Hikes in Annecy Mountains
Hiking in Annecy region takes visitors to the soaring mountains flanking Lake Annecy and the surrounding area. People may assume that water sports are the main outdoor activities offered in Annecy Mountains. Still, visitors will be surprised to discover a surplus of hiking trails, tailored for families with young kids to experienced hikers!
Some of you may travel to Annecy and fall so in love with its intoxicating scenery that you’ll refuse to leave the snaking canals and lakefront views behind for a hiking excursion, but hiking here is so worth it!
Hiking around Annecy takes you to a theatre of phenomenal vistas: marvel at Mont Blanc’s demanding snow-capped presence at some pinnacles and catch a broader image of Lake Annecy and its natural surroundings from up high.
Hiking in Annecy is one way to take your vacation from a classic visit to a European city to epic in just a couple of hours. It’s worth your time to get out on the trail, and you won’t have to plan much because we have all the information for you! Take a look at the ten most incredible hikes in Annecy.
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Annecy Mountains
You’ll find an abundance of trails snaking around Annecy’s backyard! Experienced hikers will enjoy the kaleidoscope of views painting the challenging but rewarding Lac du Mont Charvin Hike and Mont Veyrier. While families will appreciate the entertaining scenery peppering the easy, but fun Semnoz Hike—this one also has an unfinished World War II bunker—and Morette Waterfall. A collection of breathtaking views of lakes (includingLake Annecy), Mont Blanc, waterfalls, and enchanting forests accompany the ten greatest hikes in Annecy mentioned below. Take a look at them and choose your favourite!
- Lac du Mont Charvin: On paper, the Lac du Mont Charvin hike looks like an average far away hike with decent views, but don’t let the words and images trick you into not attempting this trail. It’s definitely a stunning escapade! It winds up along a steep path to the lake, shimmering in a gorgeous green. To top it off, you’ll catch views of Mont Blanc from the top.
- Mont Veyrier: Expect to admire sweeping panoramic views on this hike. Spot Lake Annecy and the base of the Alps from atop. If you plan to come during sunset, bring a sundowner! Some people even opt to wild camp here.
- Plateau des Glières: Admire the stunning valley, lake views, and mountains cloaked in greenery on the Plateau des Glières hike. This hike winds to the three têtes: Tête Rond, Tête Noire, and Tête de l’Arpattaz. If you hike this trail in the summer, you’ll get a chance to revel in the wildflowers, gentian herbs, and blueberries peppering the rolling fields.
- Lac de Lessy: You can take a couple of different routes, all giving you a chance to bask in the wonder of this amazing hike! The trail from Chinaillon twists to a summit, situated before the lake, that unveils vistas of Lac Leman in Switzerland and Mont Blanc. Try to go on a clear day to capture a crisp glimpse of these monumental views.
- Angon Waterfall: Explore a film reel of sites: a soaring waterfall, mesmerizing views of Lake Annecy, and an enchanting fairy bridge. Enjoy a potential refreshing swim in the lake at the end of this hike, which squishes in a collage of local wonders.
- Refuge de La Bombardellaz: Wind to the Refuge de La Bombardellaz on this family-friendly walk. You can even bring a stroller! It may be tough to push the stroller in some steep sections, but it’s definitely possible. Once you reach the refuge, enjoy a beverage while you overlook the views sprawled below or bring along a picnic lunch.
- Col de Borneronde Hike: Say goodbye to crowds and the heat as the Bois de la Duche forest near the Col des Annes swallows you into a lush forest, flecked by waves of sunlight. You’ll wind to the Col de Borneronde! You can always opt to make this hike longer, too, if you have some energy left in the tank.
- Col des Aravis Hike: You can either make this loop a super challenging one or a family-friendly excursion. If you’re with kiddos, opt to stay on the gravel track for the hike, but those wanting to pant a little will enjoy veering off the gravel path and embarking on the steeper dirt route that carries you to a narrow ridge!
- Morette Waterfall: Short, but stunning—what more could you want in a hike, especially if you’re with your family? Behind the cliff, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall. This hike also shares an image of the past: you’ll come across an incomplete World War II after you check out the few waterfalls scattered along this trail.
- Semnoz Hike: Take advantage of no snow blanketing this ski resort and go on an easy, family-friendly walk! This short hike unveils views of Lake Annecy, the Alps, and Jura.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Annecy Mountains
While Annecy offers adventure year-round, it’s best to hike here during late spring, summer, or early autumn as the mountains become laden with snow during the winter. Hikers will love the wildflowers spreading like wildfire across the meadows during the spring (March-April), and the warmer temperatures in summer (May-September) will appeal to those who thrive best under the sun. The heat makes it all the more refreshing to take a dip in Lake Annecy! It’s still decently warm enough to hike during autumn (October-November), too. Do mentally prepare for more crowds during the summer months.
Other Outdoor Activities near Annecy Mountains
Carve through fresh powder on your snowboard or skis along the 240.0 km of slopes winding around the mountains near Annecy. Most people flock to La Clusaz/Manigod when snow falls.
Around an hour from Annecy, sits one of the best outdoor playgrounds for adventurers: Chamonix. This mountain town sits below the imposing Mont Blanc. Like Annecy, it also boasts of some epic trails for hikers of all levels.
Other Outdoor Activities in Annecy
Why, go to the lake, of course! Flanked by mountains, Lake Annecy glimmers in beauty and is the ultimate hub for water sports. Go water skiing, wake surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. You can even scuba dive here.
Avid cyclists will enjoy the 42.0 km circling Lake Annecy. It’s scenic, and you get to exercise!
Want a break from activities? Go to the beaches, Plage la Brune at Veyrier-du-Lac for some chillaxin’ lounge time! Annecy explodes with quintessential French delights, such as the scenic The Jardins del’ Europe, the picturesque bridge, Pont des Amours, and historic buildings, like the Palais de l’Île. You can also visit Gorges du Fier.
How to plan a trip to Annecy Mountains
Thinking of heading to Annecy for your next vacation, but not in the mood to plan your trip? We’ve got you covered! Our detailed guide for planning a trip to Annecy Mountains will help make the planning process a little easier. The guide shares the best spots to eat, play, and stay! All you need to do is daydream about your adventure, make sure your passport is up to date, and pack.
Frequently Asked Questions About Annecy
Is hiking in Annecy Mountains safe?
Yes! However, it’s important to consider essential hiking cautions before you go. Be sure to check the weather forecast and the trail conditions. Wear appropriate gear for the weather/conditions.
Do I need a guide to hike in Annecy Mountains?
No! You can definitely do these hikes on your own. Check the route guides, download a PDF, and tell someone where you’re going before you depart.
Is Annecy expensive?
To give some perspective: a meal at a cheaper restaurant can cost around $15, while two meals at an average restaurant can have you digging out around $50! You can always keep prices down by shopping at a supermarket instead of eating out all of the time.
Best Hikes in Annecy Mountains
Lac du Mont Charvin
It would be easy to overlook this hike on face value: the lake is small and green; the starting point is a long drive away; and there are no public toilets in the car park. But don’t be fooled by appearances: this is a solid 2.5-hour walk up steep and picturesque terrain on a rudimentary trail with the ultimate reward — views of Mont Blanc, gleaming white on a sunny summer’s day.
Mont Baron offers a sweeping 360° vista, with Lake Annecy to the west and the foot of the Alps to the east. It was once home to the Mont Veyrier cable car (télépherique du Mont Veyrier), which was removed in 2001, leaving a lovely open space for wild camping and admiring the views over a picnic lunch or a drink at sunset. It’s a popular walk for a good reason, with access starting at a number of different points.
Plateau des Glieres: Three Têtes Hike
With jetting mountain peaks covered in a carpet of green and unforgettable valley and lake views, the Plateau des Glières Hike doesn’t disappoint! This hike gives you a chance to marvel at the three têtes: Tête Noire, Tête Rond, and Tête de l’Arpattaz. The area is rich in nature and history. You’ll find a monument to the French Resistance fighters who died in battle here, and in summer, wildflowers, blueberries and gentian herbs are abundant in the rolling fields and between the rocky mounts. This loop hike will have you reminiscing on the outstanding views and enchanting scenery for days!
Lac de Lessy
Lac de Lessy is a classic place for wildlife spotting, and it’s well known for the loud calls of stags as dusk approaches. If you take the route from Chinaillon on a clear day, the peak before the lake provides views of Mont Blanc in one direction and Lac Leman in Switzerland in the other.
This hike takes the challenging path up the face of the peak and returns along the longer and gentler route back, but many other trails are available if you’re organised enough to arrange transport from different start- and end-points. It’s also possible to follow the easier main path used for the return if you prefer (or if you suffer from vertigo).
This hike is packed with interesting stops — a vertiginous waterfall, a picturesque fairy bridge, breathtaking views over Lake Annecy, cultural sights and a possible dip in the lake to cool down at the end. The hike combines several popular tracks into one larger circuit that fits in as many of the local highlights as possible.
Refuge de La Bombardellaz
Like many hikes in the French Alps, this trail can be made shorter or longer depending on which path you choose. We pass the Refuge de La Bombardellaz before carrying on to complete a longer circuit in this hike. Follow the gravel access road most of the way to the refuge, making for a leisurely hour-long walk with a steady incline. Parents with off-road pushchairs might find some of the steeper sections difficult, but not impossible to navigate, and they should use the same path to return from the refuge.
Col de Borneronde Hike
If you’re looking to escape the crowds and the harsh summer sun, head to the Bois de la Duche forest near the Col des Annes. This shady forest is dappled with soft sunlight and has a wide range of fauna and views to enjoy along the way. This hike takes you to the Col de Borneronde, where you can choose to add further tracks and circuits in less wooded areas if this circuit is too short.
Col des Aravis Hike
This hike overlooks the Col des Aravis, which marks the border between Savoie and Haute Savoie. The circuit, which is challenging, peels off the wide gravel track to take a steeper dirt path that eventually leads to a narrow ridge. If you have small children, it’s advisable to opt for the easier route, which doesn’t leave the wide gravel track for the entire hike, returning on the same track.
Hidden behind the cliff face and woody forest of the entrance of this short hike is a beautiful waterfall as well as a peek into the past. Discover an unfinished World War II bunker after you admire the collection of waterfalls dotting this route!
Semnoz is a ski resort on the Bauges pre-Alps mountain range, overlooking Lake Annecy and the Alps to the east and Jura to the north. With an altitude of just 1,699 m, the ski season is short, resulting in a few extra months for snow-free hiking. This panoramic hike is short and easy for families with kids or those looking for a hike without steep sections.
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