Hiking in Morzine in Summer
Visitors to Morzine have many activities to choose from in the summer. But one of the most popular activities after mountain biking is hiking. Hiking in Morzine in summer is so popular because of the huge range of routes available. From short routes straight from your chalet door, to mega yomps in to the wilderness staying in mountain refuges.
You can plan a route yourself, but guides are available to take you on hikes suitable for your fitness levels. This is a great idea as they will be able to tell you all about the flora and forna of the local area. You can also have a look at this free guide from the Tourist Office which outlines a number of great walks and hikes locally.
In the offseason we hike a lot. It keeps up our fitness ready for snowboarding and mountain biking when the lifts reopen. It is the best way to take in the amazing views of the lakes, rivers, peaks and valleys of the Portes du Soleil. And there is nothing like having a scenic lunch on top of a mountain, or finishing at a great restaurant.
From your chalet
There are loads of great hikes accessible straight from your chalet in Morzine. If you stand in the town square and turn around 360 degrees you will see many accessible peaks. Pick one, lace up your boots at go for it!
Point de Nyon
The Point de Nyon is a good one to do first. Following the signs from the Nyon car park, the steep ascent brings you through the forest and up to the Plateau de Nyon. You can actually drive up to the plateau before heading up to the peak. The plateau has a grassy meadow, home to lots of cows with fantastic views of Morzine.
The gravel track (usually a ski slope) takes you all the way to the top rewarding you with great views of Mont Blanc in one direction and Lake Geneva in the other. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go. The first time we did it, the clouds rolled in completely obscuring the view.
For the return journey, you can come back the same way you went up or drop over the back of the mountain. This route is a twisty steep single track bringing you down to a clear lake on the way back to the plateau.
For an easier walk, there is a nice loop on the Pleney side of Morzine. Head right up the mountain from the bottom of the Pleney lift. Skiers and snowboarders will know this route as Piste B. Alternatively head left up the Atray path. You can get to the top of Pleney through the forests before finishing the loop on your way back down or carrying on to Les Gets. Some of the route is shared with mountain bikers, so you need to be sure to leave space for fast moving bikers on the trails.
Nantaux is the tallest mountain in Morzine meaning the views are spectacular! When we did this hike, we had a conversation with a french paraglider as he was flying around our heads while following an eagle. When we got to the top, we met a couple (who had run up with their dog) who pointed out some suicidal off piste runs for the winter that we will definitely not be trying.
Nantaux is accessible from Montriond. There are two routes, one that snakes round through the forests until you reach the ridge. The other route, “the KMV” (Kilometer Vertical) goes straight up. There is an annual race on the KMV where super fit people run to the top, the best can do it in just over 30 minutes.
Both routes are challenging. We did the KMV route up, stopping for a sandwich before taking the forest route back down with a small dog in about 4 hours 15 minutes. This is the best way to do it due to the steepness. Our legs were aching for a couple of days afterwards but it is a very rewarding hike.
Another steep climb from Morzine, Ressachaux is at least a five hour outing (including a sandwich at the top). This is more of a workout than a jolly day out. That is until you get above the tree line, and in to a clearing where there is a group of Alpages and Mazots. As you ascend, the view just gets better overlooking Morzine, Mont Blanc and lake Geneva.
You need to drive to the Col de l’Encrenaz to start this one. This hike is a full day out and not for the feint hearted. Roc d’Enfer is a ridge walk that goes up and down tooth like mountains. When we first reached the ridge, we saw a guy wearing trainers with a french bulldog under his arm, then we came across people roped together with climbing harnesses.Therefore, we were not sure if we were over or under prepared for our day out.
It turns out the guy with the dog was very unprepared, as there are chains bolted to the rock to allow you to abseil down in order to follow the “path”. This is well worth doing, as it is a proper day out, giving you a challenge, lots of exercise and incredible views.
To get to Mont Ouzon, you need to drive up the Col de Corbier for this picturesque hike. The good thing about this one is that it doesn’t take too long and the views are spectacular. When you arrive at the top of the Col de Corbier, there is a small car park at the foot of the old ski slopes and next to a restaurant. You need to cross the road and head up the metal steps behind the shops to the trail.
The hike itself takes you up the side of the mountain, through some fields and woodland until it starts to get steep. The steep bit is pretty entertaining, as it has a similar setup as Roc D’Enfer, with a chain to help you climb up. Therefore I wouldn’t do this one if you have small children or if you are not too nimble. Once at the top, you can clamber round the two rocky points, taking in the view. From here you can see Mont Blanc, Les Dents du Midi and Lake Geneva.
If you have a car and a reasonable amount of upper body strength, I advise you to do this hike. The rewards outweigh the effort you have to put in.
Col de Cou
The Col de Cou is one of our routes during the Winter for Splitboarding missions, but it is also a great hike to do in the Summer. You need to drive up to Lac des Mines D’Or in the vallee de la Manche and just follow the path leading up the hill. This takes you up a long ascent through meadows that gradually get steeper, all the way to the French – Swiss border. From the top you are treated to stunning views of the Dents du Midi in one direction and the vallee de la Manche in the other.
You can head back down the way you came to for the short version of this hike, or follow the signs to continue the loop back down to the car park. This hike only takes about two hours, so it is a good one to do in the morning, before it gets hot.
These hikes are great for spotting wildlife. Eagles, marmottes, chamois, deer and wild boar are just some of the animals hikers can see. If you do any hiking in this area in the off season, be aware that hunting is very popular. There is an app available for your phone to tell you where the hunting is taking place, so you can avoid those areas.
The weather here over the summer in Morzine can be fantastic. Temperatures are commonly between 20 and 30 degrees for most weeks. But the weather can change rapidly, so you need to be prepared. Check the weather forecast before setting off so you can take the correct clothing with you. Food and water is essential, as there is no KFC on any of these hikes. A phone is also a good idea as you can be in very remote areas of the mountain.
Make sure you and the people are with are suitably fit for the routes you have chosen. Remember you have to get back, so ensure you have enough time to return to your chalet for dinner.