This boucle is one of my favourite Sallanches hikes. I’ve actually yet to do it en famille, but I’ve now hiked it a few times with friends, and I know that it would be the perfect family hike with older kids (even younger ones, if they are good hikers!).
There is not a huge dénivelé on this hike (the steepest part is at the start), so it is fairly easy on the knees!
And the variety of scenery along this hike is wondrous:
- 💦 water: waterfalls, torrents, bridges . . . le Pont de Flée & Torrent de Cœur, la Cascade des Fours;
- 🌲 shade of the trees – at start;
- la Pierre Fendue – an erratic bloc deposited by glacial movement in the Alpage de Cœur;
- 🌿 alpages – Alpage de Cœur . . . and the possiblity of extending hike up to Alpage de Mayères;
- 🏚 mountain refuges: possiblity to extend hike to Refuges de Mayères or Tornieux – lunch or drink;
- 🗻 views of the Massif du Mont-Blanc, Massif des Fiz and le Massif des Aravis!
- 🥾 longer hike extensions – possibility to overnight in the refuge and carry on to Doran (via the Arète des Saix) / experienced hikers ⇒ Gouille des Fours;
🗺 distance: a 9km boucle (if you head to the Alpage de Mayères, then add on 1h30 walking for this extension);
🗺 dénivélé: Lintre (986m) ⇒ Pierre Fendue (1396m) = about +/- 400m;
⏱ timing: 4h to 5h (or more, with time to picnic and explore the waterfalls and the Pierre Fendue);
🅿️ parking: Lintre (space for a few cars);
🗺 carte de randonnée: Les Belvédères du Mont-Blanc (Carte des Sentiers de Randonnées Pédestres au Pays du Mont-Blanc), for sale at tourist office for 6€ (with accompanying booklet);
The hike : step by step . . .
Lintre – parking and start of hike
You’ll need 🅿️ to park at Lintre (route de Sainte-Anne, 74700, Sallanches), and you get here by following signs from ⛪️ the church in Sallanches. The first part of the hike takes you up the chemin carrossable, across the Pont de Bellecombe and the Pont de la Flée. You’ll get some shade from trees along this section.
Pont de Bellecombe
You’ll cross le Pont de Bellecombe, with its little torrent (which is quite active during the spring melt!).
Pont de la Flée & Torrent de Cœur
After about 45 minutes (248m dénivelé) – the steeper part of the hike is at the start! – you’ll get to the Pont de la Flée (renovated in 2020) and its beautiful Torrent de Cœur, which flows down from the Gouille des Fours, via the Cascade des Fours. There is a natural pool of water here, and then this river joins the Torrent des Fours, forming the Gorges de Lévaud, and emptying in the la Sallanche river! Across the bridge, there is a sentier leading to Cordon, but you need to head RIGHT, towards le Massif des Aravis (and the Pierre Fendue, Alpage de Cœur, Gouille des Fours, Mayères) . . .
Alpage de Cœur
After this fairly steep ascent, and a few more bends, you’ll pass several mountain chalets, and you’ll be rewarded as the scenery opens out into 🌿 the Alpage de Cœur and the hike becomes far more gentle!
The Pierre Fendue is an erratic bloc, which fell and split, right in the middle of a beautiful alpage at 1380m! In the background, you’ll see the Tête du Greppon, the Cascade des Fours and around you the 3 massifs (Fiz, Aravis et Mont-Blanc).
Legend has it that the Pierre Fendue once sheltered a golden thread, which would explain why it was split in two! (réf. Pierre Millon Alpes Magazine, 1998)
Return section of boucle
You walk past the Cascade des Fours and then the return section of the boucle commences . . . for the final descent you’ll have the shade of 🌳 trees.
Alpage de Mayères and Refuge de Mayères
You might decide to continue your hike up to the Alpage de Mayères and to the Refuge du Tornieux . . .
Refuge du Tornieux
[ ⇒ for more information about this lovely refuge, see MBFF article ]
Refuge de Doran
Or, you might decide to go even further on, to the Refuge de Doran (via the Arete de Saix). This could work well as a two day hike en famille?
Chapelle de Saint-Anne
The ⛪ Chapelle de Saint-Anne is on your driving route to Lintre! It was built in 1651, and rebuilt in 1724, with an imposing view on the sourrounding peaks. The ⛪ chapel has a small steeple and its doors and window frames are made from Magland stone!
good to know: Sallanches has a total of 10 village chapels, built for the mountain inhabitants! If you’re interested in learning more about the chapels, there are sometimes guided visits and géocaches available! / see Sallanches Tourisme website;