For anyone who loves the great outdoors, the French Alps need no introduction. Boasting some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe, the Alps grace its visitors with alpine grasslands, snow-capped peaks and world-class hiking.
The picturesque Lac Blanc is a must-see in the Chamonix Valley, offering exceptional views over the Mont Blanc Massif and the Aiguilles Rouges. Lac Blanc sits at 2352 metres above sea level, but this height barely compares to the surrounding summits and really puts the magnitude of this mountain range into perspective. It’s no surprise that the Lac Blanc hike is a favourite in the region.
While there are a few hiking routes that will take you to Lac Blanc, the most beautiful option (in my opinion) is the trail starting just outside of Argentière in Tré-le-Champ. This is the route I’ll be showcasing in this article. There’s extra legwork in getting to Lac Blanc this way, but the reward is a gorgeous hike with inspiring scenery away from the busy cable cars.
It’s a fairly diverse trail with lots of different terrain; you’ll walk on forest tracks, dirt, rocks and grass, and will also need to climb up/down fixed ladders. The trail up to the lake is also quite steep. All in all, this hike will require good fitness, a bit of a head for heights, and sturdy hiking boots.
Lac Blanc Hike from Argentière: Map & Logistics
Set in the heart of the Aiguilles Rouges, this beautiful Lac Blanc hike promises extraordinary alpine scenery. It passes highlights such as the Aiguillette d’Argentière, the Lacs des Cheserys, and of course, Lac Blanc itself.
Start/Finish: Just outside of Argentière in Tré-le-Champ. You can park here for free right at the start of the trail.
How to get there: Tré-le-Champ is a 15-20 minute drive from Chamonix. Alternatively, you can take the TER bus from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Montroc le Planet and then walk 15 minutes to the start of the trail.
Distance: 7 miles.
Time: 5 – 6 hours.
Difficulty: Challenging; there are lots of steep sections and you will also need to climb up ladders that are fixed to the side of the mountain. Sure-footedness and sturdy footwear are essential.
Lac Blanc from Argentière: Hiking Guide & Details
This Lac Blanc hike begins at Tré-le-Champ, which is just outside the laid-back village of Argentière. There is a conveniently-located car park right by the trail which is free to use.
The trail begins by climbing at a slight incline through a lightly forested section, where you’ll see the mountains opposite just peeking through the trees. After you’ve ascended out of the forested section, the scenery of the Mont Blanc Massif will really come into its own, with Mont Blanc itself just peeking out above its neighbouring peaks.
After a succession of switchbacks, you’ll pass by the Aiguillette d’Argentière, a striking rock formation that acts as a playground for climbers.
After some time, you’ll encounter the first ladder. It’s attached to the side of the mountain face and you’ll need to climb it to reach the next part of the trail. There are a few of these ladders on the hike up to Lac Blanc, but they’re sturdy and well-maintained.
The French Alps are home to a variety of wildlife, including chamois, ibex, mouflon, golden eagles, bearded vultures and marmots. Wolves are also established in the area and there have even been sightings of lynx. Look out for alpine ibex, in particular, as they’re commonly sighted on this hike.
The next couple of hours will be spent walking at an incline up towards the lakes. It’s quite steep in places, so take your time. With great views across the mountains, you are rewarded with stunning scenery all the way.
Keep following the signposts for Lac Blanc and you’ll eventually reach the first of the Lacs des Cheserys. These are a collection of little lakes just below Lac Blanc. They’re much less popular than their famous neighbour, but are also very beautiful and usually have fewer crowds.
Lac Blanc is just a little higher up from this first Lacs des Cheserys. Once you arrive, you can rest at the Lac Blanc Refuge right by the lake, which is a popular overnight stop for hikers tackling the Tour du Mont Blanc. The views from the refuge and the lake itself are sublime, with Mont Blanc and Aiguille du Midi clearly visible in the skyline.
Once you’ve had your fill at Lac Blanc, follow the trail back past the Lacs des Cheserys you saw earlier and round via more of the Lacs des Cheserys.
Alternative Routes to Lac Blanc
There are a number of hiking routes that will take you to Lac Blanc, with alternative trails starting from La Flégère and Col des Montets.
La Flégère: The trail from La Flégère is the easiest and most popular option. You’ll take the cable car from the village of Les Praz up to La Flégère, from where it takes about an hour and a half to get to Lac Blanc.
Col des Montets: The trail to Lac Blanc from Col des Montets is a great option and should take about 3 – 4 hours. You’ll start by taking the footpath behind the Nature Reserve’s chalet, which you’ll follow steeply up past La Remuaz, Lac de la Remuaz, Lacs des Cheserys and finally, to Lac Blanc.
Thank you for reading!
If you found this post useful, I'd be grateful if you would consider using the affiliate links below when planning your travels. I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This will help me to keep this blog running . Thanks for your support - Lauren.
Hotels - Booking.com
Hostels - Hostelworld
Cheap flights - Skyscanner
Travel insurance - World Nomads
Outdoor gear - Decathlon / GO Outdoors
Cycling gear - Chain Reaction Cycles
Alternatively, you could buy me a coffee to say thanks!