Looking for a sporty hike with panoramic views of Lake Annecy within walking distance of the town? Mont Veyrier is that hike! On my most recent solo trip to Annecy, I spent a day up in the mountains awestruck by the vistas around me. This area is for sure one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in France.
I’ve always enjoyed the mountains and liked hiking, but it wasn’t until last year that I really developed a passion for it. After many lockdowns stuck inside, going out into nature was a safe and freeing activity. Living in the Pyrénées-Orientales was an amazing place to fall in love with hiking. Now that I live in Paris though, it’s harder to get to the mountains so I was itching to get back on a trail. Luckily Annecy is just 4 hours away by train, so it was the perfect destination for a 4 day’s escape in nature.
Finding the Right Hike in Annecy
Since Annecy is surrounded by mountains, there are so many options for randonnées. When searching for a hike, these were my criteria:
- Close to Annecy ( I didn’t have a car and did not want to spend more than 30 minutes on a bus)
- Medium Difficulty Level
- Doable in a day
- Views of the lake
Getting on the Trail
I woke up around 6, had breakfast and a coffee in the Air Bnb, and was out the door by 7. I decided to walk to the trailhead, but in hindsight, I should have checked if there was an early bus that stopped nearby since it took me about an hour to actually walk there. It was alright though because I saw the mountains from a different perspective.
I only passed a few other people in the beginning, but that’s because there is also a parking lot at Pré Vernet that most people depart from instead. There are a few different peaks on the mountain that you can go to and I did the loop up to the Col des Saults, Mont Veyrier, Mont Baron, and the Ancien Téléphérique (old cablecar) and back.
This hike took me around 6 or 7 hours with stops for water, snacks, and photos. It was a medium to difficult level due to the length and rocky trails. This is a hike for which you need good shoes and plenty of snacks and water. I didn’t bring poles with me, but they would have definitely been useful on the steeper rockier sections of the trail.
I tested out a new Osprey Hikelite 26 L backpack that served me well. I also made sure I had the 10 essentials for safety. I got most of my gear from the Au Vieux Campeur stores in Paris, but there are lots of alpine stores in Annecy itself if you need to get anything there. Buying all of the hiking gear was a little expensive, but it was an investment because I know most of this gear will last me several years.
For snacks, I brought peanut butter sandwiches, cliff bars, a banana, and a dried veggie “sausage” made out of nuts and sun-dried tomato. I also used a water bladder for the first time, which I found to be a lot more convenient and lighter than a water bottle. The one I had was 1.5 liters and I filled it up with water and Liquid IV electrolyte powder. I should have probably brought an extra water bottle though or gotten a larger volume bladder because I finished the water 1 hour before I was done with the hike.
I brought a map of the area and a compass, but I didn’t use them because the signal worked just fine on my phone when I used the Komoot app. A couple of people even asked me for directions, so it must have looked like I knew where I was going! Sometimes the trail markers weren’t as clear, and I did stray off the path I was supposed to be going on twice, but I easily found my way back.
When I was almost at the end of the trail back to the road, I saw a man ahead of me picking something from a bush. They were wild blackberries! Of course, I had to try some too. It reminded my of childhood summers spent on Maine islands when we would do the same thing.
I was absolutely knackered by the end of the hike since I had just walked 12 miles. Thankfully I found a bus stop that was 15 minutes away from the trailhead, so I was able to ride back to the Air Bnb the rest of the way. One awesome thing about Annecy in the summer is that the buses are free in July and August! When I got back I showered and rested before heading back en ville.
As a post-hike treat, I went back to Le Palais des Glaces, the ice cream shop from the day before because it was so good and I was afraid of going to another place and being disappointed. I opted for another cone, but with cherry sorbet and vanilla bean ice cream. You could see the actual specs of vanilla in the ice cream, so it had my stamp of approval. My grandfather is a vanilla fanatic so I blame him for being a vanilla snob!
For the rest of the afternoon, I decided to flâner – wander around without a purpose and just enjoy the moment. I then bought a veggie burger to go from Copper Branch, which wasn’t anything special to be honest, but the passion fruit lemonade that I got with it was delightful. I sat on a bench close to the Pont des Amours as I ate and watched some local kids play soccer and do a cheer routine by la promenade Jacquet.
I was too tired to stay out and watch the sunset again that night so I went back to my room early, took a bath with a bath bomb I bought at Monoprix, and rested my tired legs some more before drifting off to sleep.
À la prochaine,
P.S. Missed Day 1 in Annecy? Check it out here.