4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
This out and back route runs straight from street level of the Val d'Isere resort to the remote, barren Col de la Madeleine via the hidden gem of Lac d'Ouillette. Start at the Office du Tourisme and weave through the streets until you reach the open area around the lifts.
The trail initially follows a steep uphill forest path that turns into a ski slope towards Tête du Solaise and the top of the Solaise Express cable car. Take frequent opportunities to look back down towards the village below as you climb, not just to take a breather but also to admire your incredible birds-eye view across the valley. After the climb, the picturesque Lac de l'Ouillette unfolds in front of you.
This picture-perfect spot at 2,500m is surrounded by alpine flora and fauna and stunning panoramic views.
Unless you hike up here, you’d never know that this little gem is here—it’s completely hidden from view of the resort below.
If you want to cut out some of the climb, you can take the Solaise Express up to the lake. A mandatory trip around around the lake provides a restful, flat walk in peace and tranquility, with a small smattering of fishermen enjoying this superb trout fishing spot.
The lake provides a perfect spot for a family lunch around a picnic table or on the terrace of the restaurant, for a relaxing and revitalising mountain experience.
The “turnaround" could be made at this point to avoid the continuation to Col de la Madeleine.
See below for the return. Continuing on from the lake, head upwards and away from the resort below and towards the Col de la Madeleine.
The green lushness of the pastures and forest soon disappear.
The climb is somewhat strenuous and rough, going over the high alpine, rocky terrain.
Along the ridge towards the Col the pastures return, and you can enjoy incredible 360-degree views.
The top of the Col is a perfect, quiet spot to stop for a packed lunch picnic. To return, either reverse the entire route or return to the Solaise Express for a hike-free descent to Val d'Isere.
As of 2019, the lift is free.