Step 1: Get from the Aix-les-Bains train station to Mouxy. You’ll want to end up at the intersection of Route de l’Église and Route du Revard.
Step 2: You will see a small shopping center (pharmacy, bakery, etc.) across the street from a church. Look for the set of yellow signs, and follow the one that says “Le Revard.”
Step 3: Follow the signs and blazes. Most of the trail is fool-proof because it follows the footprint of a defunct cog railway (crémaillère) that used to run up the mountain. There are little historical panels along the way, and you can see remnants of the track and crumbling ruins of its stations. A few spots might give you pause: a couple of apparent intersections with a separate hunting trail, and a couple tricky stretches where you don’t get the reassurance of a blaze for a while.
Step 4: For an amazing view, follow the signage at the end (last kilometer or two) for the “Belvédère” (that’s “viewpoint” en anglais…) There are several alternative ways to get there, especially because many people drive or walk from campgrounds. You should be OK if you keep heading toward the highest near summit (once you have an opening in the trees you’ll see that there are impressive peaks in every direction).
Step 5: On a clear day, 15,781-foot (4,810-meter) Mont Blanc in all of its ice-cream-like glory will stun you. Various other peaks surround and Lac du Bourget lies below. There is an unsightly parking lot, ski lift (though the latter actually provides for a more open view), and some viewing ramps with clear bottoms so that you can lean out into the panorama. The geography of the area is clearly labeled on a number of displays. All of this is kind of disruptive, but on the other hand the views are stunning and the information is handy.
If you don’t have a car but want to enjoy the area and a relatively sporty day hike without too much transportation hassle, I highly recommend.
Actual height at the Belvédère du Mont Revard: 1538 meters/5045 feet.
Time required: The signage estimates that the hike up will take about four and a half hours. I hike pretty quickly and it took me about three and a half, plus half an hour to get from Aix-les-Bains train station to the start of the trail. The descent took me much less time but I wasn’t paying much attention because I wasn’t worried about losing the light (two and a half hours all-included would be my best guess). I started out around 8-8:30am and was back at the station by about 3:30pm, with about forty-five minutes or so spent drooling over the scenery and resting at the top.
Level of difficulty: The hike is a good workout but not difficult – it climbs consistently throughout but there is no scrambling required. One challenge is that the path is covered in loose, unevenly cut large-piece gravel. Each stone is about the size of a fist and it makes for unsure footing and slippage, plus is not so easy on the knees and hips.
Trail details: Most of the hike is in the woods, with a few peeks at Lac du Bourget along the way. Though there are stretches lacking variety, it’s a pretty trek and the railroad element adds a few points of interest.
Note that there are a couple of tunnels along the path, including one that is 150m long – you may want to bring a flashlight or flashlight phone app along if you don’t want to eat cut rock.
Transportation: Coming from Lyon, Aix-les-Bains is only about an hour and a half away by train (around 20 euro each way). It’s also a quick dash from Chambery and Grenoble.
A few enticing views:
5 Comments Add yours
Thank you so much for such detailed description. I just tried this trail, it was so amazing! The information how to get from the Aix-les-Bains train station to the starting point of the trail was very useful. In terms of time it took me about three and a half too. But in general, it may be not easy if someone is not physically prepared for this kind of trails.Thank you so much again!
This message made my day – I’m so glad you enjoyed the trail and found this post helpful Elena!
And yeah I think it’s helpful that the trail itself labels the walk “four and a half hours” – that hopefully gives people who hike less often or a bit slower a good idea of how long it might take!
A little late to the party here, but I’m interested in doing this hike later this week. Is there a map to be found anywhere that one can have just in case? Also, is it possible to cut this one short if need be or is it out and back?
Hey Lucy – it’s been a while since I’ve done this one, alas, so not sure about cutting it short or different route alternatives. I imagine there are lots of different paths in the area because of the lovely lake. Maybe try this map (https://boutique.ign.fr/cartes-de-randonnees-3332ot-chambery-9782758552246-6.html)? It looks like it would cover that area, though I didn’t use it myself. I hope you enjoy the hike, if you go! You’ll have to let me know if it’s still as nice as when I went years ago.