Tracks and Trails / Trail Running / Scheduled Departures / NEW: Chamonix Classic Trails

NEW: Chamonix Classic Trails

Chamonix Alpine Trail Running

Trail Run with views of Mont Blanc

Chamonix - The Trail Running Valley!

In just a few years Chamonix has become a 'world class' trail running destination and there's no wonder why!

The views, the conquest of Mont Blanc, it's easy access and vast choice of trails are just a few of the reasons each year trail runners from all over the world seek to explore Chamonix's 'Classic Trails'.

Get to know the Chamonix Valley on this 4-day guided running break. Designed for regular runners simply wanting to maximise their 'time on the trails' with the option of a luxury hotel base.

  • 4 'Classic' Chamonix Trail Runs
  • Run 15-25km per day
  • Led by an experienced trail running guide
  • Run then relax in the heart of the French Alps
  • Traditional 3* mountain hotel with pool and spa facilities
  • Private rooms available
  • Option to join without accommodation

Situated in the heart of the French Alps sharing borders with both Italy and Switzerland Chamonix is now known as the 'running capital of the world'. Run sections of the famous Mont Blanc Marathon & Mont Blanc Ultra Trail, reach mountain summits, run ridge lines and get off the beaten track whilst surrounded by awe-inspiring vistas.

At the end of each day relax and soak up the Alpine environment in our traditional French mountain hotel perfectly situated at the foot of the famous Glacier des Bossons.

LOVE RUNNING? THEN YOU'LL LOVE THIS!

Guiding Only Package 

Ideal for Chamonix locals or those already with accommodation. It's possible to join our guided group for £475 on a guiding only package without accommodation.

Refer to the Trip Price below for further details.

Departures

Trip Departure date End date Price Status
CCT4 18 Mon 20 August 18 Sat 25 August 18 £975 Places available | Make a Booking
CCT4N 18 Mon 20 August 18 Sat 25 August 18 £475 Places available | Make a Booking
CCT5 18 Mon 3 September 18 Sat 8 September 18 £975 Places available | Make a Booking
CCT5N18 Mon 3 September 18 Sat 8 September 18 £475 Places available | Make a Booking
CCT6 18 Mon 10 September 18 Sat 15 September 18 £975 Places available | Make a Booking
CCT6N 18 Mon 10 September 18 Sat 15 September 18 £475 Places available | Make a Booking

Oh, my God, what a fabulous, fabulous week & we LOVED it! He’s such a great, great guide!! Always there but never intrusive, friendly, punctual, helpful, fun, relaxed & very knowledgeable. He took us on some absolutely fantastic runs - we learnt so much. Thank you, Cats & Michael

Itinerary

Our Chamonix 4 day running breaks are designed for regular trail runners looking to join a local guide to explore some of the 'must do' Chamonix classic runs as well as get off the beaten track. Each route starts within easy access of Chamonix town centre and will explore a different part of the valley offering a different 'feel' or objective to the day. Our options are almost endless! We aim to either bag a summit, run a ridge line, cross country borders, run point-to-point through nature reserves all offering a new perspective on this famous Alpine town.

At an elevation of 1035m above sea level the trails leaving Chamonix reach up to 3100m making it the perfect mountain base to reap the benefits of exercising at altitude. That said there is no doubt that Chamonix offers plenty of hills and a fabulous variety of trails to play on!

We expect to cover from 15km - 23km (10-15 miles) per day, carried out over the course of a day, 4-5 hours. The routes gradually build on the distance and height gained per day. You will be mostly running but some height will be gained will with a steady up hill 'walking pace'. Maximum heights reached on these tours varies depending on the region you are visiting but would normally be between 1500m - 2500m. Our routes will be mostly on good paths and tracks, but may include narrow, uneven paths, rocky and steeper uphill sections.

Our early season departures (in May/June for example) might need to be adapted due to any snow left over after the winter months however the runs will still cover the same distance and ascent but on trails at a lower elevation. We always aim to complete the itinerary as outlined below however it is only possible when conditions and weather make it appropriate. Our guide will decide on the best route at the time.

Day 1 Arrival in the Chamonix Valley

Our group hotel for this trip is the 3* Hotel Aiguilles du Midi. Situated at the foot of the famous 'Glacier de Bossons' there's no wonder why we've chosen this charming family run hotel for this trip. Relax and unwind by pool or in the spa then enjoy the first of many tasty meals to come. Your trail running guide will meet you at your hotel this evening and brief you on the days ahead. Massages are available and can be arranged through your coach or hotel reception.

Day 2 The Villages of the 'Petit Balcons'

The Chamonix Valley has running trails at all altitudes and the Petit Balcon Nord & Sud (facing each side of the valley) are located at the lowest elevation making this the perfect warm up day. The valley is serviced with an excellent bus and train service so it is possible to adapt this day making it shorter (or longer!) at various points. Enjoy excellent views of Chamonix and it’s surrounding peaks whilst passing through delightful villages farming communities along the way. From our hotel we cross the Arve River to join this classic Chamonix trail. We soon arrive to Les Gaillands lake and rock climbing area which offers some of the finest views of Mont Blanc the surrounding peaks and glaciers. We have just run the first few kilometres of the famous Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc! We pass through Chamonix picking up easy trails through the pine forests and old village of the Bois du Bouchet to reach Les Tines. A wide riverside trail takes us to the alpine ski village of Argentiere (1250m) where we can have a coffee break and soak up the mountain scenery.

Leaving Argentiere we complete our circuit by joining the Petit Balcon Nord, on the opposite side of the valley, and wind our way back towards Chamonix. All on excellent ‘balcony’ trails and descending most of the way the route picks up the Mont Blanc Marathon course and passes through the quiet less visited village of Le Lavancher.

Distances: 12km-24km. Total: Ascent/Descent for the 24km option +450m & -450m.

Day 3 The Mont Blanc Glacier Run: Plan de l'Aiguille to Montenvers

Today we get up high to visit two of Mont Blancs glaciers, the 'Glacier des Bossons' and the 'Mer de Glace' or Sea of Ice. This second classic trail was also the venue for our youtube trail running video. Our hotel is situated at the foot of the 'Glacier des Bossons' allowing easy access to the trail head and start of our first major climb. Anyone wishing to miss the climb can join us up on the high trail as the route is also accessible by taking the first stage up the famous Aiguilles du Midi cable car. Our climb takes a path up through the cool pine forests all on good paths to reach the perfectly situated Refuge Plan d'Aiguilles at 2200m (and close to the cable car station). The gradient isn't steep but a steady walking pace should be expected and the use of poles for efficiency is recommended. As we gain height we start to see towers of ice appearing from the glacier and on the opposite side of the valley the Aiguilles Route. At the refuge we stop for refreshments and a panoramic view whilst sat below the summit of Mont Blanc! We now join the 'Grand Balcon Nord' (the highest of the balcony trails) and run an undulating path beneath granite rock spires. A rocky trail traverses for 6.5 kilometres to reach the Signal Forbes viewpoint at 2198m to view the famous Drus 4000m peak and the second of our glaciers, and the largest in France the Mer de Glace. Our trail drops down to meet the historic rack and pinion Montenvers Train. For those wishing to save their knees taking the train is the perfect way to return to Chamonix. Otherwise after a stop for refreshments this is where we begin a superb 870m sweeping switch back descent through the pine forest to reach the valley floor.

Distances: 10km, 16km or 20km. Total: Ascent/Descent for the 20km option: +1300m & -1420m

Day 4 Refuge Loriaz & the Vallon de Bérard

We begin today by taking the picturesque Mont Blanc Express train to the neighbouring valley of Vallorcine at 1120m close to the Swiss frontier. Vallorcine, which means the valley of the bears, is a wide opened valley scattered with traditional farm buildings and cattle grazing in lush alpine meadows. We leave Vallorcine on another piece of trail that features on both the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc Marathon. Following the line of the river to le Buet the trail winds it's way through the pastures. We leave the main valley and climb for a short section through the hamlet of le Lay to enter the quiet Vallon de Bérard. Accessible only on foot our path soon reaches an impressive waterfall where we can take time to soak up what feels like entering another world. The trail continues close to the river to cross a bridge and leads up via several summer meadows known as 'alpages'. We continue to climb through the forests before breaking out onto the high alpage and Refuge Loriaz. These meadows are where the herds graze to a chorus of bells during the summer months. We can enjoy a coffee and cake at the chalet farm buildings enjoying the view across to Mont Blanc and over into the Swiss Alps. We descend from the chalet through the lush meadows to pick up a superb single track trail which leads leads us back down to the valley floor.

Distance: 13km. Ascent: +850m Descent -850m

Day 5 Aiguillette des Houches & Brévent Summits

Our final 'must do' Chamonix trail is to summit the 'Aiguillette des Houches' and 'Brevent' peaks. Perfectly positioned offering perhaps the best views of the Mont Blanc Massif we head in a new direction steadily moving up the mountain side all on good trails. As the valley below gets smaller the surrounding peaks begin to grow our efforts are rewarded around every corner. We pass the quintessential chalets of Plan de la Cry then reach the Chalets de Challioux where it almost feels like you can touch the glaciers! We are now above the treeline. After a break here our trail continues on a smaller mountain path up one more level to reach our first summit, the Aiguillette des Houches at 2285m. With panoramic views it is without doubt one of the perfect picnic spots! We are now up on a fun undulating ridge-line trail which leads us down to the Refuge Bellachat at 2152m for fine views of the 3 'Monts'; Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc. From the refuge to reach our second summit we have one final climb. The trail moves quickly onto rocky terrain as we pass the Lac de Brévent to reach le Brévent summit at 2525m for an unrivalled panorama from the 'roof' of Europe. The Brévent is a rocky peak within the Aiguilles Rouge popular for rock climbers, hikers and now wing suit flyers! In 1930 the town council put in one of France's first cable cars here enabling tourist access to this exceptional vantage point. So for those who wish to save their knees it's possible to take the cable car part or all the way down to the valley floor. From the summit our trail descends gradually downwards first along the ridge passing the Clocher de Brévent before picking up switch back bends to reach to Plan Praz mid station. We soon reach the pine forests as we wind our way back to the valley floor directly to Les Bossons and back to our hotel.

Distance: 15km-23.5km.

Total: Ascent/Descent for the 23.5km option: +1300m, -1800m OR 15km option +1200m, -800m.

Day 6 Departure Day

Today is departure day and the package finishes after breakfast.

Accommodation

For this trip we stay in 3* Hotel Aiguilles du Midi a traditional French mountain hotel perfectly situated at the foot of the famous Glacier des Bossons. The hotel is within easy reach of the centre of Chamonix and is ideally situated for the trails. The trip price is based on twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary payment. However, these are limited in number and we recommend that you book early if you wish to be sure of a single room. Please contact us for details. It includes a 3 course Dinner, Packed Lunches, Bed and Breakfast. Meals can be adapted to suit any dietary requirement. The hotel offers a spacious living and dining area, free wi-fi, spa facilities, massage room and garden with pool boasting wonderful views of Mont Blanc. Massages are available and can be arranged through your coaches and hotel reception.

Trip Price - All Inclusive Package

Included: 4 x Full days of guided running by an International Mountain Leader who is also an experienced trail runner. Full board hotel accommodation including a 3 course evening meal, bed and breakfast and packed lunches for 5 x nights. Accommodation is based on two people sharing in the 3* Hotel Aiguilles du Midi. Tracks and Trails Souvenir. Guest card to include the local bus and train and one taxi pick up (if needed as part of your itinerary).

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, insurance, drinks, massages, cable cars and maps.

Trip Price - Coaching Only Package

Included: The services of an International Mountain Leader who's also an experienced trail running for 4 full days of trail running. Tracks and Trails Souvenir. Guest card to include the local bus and train and one taxi pick up (if needed as part of your itinerary).

Not included: Flights, accommodation, meals, airport transfers, insurance, drinks, massages, cable cars and maps.

Weather

In mountainous terrain the weather can vary considerably. Temperatures can reach over 30°c in the height of the summer (July/August), but can be as low as 5°c on the passes. It is often sunny with good clear days, but it can rain and snow (even in July or August) so you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°c in the valleys and 5-15°c on the passes. Upon booking a full kit list will be provided

Minimum numbers

This week will run once a minimum number of 4 clients have booked, we will take a maximum of 10.

Insurance

Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be running in the mountains you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.

Further Information

The itinerary is designed to cover the essential information for those wanting to improve their running ability and is not suitable for beginner level runners. You should comfortably be able to run 20kms or 2 hours. We will certainly cover all aspects of the itinerary, but due to changing mountain weather conditions we ask you stay flexible so that we can get the most out of each day.

To get the most out of your week you may wish to buy a copy of the French IGN: Chamonix Massif du Mont Blanc 1:25,000 map this is available on arrival or online.

 

Our coaches are experienced in racing many sporting distances and disciplines. As well as our guided run along the Mont Jura, through Provence & the Verdon Gorge and around Mont Blanc we offer bespoke training and coaching for ultra marathons, triathlon and ski racing. So if you have a specific goal in mind and would like personal training or private guiding on the routes then we can help you. Please contact us with any questions.

Travel

Chamonix is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport, only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. Please contact us if you need further advice on your specific travel requirements.


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Trail running has done more than make me a stronger, happier runner: It has made me a runner that truly enjoys the act of running for its own sake.

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