Tour du Beaufortain
90 km and +5,100 m Trail running, France

Lake of Roselend, Tour du Beaufortain, Alps, France (© P. Gatta)
Lake of Roselend, Tour du Beaufortain, Alps, France (© P. Gatta)

Tour of Beaufortain in four days

Beaufortain is a nice region of Savoie department, South of Mont Blanc massif. With numerous good trails, amazing views over the mountains, large lakes, alpine meadow, it is a great destination for hiking and trail running. There is a standard trail around the massif called the Grande Randonnée de Pays (GRP) Tour du Beaufortain, often done in 6 or 7 days. In addition, there are multiple variations offering plenty of choices. There is also the Ultra Tour du Beaufortain, a non-stop trail running race of 105 km and +6,400 meters.

Instead of doing the standard Trails, we made a nice combination of the Tour du Beaufortain, Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) and GR5. Our objective was to discover the Beaufortain region, its Alpine lakes (Roselend, Saint Guérin), some famous peaks such as the Pierra Menta but also its great villages: Beaufort, Arêches, Hauteluce.

We made a 4-day loop of 90 km and +5,100 m, starting and ending in Les-Contamines-Montjoie (Haute-Savoie, Mont Blanc) as it was convenient for us, but there are many other options. As we made the trip in late October, most huts were closed so we had to carry an extra light tent. The good side is that we enjoyed the beautiful autumn colors and we had the chance to be alone most of the time. So we slept in a tent the first two nights and in a Gites in Hauteluce the last night. Depending on the season, there are plenty of huts and Gites open along the way for those who do not want to carry a tent.

Here are our four stages:

Refuge du Col de La Croix du Bonhomme on the Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© A. Gatta)
Refuge du Col de La Croix du Bonhomme on the Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© A. Gatta)

Overall the trails of GRP Tour du Beaufortain are very good and pretty well marked with signposts and paint marks (yellow and red) but it is recommended to bring maps (and a GPS).


Day 1: Les-Contamines-Montjoie - Plan Mya: 20 km and +1,520 m / -820 m

Map of the first day (© P. Gatta)
Map of the first day (© P. Gatta)

Leave the parking of Notre Dame de la Gorge (1,210 m) and follow the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) to the Col du Bonhomme (2,329 m). Great views over the Mont Blanc Massif.

Col du Bonhomme, Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© P. Gatta)
Col du Bonhomme, Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© P. Gatta)

After the Col du Bonhomme, follow the TMB / GR5 to the Refuge Col de La Croix du Bonhomme (2,450 m, hut), 10 km and +1,320m from the start.

Just above Refuge Col de La Croix du Bonhomme, Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© A. Gatta)
Just above Refuge Col de La Croix du Bonhomme, Tour du Mont Blanc and GR5 (© A. Gatta)

After the Refuge Col de La Croix du Bonhomme, follow the GR5 and Tour du Beaufortain along the scenic Crête des Gittes.

Crête des Gittes (© A. Gatta)
Crête des Gittes (© A. Gatta)

Quickly reach Col de la Sauce and descend to Plan de la Lai (1,818 m, hut).

Plan de la Lai (© P. Gatta)
Plan de la Lai (© P. Gatta)

We passed the Gites de Plan Mya and slept after Le Mora with great views over the Lake of Roselend.

Bivouac with Lake of Roselend and Beaufortain behind (© P. Gatta)
Bivouac with Lake of Roselend and Beaufortain behind (© P. Gatta)


Day 2: Plan Mya - Cormet d'Arêches - Chalet des Rognoux: 23 km and +1,350 m / -1,320 m

Map of the second day (© P. Gatta)
Map of the second day (© P. Gatta)

On the second day, continue along the GR5 and Tour du Beaufortain to the Ruines of Preset.

Morning lights close to Petite Berge, Mont Blanc in the background (© A. Gatta)
Morning lights close to Petite Berge, Mont Blanc in the background (© A. Gatta)

Leave the GR5 and the Pierra Menta on your left and continue on GRP Tour du Beaufortain to Col du Coin (2,398 m), around 10 km and +890 m from the start. This is the highest point of the day.

Pierra Menta (© A. Gatta)
Pierra Menta (© A. Gatta)

Start the descent after the Col du Coin, pass the Refuge de la Coire (hut) and Cormet d'Arêches (2,108 m).

Col du Coin (© A. Gatta)
Col du Coin (© A. Gatta)

Descend to the nice lake of St-Guérin (1,559 m) and climb to the Chalet des Rognoux (1,956 m).

Lake of St-Guérin (© A. Gatta)
Lake of St-Guérin (© A. Gatta)

We made the bivouac there as the hut just above, Refuge de l'Alpage, was closed.

View from the bivouac (© P. Gatta)
View from the bivouac (© P. Gatta)


Day 3: Chalet des Rognoux - Arêches - Hauteluce: 24 km and +1,020 m / -1,810 m

Map of day 3, GRP Tour du Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)
Map of day 3, GRP Tour du Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)

From the Chalet des Rognoux (1,955 m), follow the trail GRP Tour du Beaufortain to the Refuge des Arolles (1,908 m).

Tour du Beaufortain between Chalet des Rognoux and Refuge des Arolles (© A. Gatta)
Tour du Beaufortain between Chalet des Rognoux and Refuge des Arolles (© A. Gatta)

After Refuge des Arolles, we left the standard Tour du Beaufortain as we wanted to see the main villages of this region: Arêches, Beaufort and Hauteluce. Follow a trail going down to Le Planay and La Dray, get back on the Tour du Beaufortain Variante short after. Reach Arêches (14 km +590m/-1,504m from the start) and continue to Beaufort (750 m). There are plenty of shops, restaurants and hotels or Gites in these villages. After Beaufort, follow the trail up to Hauteluce (1,120 m).

Hauteluce, Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)
Hauteluce, Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)

Day 4: Hauteluce - Refuge de Very - Les-Contamines-Montjoie: 21 km and +1,200 m / -1,120 m

From Hauteluce (1,117 m), go straight up toward Mont Clocher (1,976 m) to get back on the GRP Tour du Beaufortain.

On the way to Mont Clocher, Mont Blanc in the background (© P. Gatta)
On the way to Mont Clocher, Mont Blanc in the background (© P. Gatta)

Continue on the trail and enjoy the breathtaking views over Mont Blanc Massif, Beaufortain and Aravis. Reach the Refuge de la Croix de Pierre (Col de Very, 1,962 m) and further the Col du Joly (1,989 m). That is where we left the Beaufortain to follow the Tour du Pays du Mont Blanc back to Notre Dame de la Gorge.

Mont Blanc Massif seen from Col du Joly (© P. Gatta)
Mont Blanc Massif seen from Col du Joly (© P. Gatta)

Map and track of our Tour du Beaufortain



Anna with the Rocher du Vent behind, Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)
Anna with the Rocher du Vent behind, Beaufortain (© P. Gatta)

See also


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