Val Ferret

Trail running in Val Ferret, Switzerland

Val Ferret: Another Valais dead end valley alive with trail running energy

A magical corner of the Swiss Alps, a hop into Italy, and a Sound of Music vibe

→ 20km

↑ 1208m

Δ 2556M 

♦ Easy

Θ CCW

Switzerland, being tiny, has few hiding places. But, at least there are a few. Val Ferret, and especially La Fouly, is one of them. And while one the of the Alps' busiest trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), goes right through town, there are few people about.

We wanted a run here, but we didn't want it to be the TMB route. Instead, we looked for trails that got off that very-beaten path and explored what else there is at the end of Val Ferret where Italy and Switzerland butt-up against one another. Year's back, I had gone to the Biv. Fiorio at the base of the normal route on Mont Dolent. To access it, I vividly remember hiking up a beautiful trail from the tiny village of Ferret, at the end of the Val Ferret. Knowing that I had to return to this place stayed with me.

Our run goes to the same Col, the Petit Col Ferret, but starting from La Fouly to offer a long traversing trail beneath Mont Dolent's east face. Once at the Col, you'll step into Italy and traverse the ridge line south until the Grand Col Ferret where you join the masses on the Tour du Mont Blanc back in to Switzerland. Stay with them until the Alpage de la Peule, which, by the way, has an espresso machine and great food... After downing some coffee and baked goods, you'll leave the crowds behind and head off on tiny trails for the very rear of the valley at Vernes du Mont Percé.

In case I've failed to mention, so far this trail is nearly 100% perfect singletrack trail running, but once you get to the Mont Percé, it actually gets even better. Here you'll traverse the west facing hillside to just above Ferret where you'll drop down and follow river trails back to your starting point at La Fouly.

Overall, this run is as much about the feel of this place as it is for the beauty. Undeniably, Val Ferret is magical. Go see for yourself.

LOCATION
Start:  45.930166, 7.096576
Town:  La Fouly
Canton:  Valais
Country:  Switzerland

TIPS
  • Mont Dolent sits at this dramatic intersection of Switzerland, Italy and France and looms above for much of the run.

  • Incredibly, the sleepy Swiss Val Ferret runs parallel to the bustling Chamonix valley directly on the other side of the Mont Blanc Massif.

  • This is a run to discover a hidden corner of the Swiss Alps.

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Headed for the Petit Col Ferret from La Fouly

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Even in mid-July, snow sticks around on the north side of the Petit col Ferret

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Once on the Italian side, a traverse beneath the Tête de Ferret awaits with big views of the alpine world

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Back in Switzerland, rolling along on the Tour du Mont Blanc after crossing the Grand Col Ferret

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Sound of Music stuff on the descent back to Val Ferret on the Swiss side of the Grand Col Ferret

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