A suitable walk for families with children of walking age.
An easy stroll amongst mountain flowers with spectacular views
Starting Point : Chalet d'Accueil (Information Centre) de la Réserve Naturelle des Aiguilles Rouges
Duration : 45 minutes (1 hr 45 mins from Le Buet)
The first section of this description includes a pleasant walk from the train station at Le Buet which takes around 30 minutes each way. This part is optional though, as the Reserve Naturelle does have a small car park; but taking the train is more eco-friendly and is a great way to see the valley!
If taking the train you should alight at Le Buet and turn right as soon as you leave the station, following the sign for Col des Montets. Shortly after setting off along a tarmac path you will come to a tunnel under a small bridge and a signpost giving you the option of carrying on to Les Montets or turning right to Col des Montets; you should turn right and pass under the bridge. From here the walk follows an easy flat path through woodland, alongside a stream and finally through wildflower meadows.
Approximately 25 minutes later you will come to a signpost that offers two options of getting to Col de Montets; each route takes 5 minutes and both bring you to the information centre of the Aiguille Rouge, so you can take either.
Once at the information centre you can pick up a free booklet which features a very small and not very detailed map – if you are planning on starting a long hike from this point we would definitely recommend that you bring your own map of the area! However, the nature trail is very easy to follow and the route is marked by numbered granite blocks. The whole circuit takes no more than 45 minutes at a leisurely stroll and you can spin it out by relaxing by one of the lakes or stopping to admire the fantastic scenery!
The path leaves from just outside the information centre and goes as far as the car park; at this point you cross over the road and continue back along the other side. The range of wildflowers and alpine plants on display is beautiful and many of them are labelled so you can look them up when you get home. Despite being fairly near the road the large rocks and long grasses buffer any traffic noise quite well and it is a very tranquil place to pass a couple of hours.
The Col des Montets cuts through a very narrow part of the Chamonix valley and the soaring mountains to either side make for an extremely impressive view.