This hike is more of a gentle stroll to a picturesque alpine meadow full of flowers and rustic wooden chalets.
Starting at the base station of the Prarion gondola, cross the roundabout and walk up Route des Chavants through a quiet residential area dotted with beautiful chalets. Turn left onto Route des S’Nailles and cut through to Route des Chavants; turn right when you reach the road and look out for your next little shortcut on the left called Chemin de la Ravan Liré. As well as providing a handy shortcut, these little paths take you off the main road and onto quirky little passage ways amongst charming old chalets and pretty gardens.
Turn left at the end of Chemin de la Ravan Liré and make a sharp right at the next junction onto Route de la Coté des Chavants. Follow this road all the way up until you branch off left onto Chemin de Charousse; a track which takes you into the forest until you reach the clearing of the same name.
Charousse is an idyllic little spot that feels lost in time; twelve old chalets made of stone and larchwood nestle together in a field of swaying lupins. Little streams trickle through a meadow of long grass and wild flowers and a river skirts along one side of the clearing.
The chalets are no longer inhabited, although some of them may still be used as holiday homes. They are authentic alpine huts, fascinating to look around and peer into. The clearing is surrounded by forests of beech and pine trees; it is beautiful all year round and is a lovely snowshoe route in winter. June is the best time of year to see the blue and purple lupins in full bloom.
From Charousse you have views of the Mont Blanc Massif on one side and the towering limestone crags of the Fiz on the other. You can return the way you came or extend your hike by following signposts up to Forclaz and Prarion, taking the gondola back down.
Who should go...
What to bring
What to see
Where to lunch
Location: Chamonix - Les Houches
Level: Beginner | Family Friendly
Typical Duration: 1hr