Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix Hike

Chamonix in Summer

The Grand Balcon Sud in Chamonix is a hiking trail which goes above the western side of the valley at an altitude of around 2000m. Hiking the Grand Balcon Sud between the cable car stations of La Flégère and Planpraz is a moderate half day hike (one way about 6km) which offers stunning, unobstructed views of the Mont Blanc range and overlooks the valley throughout the way.

Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix

Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix Hike

The Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix hiking trail is relatively flat for most of the way except for a steep uphill climb to Planpraz. There are more technical parts that require going down steep stairs with uneven steps, going along narrow trails with steep drops and clambouring over rocky paths.

Charlanon meadow Chamonix

The estimated time for hiking between La Flégère and Planpraz is 2 to 3 hours. Remember to bring a hat, sun protection and plenty of water since you will only be walking through a forest at the beginning for a short time and then there is no shade for the rest of the hike.

For more hiking inspiration, have a look at my post on Family Hikes in the French Alps, which includes other family-friendly hiking trails in Chamonix as well as Morzine.

Starting Point: Télécabine de La Flégère

You can start this hike from either Planpraz or La Flégère, however, La Flégère makes a good starting point because the hiking trail heading towards Planpraz faces the Mont Blanc mountain range the whole way. Find the latest information on weather, pricing and timetables for La Flégère telecabin on the Mont Blanc Natural Resort website.

La Flegere gondola ride Chamonix

Since this hike is one way, the best option is use the Chamonix bus system which runs up and down the valley for getting to your starting point and then to your destination after the hike. The bus stop for La Flegere is Les Praz / Flégère, while the bus stop for Planpraz is Le Brévent.

Gondola ride to La Flegere Chamonix

Below is a map showing the Grand Balcon Sud, where you can see the trail between Planpraz (where the “You are Here” pin is pointing) and La Flégère towards the righthand side of the map. Click the map for a larger image.

Grand Balcon Sud hiking trails

After taking the telecabin to La Flégère (alt 1877 m) and soaking up the mountain views, look for a signpost for the various hiking trails that start from this location. Follow the sign to Planpraz (2 hours). The hiking trail begins along a path heading into a forest, and the halfway point of the hike is La Charlanon, about one hour from La Flégère.

Hikes from La Flegere Chamonix

Summer hiking in Chamonix

As you start making your way into the forest, you’ll capture wonderful views of the Mont Blanc mountain range peeking through the pine trees. My son loved picking blueberries from the bushes that line this part of the Grand Balcon Sud.

Hiking from La Flegere Chamonix

Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix hike

The trail then continues down steep steps and along rocky paths with steep drops, which are the more technical parts of the hike.

Steep steps Chamonix hike

Hiking in Chamonix with Kids

Summer hikes in Chamonix

Halfway Point: La Charlanon

The halfway point of the hike is the wildflower meadow of La Charlanon, which is also a lovely spot to take a break for a picnic.

La Charlanon meadow Chamonix

La Charlanon Chamonix

From there, the rest of the Grand Balcon Sud hike continues through what during the winter are ski runs before heading uphill to Plan Praz.

Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix

Family Hikes Alps

End Point: Planpraz

Finish the hike with a meal at the terrace of La Bergerie de Plan Praz or Restaurant Altitude 2000, enjoying the views and watching the paragliders take off (see video clip below), or take the cable car to the top of Le Brévent for panoramic views of the Chamonix valley.

Alps summer hike

Restaurant Altitude 2000 Chamonix

Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix Hike Map

French Alps with Kids Guide

I hope you found some inspiration and ideas from our list of family hikes in the French Alps. Hiking is one of the top things to do with kids when staying in Chamonix or Morzine, and there are plenty of options around these areas to enjoy outdoor adventures in the mountains.

Read on for more tips and reviews for planning a family summer trip to the Alps;

Europe Road Trips with Kids

Hiking in the French Alps with Kids

Guide to Visiting Morzine in Summer

Guide to Visiting Chamonix in Summer

Parc de Merlet, Les Houches in the French Alps

La Bourgeoise Samoëns Hike, French Alps

Hike to Lago d’Arpy, Aosta Valley, Italy with Kids

Pin for Later – Family Hike at Grand Balcon Sud Chamonix

Grand Balcon Sud Hike Chamonix