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 known as the “sentier des contrebandiers (smugglers’ path)” is indicated in dotted lines on the IGN maps. It is a balcony itinerary equipped with handrails. Check the weather forecast before setting off: some passages can be slippery in the event of rain and dangerous if there is still snow.

For more comfort, plan a lunch break or an 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 paths (Moraine de l’Ours and chemin des contrebandiers), cross the vale to reach a second moraine and head upwards to reach the refuge.

Access to the starting points and routes to the refuge :

Miage and Tricot routes – 3D view :

Pathways by the Chemin des Contrebandiers :

Difference in height and distance of the different courses

  • 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 starting points

Access without vehicles:

During a Mont Blanc tour

On your tour, enjoy a small variation to spend the evening in the tiniest and most authentic refuge of your trip.

On foot from Saint-Gervais

  • You can take the legendary Mont Blanc tram to Bellevue. From there, take the route: Col de Tricot – path of the smugglers.
  • You can also go by shuttle to the hamlet of La Villette. Walk up through the hamlet to the car park at La Gruvaz, where you will find the trail heading to Miage. From there you can either choose the Col de Tricot and the chemin des contrebandiers or the Moraine de l’Ours.

On foot from Les Houches

Take the cable car to Bellevue. 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 path to Miage, then either the Col de Tricot and the chemin des contrebandiers or the Moraine de l’Ours.

Lodging in stages towards the 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.
  • 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 !