Guidebook

The Best Singletrack Mountain Bike Trails in Chamonix

Chamonix is loaded with steep, gnarly singletrack. Here's your guide to navigating this complex trail system.

Description

Chamonix is one of the most stunning mountain destinations on earth. The idyllic town center sits in the bottom of a narrow valley with mountains soaring straight up on all sides. The Mont Blanc massif forms one side of the Chamonix Valley, with the mountain slopes culminating in sheer rock cliffs covered in glaciers. Mont Blanc itself, visible from just about everywhere in the valley, rises to 4,809 meters above sea level—the highest peak in Western Europe.

This well-developed tourist destination serves every mountain sport, including mountain biking. You'll find tons of gnarly singletrack to ride here… but unlike most mountain destinations in the Alps, don't expect Chamonix to roll out the red carpet for you. While mountain bikes are legal on basically all of the trails, bikes are not allowed on the public bus system, aren't allowed on the cog railway, and most of the ski lifts ban mountain bikes for the majority of the summer. The Brevent lift is an exception that allows bikes after 4pm during the summer bike ban, and Les Houches does have a small bike park. In late August, most (but not all) of the lifts will lift the ban and start hauling bikes. But by that point, the season only lasts for a few short weeks before the lifts shut down in mid-September.

It feels like Chamonix is saying, "you mountain bikers are the new kids on the block—you should be grateful for whatever we give you." And in some ways, they're right: Chamonix's history as a mountaineering destination goes back hundreds of years, with the first ascent of the Mont Blanc recorded on August 8, 1786. Yeah, mountain bikes are pretty new on the scene.

Don't let the feeling of being a second-class citizen dissuade you from heading to Chamonix to mountain bike. Instead, use these tips to your advantage so you can optimize your visit. Travel to Chamonix in late August and early September when the crowds have thinned out and most of the lifts have opened to bikes.

If you do, you'll find a nearly endless web of steep, technical, challenging singletrack trails spread throughout the Chamonix valley… and really, connecting to the rest of Europe. Whether your goal is to rip technical enduro descents like Charlanon and Merlet, or you want to check off the epic multi-day Tour du Mont Blanc, Chamonix can provide as much challenge as you're ready for!

Petit Balcon Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Petit Balcon Loop

Chamonix
20.8 km
702 m
702 m
A classic loop around Chamonix that's approachable for intermediate riders.
Difficult
Private
Merlet Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Merlet Loop

Chamonix
11.8 km
645 m
644 m
An iconic Chamonix singletrack descent.
Severe
Private
Charlanon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Charlanon

Chamonix
6.6 km
58 m
1,015 m
Brevent’s only designated mountain bike trail, this enduro-style descent on fully natural singletrack is sure to test even the best riders.
Severe
Private
Posettes
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Posettes

Chamonix
5.6 km
211 m
666 m
Immaculate riding both above and below the tree line—a locals favourite.
Difficult
Private
Chalet de Loriaz
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Chalet de Loriaz

Chamonix
12.6 km
742 m
742 m
A punishing climb provides access to an incredible descent amid stunning alpine scenery.
Difficult
Private
Alpage Respect
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Alpage Respect

Chamonix
5.9 km
18 m
850 m
The primary downhill trail at Les Houches.
Difficult
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Chamonix to Champex
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tour du Mont Blanc: Chamonix to Champex

Chamonix
46.2 km
2,363 m
1,929 m
An easy tour through Chamonix valley, followed by two hard and long climbs to Lax des Champex.
Moderate
Private
Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Chamonix
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Chamonix

27.0 km
1,030 m
1,158 m
The shortest leg of the Tour du Mont Blanc along green forest trails.
Easy
Private
Buvette des Mottets
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Buvette des Mottets

Chamonix
9.4 km
688 m
676 m
A quick hit of singletrack gnar accessible directly from downtown Chamonix.
Severe
Private
Chamonix - Flatiere - Servoz - Lac Vert - Chamonix

Chamonix - Flatiere - Servoz - Lac Vert - Chamonix

Chamonix
41.3 km
1,646 m
1,645 m
An interesting loop with plenty of climbing and some great riding -- never too technical, but certainly not easy.
Difficult
Private
Christ-Roi Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Christ-Roi Loop

Chamonix
11.5 km
614 m
614 m
Mostly smooth, flowy singletrack trails rolling through deep forests.
Moderate
Private
Les Cerfs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Les Cerfs

Chamonix
2.4 km
0 m
364 m
Purpose-built jump/flow line beneath the lifts of Le Tour.
Difficult
Private