10 Easy/Moderate Hikes in Chamonix with Stunning Views

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Chamonix has the most breathtaking mountains—both literally and figuratively. The hikes are stunning, but their difficulty is no joke. Not to mention, the higher elevation of 1040m/3400ft above sea level can take some getting used to.

As a marathoner and day hiker, I was constantly sore during my 2.5 weeks in Chamonix; I was balancing road marathon training while trying to enjoy as many hikes as possible. As you can imagine, I had to stick to the easier routes I could do on my off days, or squeeze in after my run.

So, I’ve rounded up the prettiest hikes in Chamonix that are on the easier/more moderate side—to save your legs from getting too sore, and save you time in planning your hikes!

This post contains affiliate links to some hiking gear/services. If you purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support is much appreciated!

FAQs About Hiking in Chamonix

What is the absolute best hike?

The most memorable one for me was Grand Balcon Nord. The views are truly otherworldly, especially in the early morning when the sun in shining through the mist.

What is the easiest hike even my grandpa/grandma/kid could do?

The flattest, simplest hike would be Les Bois du Chamonix. It’s more of a walk than a hike, as the trails aren’t technical. That said, it’s not nearly as scenic as the others since it’s in the woods and not the mountains. For a scenic but still-manageable hike, I recommend Chamonix – Cascade du Dard or Les Gaillands – Le Petit Balcon Sud.

Do any hikes start from the city center?

Yes, these can easily start from the city center, or very close to it:

Also, for the hikes that don’t start/end in the city center, you can usually take a quick bus or train ride to them. If you’re staying in a Chamonix hotel/Airbnb, you can show your reservation at the Office of Tourism and get a free public transport card.

Best Easy/Moderate Hikes in Chamonix

Note: I’ve linked the Alltrails maps, but keep in mind that I do suggest modifications for some of these, so please read carefully.

1. Grand Balcon Nord (one way)

Distance: 6.9km/4.3mi
Elevation Gain: 198m/650ft
Time: 2h30
Trail map

Craggy peaks as you get towards the Montenvers end of the Grand Balcon Nord hike

The Grand Balcon Nord is one of the most popular hikes in Chamonix, and for good reason. The views are out of this world, with craggy peaks, lush green grass, and mountain mist. Because you’re at a higher elevation, the landscapes feel very distinct from the other hikes I did on this list.

The original hike is actually quite challenging, but I modified it to be one-way and mostly downhill. To get to the start of this modified route, you need to take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to Plan de l’Aiguille (the midpoint). At the end of the hike, you’ll also need to take the Montenvers train back to Chamonix city center (this and the cable car were included with the Mont Blanc MultiPass).

This saved me a LOT of climbing, and it was actually a mostly downhill hike with only 198m/650ft of gain and 366m/1200ft of loss.

I also did end up visiting the Mer de Glace at the end of the route with the MultiPass, but I wouldn’t recommend it. This is an ice cave carved out of a glacier, and because of climate change, the glacier has receded a lot and you have to climb down (and up) 580 steps to reach the cave. The cave may have been more impressive in the past, but in August 2023, the interior was very simple and rapidly melting.

2. Les Gaillands – Le Petit Balcon Sud

Distance: 4km/2.5mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 1h30
Trail map

Me sitting on the rocks looking out at the Bossons mountain range

This hike is short, easy, and sweet. The hike starts near two peaceful lakes (Lac à l’Anglais and Lac des Gaillands); make sure to check out the ruins on the East side of Lac à l’Anglais, and sit and relax by the Lac des Gaillands after the hike.

The hike climbs steadily until you get a lovely view of the Bossons Glacier. Since the hike is a loop, you’ll get a couple main viewpoints as you walk along the Petit Balcon Sud. First, there’s one by a small stream, and another with a bench.

While this hike isn’t as jaw-dropping as some of the others, I liked it because it had more gradual elevation gain; I actually did this right after my run for the day. The views are also still beautiful.

To get to the trailhead, take the TER train Les Pèlerins or the bus to the Pèlerins stop. You can also walk from Chamonix center, but it is a mile or so.

3. Chalet Floria

Distance: 3.1km/1.9mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 1h30
Trail map

Flower-covered chalet

Chamonix is full of chalets and buvettes, which are basically mountain cafes. Chalet de la Floria feels like something straight out of a fairytale. The historic, wooden cabin is covered in colorful flowers, and there’s an outdoor patio with incredible mountain views.

The trail to the chalet is straight up and pretty steep, but the views are well worth the climb. If you want to buy a snack at the top, make sure to bring cash, as credit cards aren’t accepted. I highly recommend their blueberry tart and homemade ginger ale.

The Alltrails hike starts a bit outside the city, but you can start from it by navigating to Chemin de la Floriaz. If you do that, the hike will be closer to 5km/3mi total.

4. Chamonix – Cascade du Dard

Distance: 2.7km/1.7mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 1h30
Trail map

Cascade du Dard

If you’re a waterfall person, you can’t miss this hike. It not only has a waterfall and streams, but also another quaint mountain cafe (again, bring cash!).

You can start this hike from the city at the Aiguille du Midi parking lot (Parking du Grépon). It adds on half a mile/800m one way. You’ll want to follow the parking lot past the roundabout to the trail, and not take the trail on the East side of the lot, which is the Cascade du Dard loop. That loop more than doubles the elevation gain without super nice views (you basically just see the city and the cable car).

5. Glacier des Bossons

Distance: 2.6km/1.6mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 1h30
Trail map

View from the Chalet du Glacier des Bossons with the mountains and flowers
Mountain chalet on a clear day with colorful umbrellas

Boy, this hike is steep. It’s the shortest on this list, but it’s not by any means the easiest. It was one of my favorites though, as the chalet had a colorful umbrella patio overlooking the glacier and the mountains. (Make sure to get the local limeade, called limonade citron vert in French!).

Once you reach the chalet, there’s still a little ways to go to reach the viewpoint of the glacier. Along that short climb, there are some historical panels on how the glacier has changed over time, as well as info on the two Air India plane crashes that happened near there in 1950 and 1966.

If you want to do this hike but don’t think you can make the climb, you can also take the Bossons cable car, which will take you very close to the chalet.

This hike is a little harder to reach without a car, but you can take the #2 bus from the city center and get dropped off near the cable car. From there, it’s around 600m to the trailhead, and it is uphill (look up Parking Bossons Glaciers on Google Maps, which will take you close to the trailhead).

6. Les bois du Chamonix

Distance: 5.8km/3.6mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 1h20
Trail map

View over the fast river

This “hike” is more of a forest walk, and would be perfect for a casual outing or easy trail run. I came here when I wanted to get a flatter run in.

The trail starts just past the sports center and paragliding landing field. You’ll be in the woods before coming to a small section by a road and river. Once you hit the second bridge across the river, you’ll turn back. The trails back can be kind of confusing since there are several directions, but as long as you’re turning left, you should eventually end up on the same path.

One cool thing about this trail is that there are some cafes towards the beginning and end where you can have a bite to eat or a drink.

7. Alpages du Blaitière

Distance: 6.9km/4.3mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 3h30
Trail map

Yellow grass field overlooking the mountains

This trail takes you to a sheep farm, where you can buy sheep cheese and wool products (when I went, they also accepted credit cards!). This trail is actually more moderate-difficult, but I saw a review that said someone’s grandpa did it with a lot of breaks, so I threw it in haha.

The hike isn’t technical, but there is a LOT of elevation gain. I was able to do this as a trail run/hike, and I’m more of a beginner. Most of the trail is through the forest, and you may even pass by some wild raspberry bushes. The climate changes rapidly with about 1km to go, and you end up in a grassy mountain field.

The farm is quaint, and I spent 30 minutes talking to one of the workers at the time. There are also chickens and a sheep dog. Once you get about half a mile from the top, just make sure to start watching out for sheep poop on the trails.

While the original trail is a loop, I chose to do this as an out-and-back (I started from the same place and followed the loop in its traditional counterclockwise direction, but only did one side of it). I did this because I read in reviews that the return part of the loop was steep and exposed to the elements.

8. Petit Balcon Sud – Merlet

Distance: 5.8km/3.6mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 2h45
Trail map

Mountain goat in Parc du Merlet
Alpine ibex in Parc du Merlet, via Depositphotos

Note: I haven’t done these last 3 hikes, but they were on my list, and here’s what I learned from my research.

This hike is on the harder side, but it takes you to an animal park (Parc de Merlet) where you can catch a breath and admire the marmots, mountain goats, and more in their natural habitat.

There’s a even “password” towards the end of the trail that will give you a special hiker’s discount to the park. If they ask where you started, you can say “Le Gaillands” (pronounced “lay gai-on”).

To get to the trailhead, take the TER train Les Pèlerins or the bus to the Pèlerins stop. You can also walk from Chamonix center, but it is a mile or so.

9. Lac Blanc via Grand Balcon Sud

Distance: 8.5km/5.3mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 4h
Trail map

Mont Blanc Mountains reflected in Lac Blanc, Mont Blanc Massif, Alps, France
Lac Blanc, via Depositphotos

Since there are no alpine lake hikes on this list, I wanted to throw in this hike to the stunning Lac Blanc. One of my biggest hiking regrets was not being able to do a lake hike.

This hike starts and ends at La Flégère cable car, which saves you a lot of elevation gain. You can take the bus or train to Les Praz to get to the cable car.

Parts of the trail can be steep and rocky, so be sure to take your time.

10. Le Brévent – Les Houches

Distance: 9km/5.6mi
Elevation gain:
Time: 4h20
Trail map

View from Le Brevent
View from Le Brevent, via Depositphotos

You get to follow part of the famous Tour du Mont-Blanc loop on this hike. Before you reach the forest, the views of Mont-Blanc and the surrounding peaks are said to be stunning. You also pass by a refuge (Refuge Bellachat), where trekkers spend the night, and where you can get something to eat or drink (at a steep price). As always, also remember cash.

The hike starts from Le Brévent cable car, which is very close to the city center. You can take the train back from Les Houches (the hike actually goes a bit past it into the town, but you can just end it early unless you want to see the town).

While this hike has very little elevation gain, it has a LOT of loss (around 1430m/4700ft). If you have bad knees or joints, do not attempt this hike.

What to Bring On Your Chamonix Hike

Here’s a list of the gear I found most useful during my hikes in Chamonix.

Cash—most chalets, buvettes, and refuges only take cash. I personally have a Wise borderless account, which lets me withdraw up to 100 euros/month at a large network of ATMs without a fee.

Hiking boots—Some trails can be rocky and require some scrambling, so you want good grip. If you want something lightweight, I recommend these Keen boots. You can also try to pick up hiking boots while you’re there at After Ski Chamonix, or discounted ones at Technique Extrême (I would just not recommend trying to buy trail running shoes unless you’re willing to pay at least 90 euros; I tried finding used ones in my size and couldn’t).

Hiking poles—The hikes in Chamonix are steep, even those on the easier side. Poles can help you save your quads and keep your balance. I linked the foldable hiking poles I use that are super light and convenient (do not put them in your carry on though!).

Hydration vest—If you want to travel light without a bigger backpack and heavy bottle, hydration packs are the answer. Some of the packs can even double as a small backpack where you can stash snacks and light layers.

Rain jacket—The weather can change rapidly in Chamonix, so you want something that can protect you from the elements.

Tick remover—While I personally didn’t encounter any ticks, my local friend said they’re definitely something to look out for. I tried finding good tick removers in Chamonix, but didn’t find good models like the ones I linked.

Let me know if there are any other hikes you’d add to this list, and what you thought of them if you go!

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