I don’t know about you, but I like to stay off 🏔 the busy mountain paths in ☀️ the summertime, social-distancing regulations in place or not!
Last summer, my boys were at their 🎨 Art & Nature workshop with local artist Cat Kartal in Argentière, and so I took the opportunity to have a day out by myself, hiking and then reading my book in nature.
I decided to head to the 💦 Gorge du Glacier, a hiking path which is located just above 🚁 the Hélicoptères du Mont-Blanc . . . you can’t find much information about this hike online, which is why I decided to try it out (and I always love being next to💦 water in a gorge!).
This is a great option for a short ☀️ summer hike: in the shade of 🌲 the forest moraine, with 💦 the cooling torrent streaming beside the path, a playground nearby and a buvette to stop in at!
HIKE details and MAP
📏 distance: 3km aller-retour from 🅿️ Grands Montets car park;
↗️ dénivelé: around +/- 100m from 🅿️ Grands Montets car park;
⏱ timings: 1h15 aller-retour from 🅿️ Grands Montets car park;
🅿️ parking: 🅿️ Grands-Montets car park;
The HIKE – step by step
I really enjoyed this hike:
- it felt quite remote, even if the path started a mere 10mins walk from 🅿️ the Grands-Montets car park!
- there were very few people on the path with me; I counted 5 in total!
- superb glimpses of the powerful 💦 Torrent de Lognan, and the sound of cascading water all along the hike;
- the view at the end point of the short hike of 💦 waterfalls streaming down from ❄️ the Glacier d’Argentière, is beautiful!
Is the hike suitable for families? Absolutely, though I wouldn’t recommend it as a hike to do with really small children, as there are boulders to clamber over, and a fast-flowing torrent in proximity (disclaimer: if you do decided to do this hike with little ones, you’ll need to hold their hand on the way down, as it is rocky in parts; and certainly don’t let them walk on ahead) . . .
Even with older children, they must not be permitted to go ahead, as there are some big drops down into the 💦 water. But older children (7+ years) would really enjoy the scrambling on the boulders along the path. Also, the trail isn’t always really obvious, and you have to follow ▶️ the red markers on the rocks, and this adds to the sense of adventure (my boys love following markers!).
start of the hike: you start the hike by heading up the path/road towards the 🥤 La Crèmerie du Glacier (you’ll see plenty of signs to the buvette, but few to the hike!). After the 🥤 La Crèmerie du Glacier (do NOT turn off at the path towars the Croix de Lognan), you’ll continue up to the 🚁 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Hélicoptères, and then you keep walking, and eventually the paved road turns into a hiking trail that leads into 🌲 the forest and moraine, and is indicated:
The start of the path takes you up through 🌲 the pine forest, where you’ll see moraine boulders, and 💦 the Torrent du Lognan cascading over such boulders on your left.
Be sure to stop and look at 💦 the waterfalls and water pools of the powerful torrent! They are just stunning!
You might see 🚁 the odd helicopter passing overhead, delivering goods to mountain refuges or taking tourists on panoramic visits!
Near the end of the hike, you’ll see a cable traversing the torrent:
At this point, you’ll have just another 5 minutes of hiking before the end of the hike. These last 5 minutes, you’ll have to clamber over boulders, and you’ll lose the red markings. Just follow the cairns put by hikers . . .
. . . and then you’ll get to ⚠️ a sign telling you to go NO further:
You’ll also see ⚠️ signs warning you of the danger of venturing down to the water’s edge!
The view at the top, of 💦 the waterfalls coming from the Glacier d’Argentière and streaming over the rocks, is just stunning!
On the way back down, you’ll have a view of Argentière:
On my way down, I headed just off the path and up to a mossy patch between boulders, and I lay down my picnic blanket in the shade and read for 3 hours! The luxury!
Chamonix Mont-Blanc Helicoptères (CMBH)
When Daddy MBFF’s cabinet d’architecture is working on a mountain refuge, the team sometimes heads up the mountain in a 🚁 helicopter from here. I remember heading here with my elder son aged 2, and he was fascinated watching the helicopters taking off and landing. It really is very impressive to watch! / 🚁 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Hélicoptères, run by Pascal Brun, organises panoramic tourist flights, as well as delivering supplies to refuges (héliportage) / website;
address: 400 chemin de la Glacière, 74400, Argentière;
La Crèmerie du Glacier
A stop at the 🥤 La Crèmerie du Glacier, a historic buvette located just below this hike (and on the way back to the car, Argentière SNCF or Argentière town), is de rigueur on your way back down from this short hike!
a little history – in 1926, Georges Ravanel was carving ❄️ ice from the Glacier d’Argentière, and then transporting it to sell on to hotels and restaurants in the valley. . . he decided to build 🏚 a little hut, which became a place for thirsty and hungry hikers to stop . . . the “little hut” grew and was passed down through the family, the menu was expanded and it began to open in wintertime too, and now it serves an extensive menu: 🥤 lemonade, 🧀 croûtes, 🥧 homemade tartes . . . / website;
address: 766 chemin de la Glacière / tel: +33 (0) 4 50 54 07 52;
La Mare aux Têtards and playground
If your children need some playtime after this short hike, then you cannot beat the 🐸 mare aux têtards, located across the bridge and in the woods . . . 🐸 La Mare aux Têtards is actually more of 💦 a gently running stream, which children spend time damming . . . in the stiller parts, you may well spot 🐸 tadpoles and 🦎 newts during the late spring and early summer . . . Children delight in 💦 the water: wading, crossing the stream on logs and rock bridges, making dams . . .
[ ⇒ see separate MBFF article here ]