We’ve been basking in glorious sunshine this week with temperatures in the mid-twenties and, happily, it looks set to continue until after the weekend according to the Chamonix weather forecast.
The lifts may not be open but there is still plenty to do when the weather is this beautiful – this week we’ve been hiking, trail running and even had the bike out. The trails are in great condition, with the Brevent-Flegere side of the valley being almost completely clear of snow now and spring flowers out in bloom up at Le Tour.
The Aiguille du Midi side of the valley still has snowfields higher up, so the Grand Balcon Nord is still not clear and the Caillet trail up to Montenvers is not recommended. Other options include the Mottets route up to Montenvers, the Petit Balcon Nord and the Cascade du Dard – all in great condition and pretty as a picture right now with lush green leaves and gurgling waterfalls!
If it’s your first time in Chamonix then you can get a real insight into the local trails by taking a guided hike with an IML (International Mountain Leader). They’ll not only lead you on some wonderful routes but can also tell you all about Alpine flora and fauna, pointing out things that you wouldn’t necessarily notice yourself. They are also experts in where to find the best coffee and cakes at altitude.
If you’re a keen hiker and not so bothered about lift access then spring and autumn are fantastic times of the year to visit Chamonix. You’ll have many of the trails to yourself and can enjoy the tranquility of Chamonix without the hoards of tourists that descend during the summer holidays. You’ll find that Chamonix never really dies down, unlike a lot of other resorts, it just slows its pace a little and if you come out of the peak seasons you’ll get chance to enjoy its simple pleasures; enjoying a coffee at a pavement café, wandering round the market on a Saturday morning, reading a book beside the lake or taking a stroll alongside the river.
The quiet interseason periods also mean that you’re more likely to find perfect solitude on your hike into the mountains, or that you’ll have your pick of the climbing routes at a peaceful crag. Add on the bonus of cheap flights and low accommodation prices and you’re wondering why you didn’t think of it sooner!