Chalets de Bostan and Golèse pass loop
6 points of interest
Great yellow gentianGreat yellow gentian is a plant regularly found in calcareous mountain pastures and meadows. Looking at just the leaves, it can often be confused with the white hellebore, a plant with alternating leaf arrangement. The gentian, on the other hand, is an opposite leaves plant. Gentian roots are also used to make liqueur. The plant needs to be at least 10 years old before it can be harvestable! What's more, the yield of liquor produced per root is very low: you need 10 kg of roots to produce one litre of liqueur!
Journey to the Earth's coreThis part of the Alps is a land of sedimentary mountains. The limestone was formed over millions of years by the accumulation of sediment and seashells at the bottom of an ocean (between 250 and 50 million years ago). These massifs are marked by the presence of numerous sinkholes and chasms carved out by the water as it dissolved the limestone. The nearby Jean-Bernard chasm, with a depth of -1602 metres below sea level, is one of the best-known in the world.
Woodland pasturesWoodland pastures are particularly rich in biodiversity. They combine plant and animal species found in forests with those found in pastureland. Coniferous wooded pastures are the preferred habitat of the Black Grouse! These habitats, known for their biodiversity, are in part fostered by human intervention and shepherding. The disappearance of traditional pastoral practices is complicating the conservation of these environments.
Dwarf forests or heathlandsHeathlands are littered with low-growing plants that are resistant to wind and snow. Two different groups of plants are commonly found, depending on the sun exposure of the hillside. On the north-facing slope with little exposure to the sun, heathland is dominated by alpenrose and green alder. On the south-facing slopes, warmed by the sunlight, the predominant species is juniper (both common and savin).
A Franco-Swiss borderThe Franco-Swiss border can be reached via the Col Bostan pass. For centuries, this border was the crossing point for many people: migrating populations, war refugees, etc. Smugglers used the pass to illegally transport goods between the two countries (alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, butter, shoes, ammunition). Just imagine the men who used this route in all weathers and seasons, usually carrying dozens of kilos on their backs at night!
The snake eaterThe short-toed snake eagle is a bird of prey that can be found in areas inhabited by reptiles. They feed almost exclusively on snakes! It hunts its prey in two ways. In poor flying conditions, it searches for its prey by lying in wait on a tree or rock. When the weather permits, they are known for their motionless hovering flight, which differs from that of the Kestrel, which hovers and flaps its wings rapidly.
From the Plan des Arches parking area: follow signposts for "refuge de Bostan" and at the "Le Plan" junction, turn right towards "refuge de Bostan par le Palatieu". After a zigzagging climb through the spruce trees, you join the driving road leading to the refuge de Bostan through the mountain pastures. From the Refuge de Bostan, follow the 4x4 road for 200m, then turn right at the sign for the Col de la Golèse and Refuge de Golèse. Follow a flat "sente" to the Plateau des Lagots, then walk downhill for about 15 minutes to the Refuge de la Golèse. From the Golèse refuge, all that remains is to descend following the main trail. The descent takes around 1h15 down to the Plan des Arches parking area.
- Departure : Plan aux Arches parking area
- Arrival : Plan aux Arches parking area
- Towns crossed : Samoëns
Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of any accident or incident on this trail. Natura 2000 bird protection zone is off-limits.
Transport - https://pysae.com/info/#/sat-train-bleu/ Summer bus shuttle service in July and August.
Access and parking
As you leave the village of Samoëns, head towards Chevreret, les Allamands and then drive to the furthest car park at Plan des Arches (1096m / 15-minute drive from the village).
Plan aux Arches parking area
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