Col de Balme

trail running Alps

Col de Balme: Running the Swiss French border

Easy trail running with massive views of Mont Blanc

→ 18km   

↑ 1302m

Δ 2341M 

♦ Easy


The Col de Balme trail run is a Chamonix classic. But, our route differs in that it keeps you on the Swiss side of the border and avoids almost all of the ski infrastructure on the French side. The usual uphill climb through the trees takes you up to the French border at Col de Balme Refuge where you'll be presented with big views of Mont Blanc. Just before the hut, a quick out and back to the run's high point, Croix de Fer, is a rocky trail well worth the detour for the views and perfect snack spot. Don't forget to inspect our Albert Premier run immediately on the south side of the Col de Balme.

From Col de Balme, you've got an exquisite 5km traverse to Les Grands before a fast footed descent. Easy dirt road along the bisse/sounen (okay, water canal) leads back to the parking at Col de la Forclaz, and ice cream.

Detailed GPX Track

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GPX Track
Start:  46.05779, 7.00105
Town:  Col de la Forclaz
Canton:  Valais
Country:  Switzerland

  • If you're coming from Chamonix, get more time on your feet and less time in transit by starting in Le Tour and heading up the direct line to Col de Balme. From there, run the loop and drop back down. This adds 6km and 700m+/- to  the run with just a 30 minute bus ride from the center of town.

  • Chalet des Grands is a great place to stop for a drink with glacier views.

  • Take a look at all your trail options spanning out from Col de Balme. Plenty of ways to pass through from every direction.

To save routes, download GPX tracks, and navigate offline subscribe to SwitzerlandMobility Plus.

Run the Alps
Guided and self-guided trips. Come run with us.

trail running Alps

Easy running with rewarding views.

trail running Alps

Super smooth singletrack. It doesn't get better than this.

trail running Alps

Blueberries might be a snacking distraction along the way.

trail running Alps

Dan charging towards the Trient Glacier.

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