The 9 most beautiful hikes in the Belledonne range

Le Lac de Crop

Are you drawn to wild, unspoilt landscapes? Come and discover your new playground away from the crowds: the discreet and mysterious Belledonne massif.

From Grenoble to Chambéry, the Belledonne mountain range boasts over 60 kilometers of snow-capped peaks and a wilderness ideal for hiking. A spa destination, the massif is also synonymous with well-being for body and mind.

However, this high place of peace and contemplation represents an impassable barrier to human activity. In fact, it’s one of the few mountains not yet crossed by a road pass.

As you can see, only hikers and spa visitors venture onto the massif in search of breathtaking panoramas and an intimacy rarely found on the trails.

With natural treasures hidden all over the massif, we’re unveiling 9 exceptional routes to discover the different facets of the Belledonne range.

1. Lac du Crozet

randonnees Chaîne de Belledonne lac

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Distance: 9.8 km
  • Difference in altitude: 689 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • See the route

Looking for a family hike with the most breathtaking panoramas? This trail takes you to the Lac d’altitude du Crozet, perched on a cliffside in a mineral landscape. Like an infinity pool, the turquoise-blue water directly overlooks the Grésivaudan valley.

From the top, a magnificent view of the Chartreuse massif and the Col de la Pra awaits you. And while the hike is done on foot in summer, the area is ideal for ski touring and snowshoeing in winter. Accessible to all, young and old alike won’t want to miss out on such a beautiful sight.

2. Refuge Combe Madame and Cascade du Pissou

La cascade du Pissou

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Pierre Hardy

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Distance: 9.7 km
  • Ascent: 816 m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • See the route

In the heart of the Massif de Belledonne, the trail takes you to the Combe Madame refuge. Nestled at an altitude of 1,784 metres, this solitary dwelling, home to some of the world’s greatest mountain adventurers, is surrounded by peaks. The panorama alone is worth the detour!

As you continue your ascent, you’ll also catch a glimpse of magnificent lakes and the famous Pissou waterfall: it’s a sight to behold! Easy and accessible to all, this superb walk takes place on a totally shaded path, ideal for escaping the summer heat and making the ascent in peace and quiet.

Allow between 3 and 5 hours for this hike, which is a must for nature lovers!

3. Lake Crop

Le Lac de Crop

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2h30
  • Distance: 8.2 km
  • Height difference: 664 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Now let’s discover a great Belledonne classic: the Lac de Crop hike. Leading you to a superb lake, this out-and-back hike offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Chartreuse and Ferrouillet mountains. The arrival at the lake is incredible, and the climb takes you up to different waterfall views.

To ease your ascent, much of the trail is in the shade, which is very welcome during the summer months! From the Pont de Betta, this hike is a pleasant way to discover the beauty of the Belledonne mountain range.

4. La Boucle du Grand Chat

La Boucle du Grand Chat

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 9.7 km
  • Ascent: 541 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

In the grandiose panoramas of the Belledonne mountain range, the Grand Chat loop is not to be missed. This hike offers superb 360° views of the Chartreuse, Belledonne, Bauges and Mont-Blanc.

The trail starts off on a small forest road and then takes you over magnificent ridges. From here, you can take in an impressive, almost unreal view of the surrounding massifs. And you won’t get lost on this perfectly signposted trail, which may be a bit strenuous, but is accessible to all.

5. The Plagnes loop

La Boucle des Plagnes

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2h15
  • Distance: 7.9 km
  • Height difference: 522 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Head for the Belledonne mountain pastures to reach the Boucle des Plagnes. The trail first takes you to the Col de Claran and its superb viewpoint indicator, before reaching a ridge bordered by alpine meadows.

From here, you can enjoy magnificent panoramic views over the Bauges and Chartreuse regions to Mont-Blanc and Mont-Aiguille. Well-marked and easy to get to, this is the ideal hike for discovering the Belledonne chain via the ridges.

6. Lake Belledonne

Le Lac de Belledonne randonnees

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 11.9 km
  • Ascent: 933 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Join us at Lac de Belledonne for a superb hike with a beautiful view of the whole massif. Starting from Coteyssard, the circuit takes you to the lake along a wild, unspoilt trail.

The finish is grandiose, with a superb panorama of La Croix de Belledonne, Les Sept Laux and the Grandes Rousses and Rissiou massifs. Although the lake is reputed to be « small », its size contrasts with the immensity of the surrounding walls.

And to add even more magic: take this trail in spring to observe the lake around its surrounding snowcaps.

7. Le Crêt du Poulet

Le Crêt du Poulet

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2 hours
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Height difference: 343 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Between forests and meadows, this hike offers magnificent panoramic views right in the heart of the Massif de Belledonne. The route takes you through the mountain’s alpine pastures, allowing you to see it in a new light and appreciate its many facets.

The trail takes you to the Crêt du Poulet, before returning via the ridges with a 360° panorama of the Grande Chartreuse Massif on one side and the Vanoise on the other.

Ideal for the whole family, it’s a pleasant and easy walk for children. It’s also possible to refresh yourself directly at the refuge, which you’ll cross on the way. We love this hike for discovering the magnificent mountain pastures of the Belledonne range.

8. The Refuge de l’Oule and Chalet du Bout circuit

Le Circuit du Refuge de l’Oule et Chalet du Bout

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 10.6 km
  • Ascent: 1,061 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

If you’d like to spend a day discovering the Belledonne massif, this superb loop will give you access to sublime landscapes of the region. The hike starts with a fairly steep climb, offering superb panoramic views of the Chartreuse and Bauges mountains.

We’ll have to continue climbing for a while before finally reaching the Oule refuge, an excellent stopover for alpine hikers. It’s also the perfect place to stop for a refreshing bite to eat before heading back up the mountain. The landscape then changes, becoming more mineral and less green: the high mountains are just around the corner.

At the finish, you’ll enjoy a magnificent view over the Bréda and Gleyzin valleys. You’ll then have to take a wooded path to reach the Chalet du Bout and the end of the route. This magnificent loop offers a wide variety of landscapes, allowing you to enjoy some of the most beautiful trails in the Belledonne.

9. Lac Achard and La Croix de Chamrousse

randonnees-chaine-belledonne

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 10.8 km
  • Difference in altitude: 608 m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • See the route

Let’s up the ante a little for this last hike. More athletic, it takes you through the woods before reaching Lac Achard, a place of calm and contemplation. From this vantage point, you’ll climb from pass to pass, each one more grandiose than the last.

Between Col de l’Infernet, Col de la Botte and Col des Trois Fontaines, you’ll criss-cross the 2,000-meter-high landscape of the high mountains. After this journey, you’ll finally reach Lacs Robert and La Croix de Chamrousse.

While some passages, such as the brèche, may seem rather technical, in reality they are not fundamentally difficult. But above all, this exceptional high-mountain panorama is well worth the effort!