There are 🚵♀️ some wonderful VTT routes 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc – some easily accessible, some that you need to take 🚡 a télécabine to access . . . and now we have electric bikes to make certain routes more accessible, and 🚵♀️ Fat Bikes to head out on the snow, mud or sand! Pop in to your local tourist office to pick up 🗺 a map of the routes!
My own 🚵♀️ VTT bike was equipped for seven years with a Mary Poppins-style basket on the front and a baby seat on the back . . . and so I didn’t do any downhill biking for some time . . . the baby seat eventually came off, but the basket remains, and – who I am kidding? – even without these fixtures, I will NEVER be a ninja-equipped downhill biker! 😉
In this article, I shall cover:
- 🚵♀️ draisienne & bike terrain for young riders;
- 🚵♀️ bike parks for young riders;
- 🚵♀️ bike parks for families and tougher circuits;
- 🛹🛴 pumptracks & skateparks;
- 🛴 all-terrain trottinettes;
- 🚵♀️ bike clubs for youngsters;
- 🚵♀️ VTT and bike events for families;
Colour code for listings:
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Argentière, Les Houches, Servoz & environs) and Vallorcine
Passy & environs
Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy
St Gervais, Le Fayet & environs
Megève, Praz-sur-Arly & environs
Les Contamines & environs
🇫🇷 Further France 🇫🇷
🇨🇭 Switzerland 🇨🇭
🇮🇹 Italy 🇮🇹
Great spots for starting out on a draisienne (push bike) or pedal bike
So, where to head with smaller children, who are just finding their biking mojo with 🚴♀️ a draisienne (push bike), or are just launching off 🚴♀️ on two wheels with pedals? Or with slightly older children who still aren’t ready for anything too challenging or vertical?
Here are my favourite places to practise with 🚴♀️ a draisienne or pedal bike, away from busy roads:
- 🚵♂️ Arve river (Chamonix) – along the 💦 Arve river, leaving from the central playground / good for scooters too;
- 🚵♂️ Bois du Bouchet (Chamonix) – nice flat (though bumpy) paths!
- 🚵♂️ Paradis des Praz – nice and fairly flat (though bumpy)!
- 🚵♂️ Lac des Chavants (Les Houches) – around 💦 the lake and into the woods / playground on-site;
- 🚵♂️ Lac de Passy – around 💦 the lake, into the woods behind the mini-golf, and the small bike park;
- 🚵♂️ Sallanches – along the Bialle stream, from the Salle Léon Curral to the water wheel;
- 🚵♂️ Lacs des Ilettes (Sallanches) – around the third lake (nature reserve), with stops at the cabane d’observation and the boulders, and into the woods to enjoy the parcours santé;
- 🚵♂️ Combloux & Les Belles (Praz-sur-Arly) city stades – kids can do loops on the tracks!
- 🚵♂️ Parc Thermal (Le Fayet) – paths and lots of grass!
- 🚵♂️ Berges d’Arly (Praz-sur-Arly) – along the Arly river! / playgrounds nearby!
- 🚵♂️ Les Contamines-Montjoie & Notre Dame de la Gorge – along the river, by the pumptrack, and into the Parc de Loisirs du Pontet;
- 🚵♂️ Giffre river – a new discovery is this lovely, lovely shady trail along the mighty Giffre river! / you can get onto the trail at various spots in-between Taninges and Samoëns / you’ll find contemporary art along the trail!
[ DISCLAIMER – always be especially vigilant next to 💦 water and roads! ]
BIKE PARKS for little riders
- 🚵♂️ Espace VTT (Lac de Passy) – just behind the mini-golf, and in the woods, you will find this bike parcours, with special wooden ramps and bridges in place! / +4 years / good to know: local children head into the woods from here, to explore the muddy paths;
- 🚵♂️ Ludik Park (Base de Loisirs des Belles, Praz sur Arly) – down by the river, next to the Base de Loisirs des Belles playground, you will find a little bike park, with wooden ramps and bridges / to read more about the Base de Loisirs des Belles, see MBFF article here;
There are several 🚵♂️ pumptracks au Pays du Mont-Blanc suitable for young riders (4+ years) / remember to wear a HELMET and protective gear!
- 🚵♂️ Servoz pumptrack – the pumptrack in Servoz is located next to the playground and tennis courts;
- 🚵♂️ Combloux pumptrack – with picnic tables, a terrain multi-sport, a playground and a small skatepark all on the same site as the pumptrack . . . and stunning views of Mont-Blanc, this is the perfect spot to come en famille! / located just behind the Mairie & school / MBFF’s top pick!
- 🚵♂️ Saint-Gervais pumptrack & NEW skatepark (with bowl) – located beween the tennis courts and the swimming pool!
- 🚵♂️ Megève pumptrack – next to tennis courts, near Le Palais;
- 🚵♂️ Les Contamines-Montjoie pumptrack – at Les Loyers;
[ ⇒ more information about 🚵♂️ PUMPTRACKS au Pays du Mont-Blanc here ]
There are also some 🛹🛴 skate parks suitable for young riders (4+ years) 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc. Do always keep in mind that these areas will be frequented with youngsters and young adults of all ages, and you must share this zone; if you don’t feel comfortable with the speed, then keep your visit for a later date! (remember to wear a HELMET and protective gear!):
- 🛹 Chamonix skatepark – located behind the Centre Loisirs Richard Bozon and next to the parapente landing field in the Bois du Bouchet / bowl and more! / 800m² and beginner’s area / address: Bois du Bouchet, 74440, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / FB page;
- 🛹 Sallanches skatepark – located behind the hospital, with great views of Mont-Blanc! / picnic tables available and lots of green grass for ball games / see MBFF article for more details / address: rue de l’Hôpital, 74700, Sallanches;
- 🛹 Combloux skatepark – with picnic tables, a terrain multi-sport, a playground and a small skatepark all on the same site as the pumptrack . . . and stunning views of Mont-Blanc, this is the perfect spot to come en famille! / located just behind the Mairie & school / address: rue de la Mairie, 74920, Combloux / MBFF’s top pick!
- 🛹 Megève & Praz-sur-Arly skateparks – next to the playgrounds;
- 🛹 Les Contamines-Montjoie skatepark – located in Les Loyers, a new skatepark is being developed next to the new pumptrack! / address: Les Loyers, route de Notre-Dame de la Gorge, 74170, Les Contamines-Montjoie;
For slightly older children and families, there are many more options for 🚵♀️ mountain biking: road ascents & descents and bike parks . . . check each commune’s tourist website for a list of VTT trails, or head into your local tourist office for a map.
Here are a couple of 🚵♀️ family bike parks 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc:
🚵♀️ MTB Trail (Chamonix ⇒ Les Bois) – an easy and flat boucle trail leaving from the Maison Nordique, then heading through the Bois du Bouchet, running alongside the Arveyron river, and then passing nearby the PGHM helipad / distance: 6km / for more easy bike trails in the Chamonix Valley, see here;
🚵♀️ Le Charlotte Bike Park (Saint-Gervais) – a boucle dedicated to discovering VTT en famille: ups and downs and wooden elements / address: 🚡 Sommet de la télécabine du Mont d’Arbois, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 47 76 08 / more information here;
🚵♀️ (NEW 2021!) Saint-Gervais bike park – a brand NEW bike park, with different parcours, located on the Plaine des Pratz, next to the pumptrack!
🚵♀️ Crêt du Midi chairlift (Praz-sur-Arly) – there are several bike trails leaving from the ⛰ Crêt du Midi / bikes travel on the chairlift!
🚵♀️ Parcours des Clarines (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – this VTT route, in the alpages de Montjoie, is also for families / part of the parcours takes you through the forest, with wooden modules (bridges, woops, turns), next to the 4×4 route between the 🚡L’Etape and 🚡 Le Signal / leaves from 🚡 Le Signal at 1875m, and arrives at 🚡 l’Etape at 1420m / open from early July until September / see lescontamines.com for more details and price / online leaflet;
⇒ and for older children, you might be interested in some of 🚵♀️ the downhill tracks, some easier than others! (note: always where protective gear; downhill biking can cause some nasty scrapes and injuries!).
For 🚵♀️ a list of all the mountain bike trails in the Chamonix Valley (Les Marmottes, Château Saint-Michel, Les Cerfs, Les Chevreuils, Les Diligences . . . ), see chamonix.com;
🚵♀️ Bike Park Les Houches – the aim was to create a natural-feel bike park, without too many wooden jumps and bridges put in! Its creation was agreed with the owners of local fields (so please stay on pistes balisées!) / using the 🚡 Télécabine du Prarion and the 🚡 Télécabine de Bellevue (2021: shut for renovations this summer!);
🚵♀️ La WIZZ (Saint-Gervais-les-Bains) – a pretty, fairly gentle 5km descent through the forest (420m dénivelé), to discover the sport of downhill VTT / a blue piste, reserved for VTT use, with turns, bridges, bumps and optional jumps and very few tree roots or pebbles to obstruct / also available for FTT (Fauteuil Tout Terrain), with an assistant required for the short ascents! / leaving from the summit of Mont d’Arbois (🚡 Télécabine Mont d’Arbois) / tel: 04 50 47 76 08 / more information: here;
⇒ and 🇫🇷 further afield 🚵♀️ bike parks for families:
🇫🇷🚵♀️ Bike Park Les Carroz (Grand-Massif) – located near the Pays du Mont-Blanc, and with a green parcours (Woody Woodbiker) and blue piste (as well as red and black pistes!) / there is also a pumptrack in Les Carroz! / for more information, see here;
🇫🇷🚵♀️ « Le Domaine » bike park La Clusaz – 30mins from Lac d’Annecy, is La Clusaz’s VTT park, called « Le Domaine », between forests and mountins! / 125km of parcours, with 18 pistes suiting different abilities and the new Bike Park with fun wooden beginner elements and x3 different levels (green, blue and red) / see pdf map here / website / address: Crêt du Merle, 74220, La Clusaz;
🇫🇷🚵 Bike Park des Saisies (Les Saisies) – Les Saisies fashions itself as a VTT destination par excellence, offering mountain biking for all levels: la rando X-country, descent, enduro – all with Mont-Blanc as a backdrop! You will find: 160km of cross-country routes set across 13 parcours (all levels); 13 descent pistes; 1x ludo park (with green, blue, and red parcours); 1x boucle d’initiation ludique cross country next to Signal; places to clean your bikes for FREE! (note: a pumptrack and a family track are accessible to ALL for FREE!) / see here for more information;
🇫🇷🚵♀️ Bike Park Les Gets (Les Portes du Soleil) – the bike park in Les Gets is huge (the largest in Europe!), and opens on weekends during the springtime before full summer opening from mid June / 90km of pistes (12 downhill pistes; 1x Freeride piste; 6 x Cross Country (XC) pistes; 1x Jump Park, 1x mini Jump Park, 1x Kid Zone . . . and more) / FB page;
🇫🇷🚵♀️ Bernex Mountain Bikepark (Bernex – Dent d’Oche) – known for its VTT trails, there is nos a bikepark in place here, across a dénivelé of 400m: 5 pistes (including a green and a blue piste) and a drop zone! / see website or FB page for more information / address: 1100 route du télésiège, Bernex;
⇒ worth mentioning are a couple of 🚵♀️ INDOOR BIKE PARKS not too far from the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc:
- 🇫🇷🚵♀️ WeRide (Lyon) – is an indoor pump-park, VTT & BMX park for the whole family (with a kid’s park), from beginners to the more advanced / address: 7 impasse Louis Saillant, 69120, Vaulx-en-Velin (near Mini World Lyon) / bar and restaurant on-site / recommended by a MBFF reader / website and FB page;
- 🇨🇭🚵♀️ Alaïa Chalet (Crans-Montana) – lesssons and camps at this indoor and outdoor skatepark, trampoline centre / FB page and website / address: Alaïa Chalet, route de Crans 81, Lens, Valais;
VTT Clubs & VTT lessons for older children
Over the school holidays, do check with your local commune to see if it is offering any VTT lessons for children and families! Or if they have any e-bike initiatives!
Here are some of 🚵♀️ our local clubs and companies offering VTT activities and outings:
- 🚵♀️ Club des Sports Chamonix VTT – see here;
- 🚵♀️ UC Passy – see here;
- 🚵♀️ Vélo Club Mont-Blanc (VCMB) – see here;
- 🚵♀️ Julliot MTB School – see website and FB page;
- 🚵♀️ Sallanches Tourisme’s VTT Party – offering VVTT lessons this summer!
- 🚵♀️ VTT Club Praz sur Arly – see FB page;
- 🚵♀️ Alpes Aventures – see here;
- 🚵♀️ MJC Saint-Gervais – offers VTT courses in the summer;
- 🚵♀️ Parc de Loisirs Les Contamines-Montjoie – offers VTT courses in the summer;
🛴 Electric trottinettes (electric scooters) as a means of travelling are all the fashion in the mountains! Here are some of the offerings:
- 🛴 Trot Top (Lac de Passy) – see here for more details;
- 🛴 Alpes Aventures – see above;
- 🛴 Le Bettex (Saint-Gervais) – you can rent them there;
- 🛴 Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (Les Contamines-Montjoie) – new since last year, la trottinette électrique tout terrain;
- 🛴 Défoul’Park (Morillon) – you can rent the scooters here and take them along the super Giffre bike trail! / and there is also a pumptrack in Morillon, next to the lake;
Family VTT Events – to participate & spectate!
There are several annual 🚵♀️ VTT events 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, and many of them have a small, fun event for children:
- 🚵♀️ Dré dans l’Darbon (Passy and environs) – the MBFF family took part in this event a few years ago, and had a super time! The event had a fun and friendly atmosphere, with lunch to buy at the end / the family route leaves from La Tour Carrée in Domancy, heads around Lac de Passy and through the woods / see website / FB page for more details;
- 🚵♀️ Challenge des 3 Cols (Cluses Arve & Montagnes) – three iconic Tour de France hills: Côte de Mont-Saxonnex, Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière!
- 🚵♀️ La Nuit des Hiboux (Habère-Poche) – Saturday 3rd July 2021 – ” venez descendre la Menoge en VTT à la frontale ! Vous déposez vos vélos au parc gardé du foyer des Moises à Habère-Poche à partir de 17h00, vous allez à l’arrivée de Saint-André-de-Boëge garer votre véhicule. Des navettes en bus vous remontent au départ. Un stand de petite restauration vous fera patienter jusqu’au départ prévu à 21h30. En famille ou entre amis, vous descendez paisiblement ou plus sportivement la Menoge. Des petits ravitaillements se trouveront sur le parcours qui sera balisé. Des bénévoles seront également positionnés sur les points stratégiques du parcours. Malheureusement cette année nous ne pourrons pas vos proposer un repas à l’issue de la descente, les conditions sanitaires étant encore trop restrictives. ” Ski Club de la Vallée Verte / sign up here (or sign up on the day!): http://www.njuko.net/nuitdeshiboux;
- Alps Bike Festival (La Clusaz) – [ 2021: annulé ! ] this mountain biking event happens in mid-June, and there are short fun races for children, see here / FB page / website;
- 🚴♀️ Tour de France – [ 2021: the Tour de France will be passing through Cluses, Sallanches, Domancy, Megève and Praz-sur-Arly on 3rd & 4th July ! ] / even if Le Tour de France is not passing through 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, the route is never too far away! / check website for the route and FB page for updates;
- 🚵♀️ MB Race (Megève & Combloux) – normally set to run each year in early July, this tough biking event takes place in Megève & Combloux and has children’s races (MB Kids McDonalds) and a short fun race for little children on a draisienne (MB Draisienne) / website / FB page;
- 🚵♀️ Vélomino – [ cancelled since 2020 ] – I’m uncertain for the future of this event that normally took place in August! / see FB page for more details;
- 🚵♀️ Mont-Blanc Triathlon International (💦 Lac de Passy) – this annual event normally takes place at the end of August, and uses 💦 Lac de Passy for its swimming component, and has become quite the fixture on Passy’s summer sports calendar! / for families & youngsters: for children 8+ years / swimming (100m) + VTT (one 2km tour of lake) + 1km run / FB page / more information & to sign up: website;
- 🚵♀️🐮 Le Derby des Alpages (La Clusaz) – 4th & 5th September 2021! / ” Le principe de la course est simple : 200 vététistes représentant 🐄 les vaches qui descendent de la montagne, sont poursuivis par 🚵♂️ 5 « bergers » qui ne sont autre que des vététistes professionnels dont Killian Bron. Ces derniers ont pour mission de dépasser le troupeau avant la ligne d’arrivée située en plein cœur de la station de La Clusaz. ” / read more about it here;
- 🚵♀️🐮 Alambike (Les Gets) – 4th & 5th September 2021 – a 24 hour relay, for teams of 4 to 8 people, across the mythical parcours de Cross-Country des finales de la Coupe du Monde VTT ! / kms = money to x2 local charities / with plenty of animations! (course de draisienne, activités ludiques au coeur du village, animations pour tous, concerts) / more information and to sign up here;
- 🚴♀️ La Monchu dans l’Pentu (Saint-Gervais) – this event takes place in September (19th September 2021), and is a 🚴♀️ road biking event au Pays du Mont-Blanc, with ni chronomètre ni classement / for all, 13+ years / departure and arrival Le Parc Thermal in Le Fayet / raising money for charity ARAMIS / more information here;
- 🚵♀️🚲 La Tac’athlon (Sallanches) – this event takes place in early autumn, and combines running, road-biking and VTT and takes place around Lacs des Ilettes / it is organised by Vélo Club Mont-Blanc / there is a short event organised for children / see website for details;
- 🚵♀️🚴♀️ Chirv’athlon (Servoz) – the Chirv’Athlon was created 30 years ago . . . this year, 3rd October 2021, the event will return to the format of a relay race, with three participants: running, road bike and VTT / parcours enfants = 1,7km / website and FB page;