FATMAP difficulty grade
If you’re looking for a mellow pedal in the Chamonix Valley that avoids as much road traffic as possible, you’ve come to the right place! The route mapped here runs up and down the Chamonix Valley and follows smooth gravel roads as much as possible.
Of course, like all bike routes in Chamonix, there are endless ways to vary the route.
Some of the best variants will be explained below. In general, this gravel ride is easily navigable on a gravel road bike.
Some intrepid riders may be able to tackle this route on a skinny-tired road bike, although it isn’t recommended.
If you’re on a mountain bike or an eMTB, you’ll be able to conquer all of the terrain under your tires with ease! As mapped here, the route follows a wide gravel path north from Les Houches, meandering along the banks of the river until it nears Chamonix.
Through Chamonix, the route winds along back roads, before accessing more non-motorized gravel paths along the river. Heading north from Cham, the route runs through Les Praz before heading deeper into the woods.
This section of the route provides the wildest feeling as you pedal through a deep forest along a dark dirt path.
You'll encounter some of the steepest grades here as well as the trail pitches up, climbing toward Argentiere. Once you reach Argentiere, you have two options.
One, return to Les Houches the way you came.
Or two, hop onto the pavement for a bit and then pick up some gravel roads on the other side of the valley—the route mapped here).
If you opt for the new terrain, you’ll encounter a few steeper and rougher hills than you have so far on this ride.
However, you'll get to enjoy another section of beautiful forest! Once back into Chamonix, the route rejoins the original gravel path along the river to return to Les Houches. For the easiest option possible, pedal from Les Houches, through Chamonix and Les Praz, and continue until you feel the route has turned too rough.
At that point, turn around and head back.
These initial sections are the smoothest and easiest. However you choose to slice and dice this route, this pedal through the valley will afford you beautiful views of the rushing river, the mountains all around you, and blissful serenity deep in the forest.