This hike is a pleasant stroll through the bucolic high alpine meadows of Les Houches, making life easy by using the lift system at either end.
Stepping out of the Bellevue cable car, it becomes immediately obvious where the area gets its name from - glaciers rise above you to your left, meadows stretch out to your right and straight ahead lies the Col de Tricot and the neighbouring valley of Les Contamines.
To reach Prarion we turn right and head towards the Col de Voza on a dirt track that runs parallel to the old rail tracks. After a couple of hundred metres we cross the tracks and continue in the same direction, going down a rocky path lined with ferns and wildflowers until we come to the wide open plateau of Col de Voza.
This is one of the stops for the Tramway du Mont Blanc and is a beautiful scenic place to pause for a drink at Le Courant de l’Air, the charming little chalet-restaurant right beside the station.
Crossing the tram tracks, we pick up the Chemin du Delevret on the other side and start to climb gently uphill. The field on the left often has sheep and horses grazing in it. The route continues steadily but not steeply uphill, passing through grassy meadows lined with pine trees.
Les Houches is a little lower down than the other hiking areas in the Chamonix valley, so the vegetation seems to be a bit more lush and colourful. Spring is a riot of pink, blue and yellow wildflowers, in summer everything fades to mellow shades of mauve and purple, while autumn is a glorious palette of gold and bronze.
Looking overhead you’ll see the cables of ski lifts and most of the wider tracks are in fact ski runs in winter. There are many variations on this route, but Prarion is well-signposted so even if you deviate from the main route you’ll easily find your way back again.
The trail is almost at an end when you reach the Hotel-Restaurant Le Prarion; they have a sunny panoramic terrace which is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy a drink before you take the Prarion gondola back down to the town.
- Distance: 3km
- Highest Point: 1850m
- Vertical Gain: 230m