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Chamonix to the old La Para Mid Station

A scenic walk to an abandoned lift station complete with cable car

The walking route up to the old La Para mid station of Les Glaciers cable car via La Cascade du Dard Refuge is a popular forest route with stunning valley views towards Les Houches through breaks in the tree line.

This first section of the pre Aiguille du Midi cable car route between Les Pelerins and La Para was opened in 1924 in time for the Winter Olympic Games. The second section leading up to Les Glaciers was finished in 1927.  Both lift stations were abandoned in 1951 due to their diminished popularity following the opening of the Brevent Planpraz cable. Now hikers enjoy a good nose around this relic which still includes one of the original cable cars.

Who should go...

If you want to see some old mountain relics this is the perfect walk for you. Be warned that the path is narrow and can be slippery so is not ideal for toddlers / young children.

What to bring

 IGN3630 map is recommended

What to see

You'll see the abandoned mid station of Les Glaciers cable car, La Para which was completed in 1924 and closed in 1951. There are also fantastic views of the valley towards Les Houches and beyond.

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Where to lunch

If you aren't taking a pack lunch, there is a cheap mountain refuge close to the bottom of the walk called La Cascade du Dard.

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Directions

The walk starts at the current base station of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix Sud. Take the path to the left of the station (as you are facing it) and through the tunnel. Once you come out of the tunnel immediately to your right is a path that leads you past the car-park and along the road. Keep following signs for the Refuge La Cascades du Dard. The route leads through the forest, along the river which you eventually cross to reach the refuge. Here you can see the waterfalls which are at the side this little mountain eatery. It is definitely worth stopping here for a drink on your way back down. Prices are very reasonable compared to a lot of other mountain restaurants.

From the Cascardes, follow the path through the car-park and along the river into the forest. From here the path makes a fairly steep and windy assent on a narrow path that is often damp and slippery. Therefore, although you often see toddlers on this path in the height of summer, we would advise caution and check the weather conditions.

From the refugee it should take approximately 1hr to reach the La Para mid station.  

Also see: Maps of Chamonix, France


Location: Chamonix - Centre


Style

Level: Intermediate


Stats

Typical Duration: 2 hours

Descent

600m

Distance

4km

Highest Point

1600m

Vertical Gain

600m



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