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Across Land & Sea Travel Blog

Samoëns summer walks: our top three

Nº 1 - CHALET DU LIGNON TO CHALETS DE SALES

  • 1182m to 1872
  • 3-4 hours

Head towards the Cascade de Rouget above the pretty village of Sixt fer a Cheval. Continue past the waterfall to the Chalet du Lignon and start walking in the forests above the cascades.

As you reunite with the river and leave the trees, you’ll be treated to magnificent waterfalls on the open plateaus at higher altitudes.

Look out for chamois, marmots, and alpine birds.

Nº 2 - CONQUER LE CRIOU

  • 717m to 2207m
  • 5 hours

An enduring image of the Giffre Valley, the Criou continues to watch over Samoëns. For the full “I conquered the Criou” experience, walk from the village square bar that you had your first beer in when you arrived in Samoëns, or, park the car at Vallon en Haut, an area of Samoëns at the foot of the Criou. The first ninety minutes will take you through the vast conifer forests of the lower slopes until you reach the Chalets du Trot where the landscape opens up and you can start to enjoy the views over the valley that get better as you get higher.

The climb becomes tougher in the final stages and shouldn’t be attempted in some weathers as you do walk close to the edge. It is a long way down should you fall, so take care as you approach the summit and be sure to make the most of the views.

The view of the Giffre Valley as you approach Le Criou's summit

The view of the Giffre Valley as you approach Le Criou's summit

Nº 3 - WALK AT THE COL DE JOUX PLANE

  • 1712m to 1770m
  • 90 minutes

For a more gentle walk, head up the famed mountain pass, the Col de Joux Plane, and spend an afternoon exploring the area between the Grand Massif and Portes de Soleil. If you’re feeling hardcore, cycle the 11.6km road that climbs 989 vertical metres from Samoëns to the Col and has featured in the Tour de France twelve times. Otherwise, park the car by the lake.

From the top you’ll be able to see both ski resorts and can even walk on a couple of the pistes accessible from Les Gets. A favourite walk is to the cross at La Bourgeoise point (1772m). Its a family-friendly walk that offers views over the valley to Mont Blanc and beyond.

The restaurant at the top serves tasty traditional savoyard dishes. It’s all too easy to order a fondue and spend the rest of the afternoon drinking wine at this picture-perfect spot.

Views from La Bourgeoise, at the Col de Joux Plane

Views from La Bourgeoise, at the Col de Joux Plane

It’s important to note that these walks are given only as suggestions; these notes should not wholly be relied upon without looking at a map/guidebook, both of which are available at the tourist centre. As with all mountainous walking, don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you start and be prepared for rapidly changing, dramatic weather.

more on the french alps