Lac Blanc is one of those places you see on a postcard, and eternally wonder where it is and how to visit it…
It’s surrounded by mountains, so it must be hard to reach?
It’s beautiful, so it must be absolutely heaving with people.
Well, dear blog readers, both of those are wrong!
With just a short walk you can reach what is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the Alps and definitely one of the most famous alpine summer routes.
I advise initially getting the cable car up to La Flégère as it’s a very steep climb up otherwise. A lot of the walks around Chamonix begin from the mid stations for this reason. From Les Praz village, the cable car takes you to the La Flégère site at an altitude of 1,877m.
From La Flégère you have two options:
1. Walk up to Lac Blanc on the path to the right, over the ski runs.
2. Get the Index chairlift to an altitude of 2,595m and traverse the side of the mountains before dropping down on to Lac Blanc.
I did the second, but be aware that whilst it is only a 1hr15 (ish) walk, this route ascends and descends frequently and involves clambering up and over rocks in places. There’s also a lot of loose scree, so exercise caution with excitable children (or adults!). Be aware of weather conditions, even in summer, as it’s around the same height as the lake and can have hard packed snow (névé) in the couloirs.
When you reach the top of the Index lift, the path is clearly marked, and you’re rewarded with some of the most spectacular views across the valley to Mont Blanc.
The path, like most of the classic grande randonnée major hikes, is well marked and very easy to follow, but it’s always worth taking a map or guide. The Cicerone Mont Blanc Walks book is great and also gives you options for linking this walk with others.
The views for the entirety were just incredible, and I was fortunate enough to see a fairly tame Chamois as well.
Perhaps as this path was definitely the quieter of the 2 routes to Lac Blanc on the day I chose.After around 1hr 20 walking you meet the path which heads up from La Flégère. This path is a straightforward walk with a climb of approx 500m, and is the route I used to descend.
A short 5 minute climb and you’ve reached Lac Blanc, and are greeted with (weather dependent) some of the most wonderful views in the valley! There is a refuge at the lake if you want to buy drinks or snacks, but as with anything, be prepared for it to be closed and make sure you have water with you at the very least.
There is no shade above the mid station as well, and the heat can be strong, as I discovered, so frequently reapply sun cream…
To descend, I used the well marked route over the ski pistes, down to La Flégère. This path was busy in both directions, and for this reason I wasn’t a huge fan, and was glad to have walked up on the quieter route – think Snowdon Pyg Track in summer…
That being said, the views were still brilliant and it was an enjoyable walk!
If you take the lifts it can get expensive very quickly, so I would 100% recommend getting the Mont Blanc Multipass if you’re in Chamonix for a few days. You will save so much doing it this way, especially if you also want to head up to the Aiguille du Midi.
Family pass: 54.30 € (2 adults + 2 children & 3rd, 4th and 5th of the same family are free)
Round-trip ticket for adult: 17.50 €
Round-trip ticket for a child (5-14 years): 14.90 €.
Free entry for children < 5 years.
- This is definitely a summer walk, and not advisable in snowy conditions (yes, even in summer there can be snow)
- Try to visit on a weekday, as the weekends can be very busy.
- If I walked it again, I would head back over to L’Index for the descent, as the route was more interesting and there were fewer people. You could also link it up with the route that connects to the Grand Balcon Sud.
- Allow around 4 hours in total for the walk and a stop at Lac Blanc, though spend as long as you like there, obviously!