Day One - Arrival
Minibus transfer from the airport to your chalet. Settle in and meet fellow guests at dinner
Day Two - Morzine
A gentle walk today to familiarise yourself with Morzine, your chalet and its impressive surroundings. Your walk starts from the chalet and takes you along the picturesque River Dranse. Then from the Sentier du Renard you’ll encounter the dramatic Nyon waterfall. Here you can watch (or join!) brave souls canyoning down into the rapids below. Lunch at an alpine chalet, soaking up the sun or enjoy a picnic surrounded by mountain peaks. Finally your route back to your chalet takes you across wide green meadows and a section of the route of the Tour de France. On the way learning a little of Morzine’s history from your notes. (Grade easy: 4 miles/6.4 km)
Day Three - Avoriaz & Le Lac Vert
Today’s walk is at high altitude and a little more demanding. Take the cablecar up to beautiful alpine meadows where, continuing to ascend gently, you reach finally reach Switzerland at 2277 metres above sea level. We recommend a coffee stop at the Refuge de l’Abricotine beside the Swiss customs post. Back on the path you’ll reach for your camera as you stop to admire the Dents Blanches at 2576 metres and the Dents du Midi at 3,257 metres. Then there’s Lac Vert, a particularly scenic mountain tarn just over the border. Lunch at Col de Chéséry is always a treat, whether you take a picnic or indulge in a fondu. This is idyllic: breathing fresh mountain air and enjoying the peace and quiet of the mountains, surrounded by spectacular mountain views. A stretch of Grande Rondonée 5 takes you back down to the valley via the Chaux Fleurie lift and Lindarets Express. Finally, reflect on an exhilarating day’s walking in magnificent alpine scenery. (Grade: moderate. 5 miles/8 km; 4-5 hours. A number of ascents and descents).
Day Four - Le Pleney & Les Gets
A shorter day today with a number of scenic ups and downs. Beginning at the top station of the Pléney lift, you’ll look down on magnificent views to Morzine, the Vallee des l’Ardoisières, the Pointe de Ressachaux at 2173 metres and the limestone massif of Dents Blanches. Your walk takes you easily to the idyllically-situated Vaffier Restaurant. Here, admire fantastic vistas of Mont Blanc as you sip your coffee. There are two options for the descent to Les Gets; either walk steeply down through the meadows or take the chairlift from Les Chavannes. There are also options for lunch, either by the mountain lake or in Les Gets itself. You may wish to visit the Mechanical Music Museum (Le Musee de la Musique Mechanique) - about an hour is recommended. The museum is open daily from 10.15am - 7.15pm in July and August. Free entry with your MultiPass. (Grade: moderate. 4 miles/6.4 km; 3 hours. A number of ascents and descents today).
Day Five: Le Roc D’Enfer
A favourite walk in the heart of the Alps from Graydon to the hamlet of Col de l’Encrenaz. This is fairly strenuous and should only be attempted by confident walkers. Expect a number of gradients, including a rocky ascent, but nothing is technically difficult. Wild, high mountain terrain provides superb walking in this UNESCO protected region of the Chablis Alps. Listen out for Marmots in their rocky grassland home. Highlights include the distinctive Roc D’Enfer and alpine pastures where the famous Abundance cows with tinkling cowbells graze. The entire day you are surrounded by stunning mountain panoramas with the peaks of Mont Blanc a constant companion. Picnic lunch today at the Col Ratti. (Grade: moderate-strenuous. 5 miles/8 km; 4-5 hours. A number of ascents and descents today). If you prefer to exclude this walk, enjoy a more relaxing day visiting Chamonix by bus or taxi. Then take the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi in the Mont Blanc Massif. Or if you prefer to walk, we suggest a walk beside the River Dranse to the beautiful lake at Montriond.
Day Six - Mont Chery & Le Mont Caly
Another easier day today beginning and ending in nearby Les Gets. From the Belvedere at the top of the lift admire magnificent views of Mont Blanc to the south and also of the famous Aguilles Rouges and Aguilles du Midi. These ‘needles’ are part of a crystalline mountainous massif of the French Pre-Alps opposite the Mont Blanc Massif. A splendid ridge walk follows before descending to the Refuge at Mont Caly. This is a lovely spot to stop for rest and refreshment or to enjoy your picnic. In complete contrast, after lunch take a delightful woodland path on soft pine needles before finally descending to the Les Gets and your bus back to Morzine. (Grade: easy. 4 miles/6.4 km; 3-4 hours. The cable car does the climbing today so the walk is relatively easy apart from a fairly steep descent to Le Mont Caly).
Day Seven - Lac de Mines D’Or & Col de Cou
A delightful, classic walk from the Lac de Mines D’Or. Set off from an azure lake nestling in a bowl in the mountains. Climb up through pine forests enjoying wonderful views of the Roc d’Enfer, the Valley de la Manche and the Pointe de Nyon. Finally reach the Col de Cou at 2,000 metres on the border between France and Switzerland. Once this was a well-known smugglers’ route between the two countries; now it is renowned for being one of the alpine passes through which thousands of migrating birds fly. You may even see a golden eagle! Meet GR5 again on the path to the Swiss border used by the French Resistance during World War II. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the border or, if there is time, possibly continue to the Col de Bretolet in Switzerland. At its ornithological observatory 10,000 birds are caught, identified, weighed and ringed. On your route back down, you can stop for refreshments at the Chalets de Fréterolle. (Grade: moderate. 5 miles/8.4 km; 5 hours. Sustained ascending for around one hour but no very steep inclines).
Day Eight - Farewell and Departure