Family Fun au Pays du Mont Blanc: adventures & culture for families and children in Chamonix, Les Houches, Argentière, Servoz, Vallorcine, Passy, Plaine Joux, Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon, Domancy, St Gervais, Le Fayet, Les Contamines, Megève, Praz-sur-Arly and beyond
FAMILY HIKES: « Forest Discovery Trail » / « Sentier Découverte de la Forêt » (Cordon)
A couple of Sundays ago, MBFF headed to Cordon, to hike the « Sentier Découverte de la Forêt à Cordon » (« Forest Discovery Trail »). We first discovered this trail about 5 years ago, and I have been meaning to write a full article about it every since!
The 🌲 « Forest Discovery Trail » is an annotated trail through the 🌲 forest (a predominantly spruce forest, with a bed of myrtilles bushes), perfect in length and variety for families with young children. The path can be muddy and slippery underfoot, depending on time of year and recent rainfall, so do take due care (and a spare pare of clothes for each child!).
Our 🍂 autumn visit at the weekend spurred me to get this article ready for you, so that you might try it out with younger children over the holidays! As I looked through my photos from our first summer visit in 2015, my heart melted – those cherubic cheeks of my children aged 18 months and 4,5 years, the baby-carrier, the wobbly walk with a huge grin, the playing with the stones on the 4×4 track . . .
Our first visit was in ☀️ mid-summer, and the colours were prodominently 🌿 lush greens, and we found wild raspberries on the trail . . . This last visit was in mid-autumn, an autumn particularly 🍁🍃🍂 lush in colour and in 🍄 mushrooms!
⏱ timing: 1h to 1h30 (to stroll and read all of the panels);
The hike in photos
You start this short hike from the picnic spot of Les Plaines . . .
. . . and you follow this logo from the Espace Mont-Blanc for the whole boucle (children do love following signs!):
You’ll see 🌿 plants and perhaps (depending on the season), you can pick berries or 🍄 mushrooms (disclaimer:know what you’re doing; remember that most mushrooms are poisonous! My husband spent the whole walk collecting mushrooms, only to find that they weren’t the edible ones he thought they were!).
. . . and boggy ground underfoot(I repeat, take spare clothes, even for older children!) . . .
Mid-way through the short hike, you’ll find yourself in 🌲 the thick of the spruce forest – this is beautiful in both summer (🌿when lush green) and autumn (🍁 when more sparse, but stunning with colours) . . .
You’ll come face-to-face with a large 🐜 fourmilière (ant-hill) :
And you’ll get glimpse of 🗻 the Massif du Mont-Blanc . . .
Eventually, you’ll emerge from 🌲 the forest out onto a gravel path . . . As we walked down this path this time (Daddy off hunting for inedible mushrooms), I remembered 5 years back my little one sat down in the road to play with the stones – it was his favourite part of the 🌲 “forest hike”!
And another 15 minutes down the gravel track and you’ll arrive back at 🍏 the aire de pique-nique . . .
Aire de Pique-nique des Plaines
One of the best features of this hike is the fact that it starts and ends at the most lovely🍏 picnic spot – aire de pique-niques des Plaines. There are 3 wooden tables and plenty of space for games (and views of the mountains too!).