Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Chamonix. Yes, summer is glorious and winter is magical, but the golden glow and tranquillity of autumn can’t be beaten.
You see a real difference in the seasons here in the Alps – each one is distinct and comes with its own colour palette. At the moment the leaves in Chamonix are ranging from fiery red to deep green, while the mountains are carpeted with a thick bed of purple and orange heather that will soon become covered over with snow.
One of the best things about autumn is how peaceful it is; you can hike for hours and barely see another soul, which means that you are far more likely to spot alpine wildlife such as chamois, bouquetin and marmots.
The lifts may be closed but there are plenty of wonderful hiking trails lower down in the valley; you can hike the Petit Balcons between Chamonix and Argentiere, or ramble around the lovely old stone chalets in Vallorcine. The trail from Le Buet to the Refuge de Bérard is stunning at this time of year and if you don’t mind a bit of uphill then the rolling alpages of Le Tour and Les Houches are definitely worth the effort.
Hiking in Chamonix
There may be an autumnal nip in the air but it’s not too cold (yet) to go rock climbing. The Chamonix valley is full of low, middle and high altitude crags that get the sun on them at different times of day so there’s always somewhere to go. If you’re new to the area or a beginner to climbing, then consider hiring a climbing guide for the day. They’ll take you to all the best spots and give you invaluable tips on improving your technique. And, at this time of year, you’ll never find yourself having to wait for a route at the foot of a busy crag.
Climbing in Chamonix
The only lifts that remain open at the moment are the Aiguille du Midi and Montenvers; you can get a return lift pass that covers both and the hike from Plan de l’Aiguille across to Montenvers is one of our all-time favourites. Parapenting is a fantastic way to see the Chamonix valley in all its glory – floating past high peaks and over glaciers as you drift back down to earth. At this time of year you can still fly from the Plan de l’Aiguille at 2317m, or from the summit of Aiguille du Midi at 3842m.
Paragliding in Chamonix
The Brevent lift will soon be reopening for the All Saint’s holiday (half-term for many schools) at the end of October (17/10/15-06/11/15), opening up more hiking trails, rock climbing crags and parapente take-off sites.
Lifts in Chamonix