When autumn transforms the landscape in Les Contamines Montjoie, a number of hikes offer exceptional panoramic views. The hike from Les Aiguilles Croches towards Mont Joly is certainly one of the most attractive and spectacular.
When I parked the car at Le Planay, near the altiport in Megève, I was quite surprised to be the only one there. The sky was a beautiful blue, barely veiled by a few cirrus clouds, a sure sign of good weather.
I set off towards the altiport (1415 m) in direction of “le pas de Sion” ‘ (1855 m). From here I branched off along an almost hidden path that rises towards the start of the ridge (2230m). I ran into two workers and helped them to move a generator. The “beast” weighed more than a ton and I almost regretted having offered!
Having climbed 600m in altitude that morning I decided to enjoy a contemplative pause and take in the 360° views of the Aravis, Bauges, Beaufortin, Tarentaise and Mont Blanc mountain ranges. The scenery was magnificent. In front of me the ridge leading to Les Aiguilles Croches marks the border between the Savoie and Haute Savoie regions. The Contamines ski area lies just below and I could hear the maintenance team preparing the lifts for the coming season. The two workers I’d helped earlier were back on the job and gave me a friendly wave. The mountains truly encourage the most simple encounters!
As I reached the summit of Les Aiguilles Croches (2487 m) I ran into another hiker (at last). The view was different from up here but none the less spectacular! I glanced behind me, amazed by the amount of ground I’d covered. The ridge had appeared so difficult from below!
From here the path ran downwards before rising again towards La Tête du Veleray at 2452 metres altitude (arrival of the draglift). One could just about distinguish the roofs of the chalets in Les Contamines . A roller coaster path led me to La Tête de La Colombaz (2445 m) marked by a succession of magnificent and imposing cairns. I started to imagine the number of visitors who had in turn laid stone after stone, visit after visit. Today these natural monuments act as a land mark for some and a tripod for others.
The dark shale of Mont Joly was now within reach! The climb seemed never ending. I pushed on and soon found myself at the foot of the antenna on Mont-Joly, slightly disappointed at the prospect of hiking back so soon.
The descent led me to a truly magical place, the mountain pastures at “Hermance”, an authentic alpine hamlet where time appears to stand still. From here the path was shaded by the forest, ending at a crossroads with an unusual warning sign:
Chemin de la Strassaz No Entry: Buffalo. Quite extraordinary!
Although this hike is somewhat lengthy , 7 ½ hours to complete the entire circuit, it is definitely worth the effort! From the ridge one can enjoy a varied panorama. The views of the Val Montjoie are unique, one can almost touch the Tré la Tête glacier!
Friends and walkers, why not reserve a day to discover this beautiful spot perched between Megeve and les Contamines-Montjoie!