The rolling grassy slopes of Le Tour look more like the terrain around the Les Gets & Morzine resorts than the rest of the valley, so it’s no surprise that Le Tour has some of the most accessible mountain biking in Chamonix.
In 2012 a green trail was built offering an easier level of riding in this area. You can access it by the main Charamillon gondola and then the Autannes chair lift, which takes you up to 2,180m. The trail is fast and flowy with a few sharper corners and rocky section to get to grips with, but as a beginner if you take it slow and steady you'll soon find your skills improving. In 2013 a harder variant was added with assorted hips, tabletops, drop offs and berms for more advanced riders.
After riding these trails you can head down to the base of the Charamillon cable car on the blue track. This starts from the end of the green trail next to the gondola station and winds its way down under the cables on a fast and flowing track which gets harder the faster you go, making it a great choice for mixed ability groups.
There are a number of intermediate natural trails that run from Col du Balme down to Le Tour and to Vallorcine villages, or for those searching more technical and challenging routes, there are some fantastic runs such as Col de Possette and various tree lined runs from Col de Balme down to Vallorcine. (Follow the blue trails on the Vallorcine/Le Tour trail Map).
For the more adventurous and advanced rider, why not dip into the village of Trient in Switzerland? (Don’t forget your passport and make sure the trains are running before you set off over the top!) This is quite a tricky trail to find though so make sure you have a map or go with somebody who knows the way. It takes about 3-4 hours to reach Trient however if you still have the energy left once you reach Trient, carry on riding up to the village of Finhaut before descending through the quaint Swiss villages arriving at Martigny. At Martigny you can catch the train back to Chamonix. The train costs around €20.00 (unless you have a carte d'hote or residents card) and provides some of the most breath-taking views in the Alps.
For a longer ride that never gets too technical, jump on the lift from the bottom of Le Tour and follow the signs that lead to the Col des Posettes. Take the 4 x 4 track heading in the direction of Vallorcine where you want to cut a hard right and take the trail that leads to the second chairlift station and a further 4 x 4 track. This track has a long descent that leads down into La Jeux, Switzerland, or you can follow the winter home run back to Vallorcine and it’s gondola back up where you can reverse the route back to Le Tour.
Riders staying in Le Tour can follow the fun Petit Balcon Nord all the way into town where you can soak up the village atmosphere at any of the numerous little coffee houses or eateries along the way. Finish the day with a long and steady climb back up the hill on same trail or on the road. (If you’re too tired, cheat and get the train!!!)