Hiking to Plan Glacier: among the most beautiful trails in the area!

The pathes to Plan Glacier cross traditional hamlets (Truc, Miage, Champel, Bionnassay, Say), green and flowery pastures, before reaching a mineral landscape of high altitude little frequented. Wildlife is often present around these trails that are of historical interest.

Two marked trails lead to the refuge. They are accessible to good walkers with alpine feet. In particular, the path called “smugglers” is indicated in dotted lines on the IGN maps. It is a route in balcony equipped with handrails. Check the weather before departure: not recommended in wet weather (some passages can be slippery) and if presence of firn (late possible).

For more comfort, plan a lunch break or overnight stay at Plan Glacier before heading back.

Pathways to the hut

Two routes lead to the refuge that can be made in return or loop:

  • Le chemin des contrebandiers (“The smugglers’ path”) from / to the Col de Tricot: pretty path in balcony, flowers of rhododendron with sight on Miage. This path was used for smuggling with Italy in the 19th century. There are some ancient remains: a beautiful porch of stones, the “source au Comte” engraved with an inscription “the 2 brothers” and ruins of a hotel on the pass (built in 1877 by 2 Russian aristocrats, destroyed in 1930).
  • La moraine de l’Ours (“The Bear Moraine”) from / to Miage: Cross the pastures of Miage and go up the Moraine. Crossing a small waterfall.

At the junction of these two trails (Moraine de l’Ours and Chemin des Contrebandiers), continue a bit on the moraine, then take the small path to the right that joins the refuge.

Access map and hike to the refuge

Difference in height and distance of the different courses

Pathways by the Chemin des Contrebandiers :

  • Le Champel – Plan Glacier by the Col de Tricot : D + 1680 m / 9.6 km
  • Bionnassay – Plan Glacier : D + 1524 m / D- 130 m / 8.32 km
  • Bellevue – Plan Glacier : D + 1215 m / D- 286m / 7.4 km

Pathways by the Moraine de l’Ours :

  • Miage – Plan Glacier : D + 1147 m / 3.8 km
  • The Gruvaz – Plan Glacier : D + 1631 m / 7.7 km
  • Le Champel – Plan Glacier (by Miage) : D + 1560 m / 7.4 km

Access to the pathways

Access without vehicles:

The Mont Blanc tour

On the Tour du Mont-Blanc, treat yourself to a little variation to that of Miage: extend the detour by an unforgettable step!

On foot from Saint-Gervais

On foot from Les Houches

Take the cable car to Bellevue: https://www.chamonix.com/telepherique-de-bellevue,231,fr.html. From there, take the route: Col de Tricot – path of the smugglers.

Access by car:

You can park your vehicle in the following hamlets:

  • Bionnassay: from there, follow the route to Col de Tricot and the path of smugglers.
  • Champel: from there, follow the route to the Col de Tricot then the smugglers’ path or follow the route to Miage, then Moraine de l’Ours.
  • La Gruvaz (La Villette): from there, follow the route to Miage, then the Col de Tricot then the smugglers’ path or the Moraine de l’Ours.

Accommodations in stages to Plan Glacier Refuge:

You can find accommodation in the following villages and hamlets: St. Gervais les Bains, Col de Voza, Bionnassay, Le Truc, Miage.

Prepare your hike safely

Useful contacts

  • The Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais offers treks accompanied by Mountain Guides and Mountain Leaders: http://www.guides-mont-blanc.com
  • Emergency services: 112
  • Link to hike topo: Camp to Camp : https://www.camptocamp.org/routes/651476

To bring along

  • Charged phone (we will probably not be able to charge your phone at the refuge due to limited supply of power)
  • Water and snacks
  • Warm clothes and protection against wind and rain
  • Good walking shoes
  • A pharmacy
  • Sun protection: creams, glasses, cap.

Remember to tell people about your hike, check the weather and leave early. Enjoy your hike !