Snowshoeing itineraries on the Glières plateau

Nov 5, 2021
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Snowshoeing itineraries on the Glières plateau

The situation of the Plateau des Glières and its history

The Plateau des Glières is located at an altitude of 1440 meters, in the heart of the massif des Bornes, and about thirty kilometers from Annecy. 

This site is notably known as a major site of the French resistance during the Second World War. During the winter of 1944, more than 500 maquisards, under the orders of Lieutenant Tom Morel and then Captain Anjot, gathered on the Plateau, with the aim of receiving the parachute drops of weapons sent by the Allies. Despite their courage and their will to fight the German army, the resistance fighters were unfortunately forced to "drop out" on March 26, 1944. Nevertheless, the maquis was reconstituted at the Plateau des Glières and a new massive parachute drop on August 1, 1944 allowed the resistance fighters to liberate Haute-Savoie on August 19, 1944, even before the arrival of the Allied troops.

In 1973, the artist Emile Gilioli created the National Monument of the Resistance, which is a symbol of resistance and hope to pay tribute to the fighters.

In addition to being a symbolic place, the Plateau des Glières is also classified Natura 2000 and Sensitive Natural Area, and shelters a remarkable fauna and flora: cracked limestone areas (lapiaz), a very present flora in the various forest, rocky and meadows environments, as well as several mammals such as deer, ibex, chamois and hares. There are even traces of the presence of wolves and European lynx. 

In all seasons, the Plateau des Glières is an authentic natural site where various outdoor activities are accessible to the greatest number.

In summer, hikers are delighted with the many hiking trails, mountain bikers have dedicated trails, climbers can meet at the Ablon site and it is even possible to go caving at the Diau cave!

During the winter season, the Plateau covers its snowy coat and is transformed into a beautiful Nordic domain, offering a multitude of Nordic activities: 30 km of cross-country and skating ski trails accessible to all levels, 17 km of marked itineraries for beautiful snowshoe hikes in the middle of nature, dog sledding trips and even sledding slopes for children and snow sculptures!

In this blog post, we would like to share with you some suggestions for snowshoeing trips starting from the plateau! 

Preparation, safety and equipment

Snowshoeing is for all those who want to enjoy the snow without skiing and for all those who love wide open spaces far from the ski lifts. This activity is for everyone, from beginners to advanced. 

For a successful snowshoeing trip, we invite you to read our blog article dedicated to this subject: Enjoy this winter to discover snowshoeing around Annecy

Our selection of snowshoeing itineraries starting from the Glières plateau

Easy itineraries to discover with your family

1 - Loop via the plan des Mouilles (Dist: 3,7km / D+: 150m / D-: 150m / 1h30 to 2h walk)

This is a nice loop between forest and mountain pastures. From the cross-country skiing center, head south-east towards the Auges mountain via the summer path to reach the Plan des Mouilles at 1544m. Be careful when crossing the cross-country ski trails to make sure the field is clear. At the plan des mouilles, the view opens up on the Frêtes mountain, the three heads and the Parmelan to the West. Join the chalet of the mouilles to the North-West and go down via the path to Paccot. You can then take the groomed pedestrian trail to reach the cross-country skiing center.

2 - Loop via the plain of Dran (Dist: 5,8km / D+: 230m / D-: 230m / 2h30 to 3h walk)

From "Chez Gautard" (paying parking lot, except if you eat in the restaurant), cross the cross-country ski track and take the direction of the chalet des mouilles. The beginning of the route is uphill through the mountain pastures. Once at the chalet des mouilles, reach the plan des mouilles and the point at 1544m of altitude, the highest point of the Nordic domain of the plateau. Continue to climb via the path that goes on your right in the forest. This one leads to a mountain pasture at the foot of the Ovine peak. Continue in a south-easterly direction to reach the Dran plain and the Nôtre Dame des Neiges lodge. You can then take the groomed trail towards "Chez Gautard" to complete the loop.

Itineraries for the more athletic

3 - La montagne des Auges (Dist: 7,4km / D+: 460m / D-: 460m / 3h to 4h walking)

From the cross-country skiing center of the plateau, head south-southeast towards the chalet des Auges. Following the summer path you reach the plan des mouilles, then the ascent zigzags through the forest before reaching the plan du loup at the foot of the pointe de Puvat. Continue to the South-East, in the direction of the pas du loup, where the climb becomes steeper again. Then little by little the slope softens, the magnificent panorama reveals itself on the Aravis chain and the Mont-Blanc. Continue to advance on the mountain of the Auges to reach the chalets of the Auges. The return is done by the same way of ascent.

4 - Tour of the Frêtes mountain (Dist: 16,5km / D+: 735m / D-: 735m / 6h to 7h walking)

This is a relatively long itinerary, to be undertaken if you are in good physical shape, if you know how to orientate yourself in the snow and if you know how to evaluate the risks of avalanche. The time of the route can be lengthened according to the snow conditions encountered. From the col des Glières take the direction of the dairy field to the north. The first climb is steep. Cross the Frêtes mountain following the summer markers. Be careful not to leave the path on the Frêtes mountain because you cross a lapiaz zone. When you arrive at the dairy field, go to the chalet du plan and then follow the mountain of sous-dine in the direction of the col de l'ébat. (Don't get too close to the cliffs because the risk of avalanche can be high depending on the snow conditions). At the col de l'ébat take the descent towards the chalets of Tinnaz then go up to the col de Spée. Go down in the "creux des Sarrazins" which is a very pretty combe and pass in front of the refuge of Spée. Follow the signs "maison du plateau" and take the path that goes to the west. Pass the chalet of Fréchet and then follow the cross-country ski track to "Chez Constance". Follow the footpath to the Glières pass.

Discover our snowshoe outings on the Glières plateau with a mountain guide from the Annecy guide bureau:

The advantages of professional supervision

At the Annecy Guide Bureau, snowshoeing outings are supervised by state-qualified mountain guides who are mountain professionals. 

They know the mountain perfectly and will guide you safely on unmarked itineraries, most often off the beaten track. On each outing you will be provided with quality equipment (snowshoes, sticks, headlamps depending on the outing). Depending on the chosen formula (private or group) you will spend a great moment of conviviality on the most beautiful snowshoe sectors of the Glières plateau. The snowshoeing trip will be an opportunity to learn many things about the mountains that surround you, about the fauna that survives the winter in this hostile environment. You will be relentless in identifying the tracks left in the snow.

Equipment rental

To rent snowshoes, you can get your equipment at the store La Location des Glières located next to the cross-country ski center.

Phone number : 04 50 22 44 81

The store is open all season long, 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, from the opening date of the domain to its closing date.

Attention: No more equipment rental after 3pm!

A valid ID is required for your first rental.

Lodging on the Glières plateau

After a good snowshoeing outing in the fresh air, there's nothing better than to take a gourmet and comforting break in one of the mountain huts and restaurants of the Plateau des Glières. Don't miss a typical Savoyard meal, such as fondue, potato fritters or tartiflette! The main cheeses - reblochon, tomme, abondance - come from local farmers, who during the summer season graze their herds in the large meadows of the Plateau!

We particularly recommend these 3 addresses (gîtes and inns), all ideally located and easy to access: 

Chez Constance: an institution since 1974, founded by Constance and her husband. You will enjoy the delicious Savoyard specialties, comfortably installed in this old mountain chalet. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed! Open all year round, on reservation. More info here

For the anecdote, the main character of the song " la Dame de Haute-Savoie " of Francis Cabrel would be inspired by Constance, the restaurant owner of the chalet of the same name ! 

Notre dame des neiges : local cheese specialties, homemade desserts, pancakes... for a gourmet break, in a typical mountain chalet, with a warm and comforting atmosphere ! Accessible on foot, on reservation. More info here

Auberge des Glières : much more than a simple inn, a real experience in a unique place, offering different services: a hotel with a capacity of 17 rooms, a bistronomic restaurant with authentic, traditional, revisited and sophisticated flavors. Not to mention the Edelweiss Spa with its treatments and massages, swimming pool, sauna, hammam, whirlpool, relaxation area, fitness... All the information on the website

How to get there

By car:

The access to the Plateau des Glières is possible from 2 different routes: 

Via Thorens-Glières : distance: 15 km
Via Petit-Bornand (on the Aravis side) : distance: 6 km
Be careful, the road on the plateau is not practicable between these two accesses in winter because it gives way to cross-country ski tracks.

Important : During winter, special equipment is mandatory, chains or snow tires. More information on the road conditions. 

A large free parking lot is located at the end of the passable road.

By bus:

During the winter season, it is also possible to take the bus from the bus station in Annecy. Shuttles run every day during the school vacations. Outside of the school vacations, the bus line runs every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (including public holidays). 

Author : Lauris Chaumond & Margot Veillet

Photos : Lauris Chaumond

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