Aiguille Verte and Lac de Lessy circular walk

A circular walk starting and finishing at the ski resort of Chinaillon; between Le Grand-Bornand and the Col de la Colombiere. A varied and interesting walk with great scenery, wildlife and options to take in Roc des Tours.

Technical sheet

A Le Grand-Bornand walk posted on 02/05/19 by Alwayswiththehills. Last update : 16/05/19
  • Walking
    Activity: Walking
  • ↔
    Distance: 12.66 km
  • ◔
    Calculated time: 6h40 
  • ▲
    Difficulty: Moderate

  • ∞
    Return to departure point: Yes
  • ↗
    Vertical gain: + 1,068 m
  • ↘
    Vertical drop: - 1,074 m

  • ▲
    Highest point: 2,032 m
  • ▼
    Lowest point: 1,275 m
Roc des Tours
From Col de la Forclaz.
Aiguille Verte from Chalets de Lessy


(S) From the parking at Chinaillon, cross the road and take the steps up and towards a resort complex. It looks like you are entering a private area but it is signposted and it is OK to follow the path.

It will take you through the complex of buildings and into a lightly wooded area. Just before a ravine the track turns back on itself and ascends through more light woodland before emerging onto the pasture beside a track.

(1) Turn left and take the path beside the track, they run parallel but then the track veers off to the right and your path goes straight on over the top of the small ravine mentioned above. Follow the right path with open alpine pastures above you. It will turn uphill and ascend more steeply, turning to avoid rocky outcrops and zig-zagging on the steeper sections before ascending with crags below you on the left to a broad ridge. You may see Chamois on this part of the walk.

(2) At this point, the path split. Take the right-hand path up the prominent grassy ridge. There are a few paths leading off on the right that contour beneath the Aiguille Verte but keep going to a signpost.

(3) Take the path on the left up to the top of the Aiguille Verte

(4) Enjoy the views and then descend the same way back to the signpost. Take one of the traverse paths on your left across the hillside to a prominent col.

(5) Descend to the left at first and then take the right-hand path when it splits. This will take you around the lake, crossing a boulder-strewn scree slope to the Chalets de Lessy. Here you can buy light refreshments or eat you sandwiches beside the lake.

(6) From the chalets, take the right track which is continuing on the north side of the lake and makes a steady uphill ascent to Col de la Forclaz.

(7) At Col de la Forclaz, you may see birds of prey soaring the slopes and there are some good views down the valley and over to the Plateau des Glieres. Take the right track downhill to the Chalets de Mayse.

(8) From the Chalets de Mayse, turn left and start to ascend again with the large cliffs of the Roc des Tours above you on the left. The path climbs steadily over pasture before entering woodland. It turns abruptly left again and makes the final ascent to the col at Le Planay.

(9) Descend through woodland to a junction with a track.

(10) Take the left-hand track which borders woodland and fields until it joins a better track.

(11) Turn left and follow the track in its entirety, contouring the hillside and descending back to Chinaillon and the parking.


  1. S/E : km 0 - alt. 1,284 m - Chinaillon parking
  2. 1 : km 0.52 - alt. 1,398 m
  3. 2 : km 3.39 - alt. 1,886 m
  4. 3 : km 3.67 - alt. 1,959 m
  5. 4 : km 3.88 - alt. 2,032 m
  6. 5 : km 4.72 - alt. 1,896 m
  7. 6 : km 5.69 - alt. 1,766 m - Chalets de Lessy - Chalets de Lessy
  8. 7 : km 6.59 - alt. 1,840 m - Col de la Forclaz - Col de la Forclaz (Haute-Savoie)
  9. 8 : km 7.98 - alt. 1,498 m - Chalets de Mayse - Chalets de Mayse
  10. 9 : km 9.16 - alt. 1,681 m - Le Planay - Le Planay
  11. 10 : km 10 - alt. 1,458 m - La Culaz - La Culaz
  12. 11 : km 10.7 - alt. 1,346 m
  13. S/E : km 12.66 - alt. 1,284 m - Chinaillon parking

Useful Information

A well-signposted walk. The going underfoot can be rocky in places and I would recommend walking boots or good approach shoes.

Refreshments are available at two locations. We only tested those at Chalets de Lessy which were reasonably priced for drinks.

Always stay careful and alert while following a route. Visorando and the author of this walk cannot be held responsible in the event of an accident during this route.

During the walk or to do/see around

You will probably see chamois, goats and the local cultures. By the look of it, they make their nests in the steep crags of the Roc des Tours.

There are great views which open at all different points of the walk. The scenery is interesting and changing, There is always something new to look at; around the next bend or over the next col.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.