Summer Lift System

Chamonix's lift system gives access to an array of hiking paths and mountain bike trails, as well as whisking you up to parapente takeoff sites and high altitude climbing crags.

Open from mid-June to mid-September, there is plenty of opportunity to explore everything that summer in Chamonix has to offer.

Aiguille du Midi

No trip to Chamonix is complete without a visit up to the top of the Aiguille du Midi - at 3842m with 360° views of the French, Swiss and Italian peaks it feels like the top of the world.

The ride up is split into two sections, you change cable cars at the Plan de l'Aiguille from where you can start a number of spectacular hikes.

At the summit you will find a network of bridges and viewing platforms looking out in all directions - you'll see mountaineers and alpinists setting off from the famous ice tunnel and you're so high up that you can birds flying past beneath you! It really does feel like you're far from reality, rather than a mere 30 minutes from Chamonix town.

The hike across from Plan de l'Aiguille to Montenvers is one of the best in the valley - and you get to see Chamonix's two most famous sights up close in one day - Mont Blanc and the Mer de Glace.

The Aiguille du Midi cable car is open from the 1st May to 1st November 2016, please see the timetable to the right for opening hours.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle
  • Test your nerves and Step Into The Void - a glass cube that is suspended over a 1000m drop into the depths of the glacier!
  • Take a few minutes to steady yourself when you exit the cable car; the air is significantly thinner up here and is not unusual to feel giddy and short of breath until your body acclimatises.
  • Bring sunglasses and some warm clothing as it can be very bright and cold up here, even if it is overcast down in the valley the summit can often be way above the clouds.

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices aiguille du midi lift timetable The main activities at Aiguille du Midi are hiking and paragliding, find out more here: The Aiguille du Midi is also a popular starting point for summer mountaineering, including climbing Mont Blanc, find out more here:

Montenvers Mer de Glace

There aren't many places in the world where you can ride a 100 year old train up to a glacier, explore ice caves, see massive crystals and have lunch in an historic hotel - but you can in Chamonix!

The Montenvers train made its maiden voyage in 1908 and the little red train has been trundling up from Chamonix to the Mer de Glace laden with sightseers ever since.

Once up there you can walk or take a lift down to the glacier, where the ice caves are carved out and filled with different ice sculptures every year. If you want to venture onto the ice and clamber amongst the crevasses you can book a guided glacier hike and learn how to use alpine tools such as crampons and ice axes.

The  more adventurous might want to try via ferrata - a type of rock climbing where you scramble across bridges, ladders and ropewalks to traverse the mountains. It's a great introduction to climbing that requires no experience, just a good head for heights!

The Montenvers train runs daily from 1st May until 27th September and then from 2nd November to 18th December, you can find the full schedule in the timetable on the right.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle
  • Follow the signposts up to Forbes Signal for majestic views of Les Drus - a foreboding jagged peak that makes Tolkein's Mordor look quite welcoming.
  • If you hike back down to Chamonix look out for the charming Chalet de Caillet, where you can enjoy a drink on the small terrace nestled in the forest.
  • The Grand Hotel du Montenvers hosts many special evenings with local cuisine and traditional music, it can also be booked out for parties and even as a unique wedding venue!

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices
The main activities at Montenvers are hiking in the mountains and on the glacier, and Via Ferrata, find out more here:

Brevent-Flegere

The two mountains that dominate the south side of the Chamonix valley are connected by one of the most spectacular hiking trails in the area - Le Grand Balcon Sud.

The Brevent gondola whisks you up from the centre of Chamonix to Plan Praz at 1999m, and then you can ride in a cable car up to the summit at 2525m. There are hiking trails galore up here with spectacular picnic spots besides lakes, massive boulders to stretch out on under the summer sun and panoramic views stretching the length of the valley.

Brevent lifts are open from 11th June to 18th September.

Flegere lifts are open from 11th June to 18th September 2016, enjoying a short reopening during the school holidays from 20th October to 27th November.

You can find all timetable details and lift pass prices on the right.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle
  • Take a picnic and make a day of the hike across from Brevent to Flegere, the scenery is amazing and you can take the train or bus back to Chamonix afterwards.
  • Look out for wildlife! Marmots, chamois and bouquetin are all common sites on this side of the valley and they're often quite unfazed by us humans.

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices
The main activities at Brevent and Flegere are hiking, mountain biking and paragliding, find out more here:
paraglidingBrevent Flegere lift timetable

Le Tour

Right on the Swiss border, the Domaine de Balme is a bucolic paradise of clanging cowbells and pretty stone shepherds huts. It is also home to some pretty awesome downhill mountain biking terrain...

Accessible from the small hamlets of Vallorcine and Le Tour, the Domaine de Balme is criss-crossed with hiking and biking trails galore. The terrain varies from rolling pastures to the vertiginous pinnacles of the Aiguillette des Possettes and the Croix de Fer. It is popular with trail runners and the Aiguillette des Possettes provides one of the "heftier" ascents of the Marathon du Mont Blanc - try running up it and you'll see what we mean!

From here you get two spectacular viewpoints with the Le Tour side looking down along the length of the Chamonix valley and the Vallorcine side looking out across to Switzerland with the impressive mass of the Emosson Dam in the distance.

The Le Tour gondola is open from 11th June to 25th September and the Vallorcine gondola is open from 2nd July to 4th September 2016, please see the timetable on the right for opening hours.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle:
  • If you're a keen biker then this is the place to start your Chamonix adventure. Dropping down from the Col de Balme along a twisty rooty singletrack through the pine forests to the little SWiss village of Trient and then cycling back over the border in France to hop back on the lift is a fantastic day's ride.
  • From Le Tour you can hike up to the Refuge Albert Premier and enjoy lunch in an authentic mountain hut - they do lovely cakes!
  • Le Tour and Vallorcine are both on the #01 bus route, so you can get the lift up one side and come down the other if you like and still be able to catch the bus home.

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices
The main activities at Le Tour and Vallorcine are hiking and mountain biking, find out more here:

Les Grands Montets

Get up amongst the glaciers even in the height of summer at Les Grands Montets, where Chamonix's highest ski area becomes a summer paradise of pine forests, lush meadows and craggy blue glaciers.

You can take the Lognan cable car up to 1970m and explore the network of hiking trails or go all the way to the top at  3275m for stunning views of the Argentiere glacier.

The restaurant at Lognan is also a great place to grab a cold drink, lie back in a deckchair and watch the paragliders fly overhead!

Les Grands Montets and Lognan cable cars are open from 25th June to 25th September 2016, please see the timetable on the right for opening hours.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle:
  • If you like what you see from the comfort of your deckchair then why not give it a go yourself? Paragliding is suitable for anyone from 4 to 104 years old and you will fly in complete safety with a tandem pilot.
  • Take a few spare layers of warm clothing with you, the high altitude and close proximity to the glacier makes it a few degrees chillier up there than down in the valley.
  • Don't be surprised if you come across a few sheep up here, it is a popular grazing pasture for local farmers - watch the video below to see how they get the animals up there every summer!

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices

The main activities at Les Grands Montets are hiking and paragliding, find out more here:

Les Houches

The starting point for many a Mont Blanc expedition, the sleepy little commune of Les Houches is a beautiful place to wander amongst typical Alpine scenery scattered with small farms and ancient shepherds huts.

Two lifts serve Les Houches, the Bellevue cable car and the Prarion gondola, both take you up to a wonderful choice of hiking trails. From the short La Chalme circuit that takes you past a small goat farm, to the longer Domes de Miage trek that passes the Bionassay glacier, there is plenty to suit everyone.

Les Houches is also a popular mountain biking area, with trails leading down in all directions - you can even ride down into Saint-Gervais and take the train back to Chamonix! Watch the video below to get an idea of what to expect.

If you want to make a day of it you can take the historic Tramway du Mont Blanc from Saint-Gervais all the way up to the Nid'Aigle - you'll likely be sharing a carriage with a few roped up, axe-wielding types as this is a popular way to access the ascent up to the summit of Mont Blanc.

The Bellevue cable car and Tramway du Mont Blanc are both open from 11th June to 25th September and the Prarion gondola is open from 18th June to 11th September 2016, please see the timetable on the right for opening hours.

Handy Hints from Mountain Lifestyle:
  • Check with the lifties at the bottom if the goat farm at La Chalme is open - if they are you can enjoy a plate of freshly made cheese and homecured charcuterie with an idyllic view of the mountain pastures.
  • Dogs are permitted on the Prarion and Bellevue lifts as long as they are on a lead. Once you get to the top they can be let off the lead as long as you keep an eye out for herds of sheep/goats and obey the signposts.
  • Les Houches is the easiest place to head if you are hiking with children, it is easy to find short flattish routes with cafés and toilets en route!

buy your lift pass online summer multipass prices

The main activities at Les Houches are hiking and mountain biking, find out more here:
mountain bikingles houches lift timetableTramway du Mont Blanc timetable