonix. You can drive to this lake but that’s not the point. There is a restaurant too but it makes such a lovely spot for a picnic that’s what we choose to do. You can park at La Cote parking. You can then walk easy paths to the lack. The whole walk is around 4km and 300m accent.
No. 13 – Refuse de Nant Borrant – Les Contamines-Montjoie
This family friendly walk is about 40 minutes drive from Chamonix. The walk is really easy with good signs. It takes 45 minutes to get to the hut and you could extend the walk by going to another hut or just making a larger circle. The Refuse de Nant Borrant is popular and so it might be worth booking a table if you are planning to eat there. It is 2.2km walking and around 300m accent. If you are looking for a longer walk in this area then you could keep going up the Refuge to Balme and then onto the Lac Jovet for a longer walk.
Here is map (a photo taken from one of the numerious signs)
The path on the way is steep at the start and then levels off.
A pretty garden with great views.
Totally worth the €16.
No. 14 – Lac d’Armancette – Les Contamines-Montjoie
This a nice simple walk up good paths (although not buggy friendly) up to a lake with good views across the valley and up into the high mountains. You park at the Frasse parking which is just above the centre of Contamines and then follow a series of forest tracks, then a forest footpath up until you pop up out of the forest at a lake. The lake is just 2.2km / 450m accent from the Frasse carpark. It took us around 1.5 hours up and then 40 minutes down. You can extend the walk higher up to and then down a different track – as I have shown on the map or horizonally up the valley. There were lots of families doing this walk when we went.
This is the start. You can just see the parking a Frasse and the path (which is really steep at the start).
Having a picnic at the lake – looking up at the snowy mountains above.
You get great views of Mont Joly on the way down.
No. 15 – Refuge Tornieux – Near Sallanches
The start of the walk is 30 minutes drive from Chamonix. You probably need children at least 7 years old because it’s 7.5km, 560m accent and takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Refuse Tornieux. The way up is through some woods on a steep path which pops out onto grassy meadows with lots of cows with jingling bells around their necks. It’s worth the effort though as the food and views are amazing. You have a set menu with salad, cold meats, fried potato things, cheese and pudding. You might need to book a table. It is also possible to drive to the restaurant.
You park at Parking de Lintre and then follow the signs.
Lovely woods on the way up and down.
Beautiful meadows at the top.
No. 16 – Lac Blanc – Chamonix
This route must be the most popular family friendly walk in Chamonix. I’ve put this in here for completeness but I think it’s over rated. There are severals ways to get to Lac Blanc and it really depends on how fit you are and how much effort you want to make. You can decend down to Lac Blanc from L’Index or climb up to it from the La Flegere lift. We choose decending from L’Index lift to Lac Blanc and then decending to the La Flegiere lift from Lac Blanc. Other variations include doing the reverse and on our walk and we saw plenty of families walking up from La Flegere to Lac Blanc. The path is really good and well marked. It took us around 1.5 hours from L’Index to Lac Blanc and then 1 hour to decend at La Flegere – both at a leasurely pace.
It’s worth keeping your eye out for climbers in the cliffs above the path. You have amazing views over to Mont Blanc, the valley Blanc, Argentiere glacier and La Tour. We had lunch at the Refuge du Lac Blanc. Main courses around 15 EUR and drinks around 4 EUR. There is a toilet which costs 2 EUR.
We took the lift up to L’Index and then walked down to Lac Blanc.
Amazing panoramic views on the walk up / down.