Winter hiking in Les Menuires: our guide
Winter hiking is a dream come true for many visitors: this outdoor activity allows you to trek across completely white landscapes, walking in the mountainous terrain and powder snow. In Les Menuires, you will find a multitude of walks and hikes of all levels to discover the region with your family. Reconnect with nature thanks to the signposted routes, footpaths and snowshoe hikes. So which winter hike to choose and what equipment to bring? Discover our complete guide!
Which winter hike in Les Menuires for your level?
The Sentier Bernadette trail, which starts from the Brelin area, is ideal for an introduction to winter walking. It allows you to discover Les Menuires from higher up, while walking on a gentle and sunny slope. At the end of this walk, you will arrive at a locality called La Roche where some other smaller mountains are located.
For winter hiking, there are many routes that are accessible to the whole family and have low altitude differences. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the following winter hikes:
- Au fil du Doron trail: This hiking route runs along the bottom of the valley (more precisely along the Doron stream) in a landscape that varies between wooded areas and a snowy basin. This winter hiking trail is shared by pedestrians and cross-country skiers.
- Plan de l’eauCircuit: This hike is a very pleasant loop with which has few differences in altitude. You will also have to share the path with cross-country skiers.
- Découverte des villages(“Exploring the villages”): With this winter hike in Les Menuires, follow the old path which started from Saint-Martin-de-Belleville before the construction of the main road.
- Lac du Lou in winter: This snowshoe hike allows you to discover the largest and most beautiful lake in the Belleville valley. Enjoy a well-deserved rest and a good hot drink at the Lac du Lou refuge before starting your descent.
For the hikes Au fil du Duron and Découverte des villages, you can take the paths on foot and return with free shuttles (but be sure to check the timetable).
Some of the most beautiful hikes in Les Menuires have to be earned! If you are already a good hiker and you want to discover exceptional panoramas while doing some physical activity, choose one of the winter hikes below:
- Le Châtelard – Téton: Among the more difficult snowshoe hikes, this one will take you to the hamlet of Téton. Enjoy a magnificent view of the lower valley and the hamlet of La Gittaz.
- Sentier de Villarenger: This winter hike connects Le Châtelard to Villarenger, allowing you to admire the Roman bridge and the cup and ring marked stones (Neolithic period).
- Sentier des Choumes: Up on the plateau, you will have a panoramic view of the Belleville valley. You can access this path from Les Menuires via the Bernadette path, then the Girauds trail.
- Sentier des Girauds: Finally, get off the beaten track to discover the wide sunny plateaus of Les Menuires with the Sentier des Girauds trail. Be careful though, as this winter hike includes steep slopes with up to 25% gradient in some areas.
Winter hiking: what equipment do you need?
For winter hiking as well as for skiing, mountaineering or uphill skiing, you need the right clothing to protect you from the cold. The 3-layer system is based on more insulating and long-sleeved clothing in the first layer to try to maintain a constant body temperature. For example, merino wool is a waterproof and breathable material with excellent thermoregulation capabilities. It is also a good idea to carry an extra jacket and windbreaker in your backpack.
Make sure you have snow trousers, waterproof overtrousers and some long underwear. For winter hiking boots, choose warm, waterproof ones such as moon boots with thick socks. A pair of gloves, a hat and a neck warmer or balaclava are also essential to protect from the wind.
Winter hiking in the Southern Alps or any other mountain range requires adequate safety equipment as the weather conditions can be tricky and can change in an instant. A pair of snowshoes or touring skis are essential when winter hiking in Les Menuires to avoid getting stuck in the powder snow. A pair of poles equipped with snow washers (in the shape of a snowflake) is a useful walking aid.
You can also take a small sled for fun on the way down or to sit in the snow without getting your butt wet. A thermos will keep you warm at all times and a survival blanket is essential to keep you warm if you have a problem or an accident requiring rescue.