The Albert Premiere hike has steep slopes, a dramatic winding path, and a high alpine ambience which all add up to one amazing hike in the French Alps. Hike this trail all the way to the Refuge Albert 1er, which overlooks the glacier.
From Chamonix, take the bus to Le Tour. There is also plenty of free parking at Le Tour if you choose to drive. Take the Charamillon lift and then the Autannes lift to the start of the hike.
|When to do|
Normally July - October
No. Bivouac permitted sunset to sunrise.
At Charamillon lift and refuge
Out and back
At the base lift station explain your planned itinerary: Refuge Albert Premier from the Autannes lift, coming back on the Charamillon mid-station lift. Remember to tell them if you plan to stay the night at the refuge.
From the top of the Autannes chairlift, turn right and starting hiking on a clear path, signed to Albert Premiere. The trail contours around the wide-open spaces of the top of Le Tour with beautiful views down the valley, and there are often cows in the area, their gentle cowbells completing the idyllic ambience. You’ll pass a turn leading back to the mid-station, which you’ll take on the return journey, but for now, carry on heading upwards and around a ridge.
Once you are around the ridge, you can see your destination – the Refuge Albert 1er is clearly visible beside the glacier far above you. There are fantastic views of the Le Tour Glacier from here, with the peak of the Chardonnet rising behind. This part of the walk has a very steep drop on the right-hand side with chains to hold on to in a couple of areas. The path itself is good but take care through these sections.
Now the hike dips down to come very close to the glacier, and has been beautifully maintained so that the rocky trail is a pleasure to walk on. You will pass another turn, which is a direct route down to the village of Le Tour – this isn’t recommended, it is not a very nice path to walk on. It is much better to get the lift down.
The hike continues to Refuge Albert 1er. This refuge is a very popular base for climbing, mountaineering and glacier walking, so the hut is often very busy and reservations are essential to stay the night. It’s a wonderful experience though, and one of the more readily accessible high mountain huts in the Alps.
Return the way you came, hiking away from the Refuge Albert 1er. Look out for the path that splits and heads back to the Charamillon mid-station lift to take you back to Le Tour.
We love the Albert 1er hut, and it’s a wonderful experience to spend the night, though reservations are required.
If you can’t stay the night, you can have lunch at the hut.
If you’re hiking to the Albert Premiere Refuge, make sure to set off early in the morning and make sure to check the time of the last lift.
This is not a walk for the start of a holiday due to the altitude. Make sure to get acclimatized a little first.
Five minutes walk above the main Charamillon mid-station, you will see the stone buildings of Les Ecuries de Charamillon. These converted stables are now a restaurant and rooms - very friendly, lovely food, and a great place for lunch.
Near the base of Le Tour is Le Passon, another small and friendly restaurant.
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