The Bénés loop

The Bénés loop

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A beautiful hike to a plateau with a view of the Mont Blanc massif.
Learn about proper conduct while on a mountain pasture and in the presence of herd protection dogs.

5 points of interest

  • The well-being of your pet dog

    Being out in the open in the mountain pastures can cause extreme overheating for your dog (sunstroke and dehydration). We advise you to opt for forest trails instead when going out and about with your pet dog. As a general rule, we advise against taking your pet dog to the mountain pastures. Should you take your dog to the pastures, make sure that it's always on a leash, let it interact with the guard dog and do not pick your dog up. The guard dog will eventually return back to its herd.
  • Livestock farming

    Livestock farming involves moving flocks around depending on the season and the availability of natural resources. During summer, the herds find fresh grass in the mountains - this is known as transhumance, or moving to mountain pastures or summer pastures. During this time, the pastures on the plains are mown to provide food for the animals in winter. This type of farming has shaped the landscape, maintaining the pastures and keeping open environments, which is essential for biodiversity. Were it not for this practice, the forest would simply overgrow and take over everything. Behind every mountain pasture, there is an owner, so you are always in someone's home in the mountains because these are working areas. It's a balance that must be preserved, so stay on the trails and remember to keep the fences shut. There is enough space for everybody, so let us share this beautiful mountain together!
  • Herd guard dogs, or “Patous”

    The role of herd guard dogs (often known as patous, the name of the breed) is to protect herds from predators (wolves, lynx, dogs, etc.), day and night, on mountain pastures or closer to villages. They are often used in large numbers, particularly to deal with packs of wolves. HOW DOGS BEHAVE: 1. They sprint and approach to identify any threat. 2. They bark to warn and dissuade. BEHAVIOUR YOU SHOULD ADOPT WHEN MEETING A DOG: 1. Go around the herd without running, staying as far from it as possible 2. Signal to the dog by speaking calmly so as not to startle the dog. If the dog approaches, stop, do not stare into its eyes, hide your walking sticks (any aggression will amplify the aggressive behaviour of these dogs).
  • Flora

    The Gentian

    Emblematic of the mountains, the stemless gentian can be found between 1,600 and 3,000 metres above sea level. These large, trumpet-shaped, dark blue flowers bloom from May to June. This species should not be confused with its better-known cousin, the great yellow gentian, which has tall stems. Yellow gentian’s roots are thought to have medicinal properties. Its roots are also used to make gentian alcohol.
  • Flora

    Invisible forces in mountain forests

    On a slope, the blanket of snow gradually slides downhill, advancing by a few millimetres to a few centimetres a day. This force, known as snowpack creep, causes some softwood trees to bend. One cubic metre of wet snow weighs around 400 kg. This causes the tree to deform into a crooked shape, typical of the Alpine landscape, or to bend or break. This phenomenon is sometimes crucial to a tree's lifespan and stability. Snow often causes longitudinal tears in the trunk, leaving the tree vulnerable to parasites and disease.


From Praz-sur-arly, take the left-hand signposted path on the route des Varins just before the turn (and the house) to reach the hamlet. You will cross a field leading to a forest and a stream. Head uphill towards the Grand Essert parking, then follow a forest path towards Les Frassies. Stay on the main path on your right. Keep to the left as far as Les Frassies. Turn left towards Chalets de Chevan. Use the same way for the descent. A loop option, passing under the Crêt du Midi chairlift, is also available.
  • Departure : Mouilles parking area, Cordon
  • Arrival : Mouilles parking area, Cordon
  • Towns crossed : Cordon

Altimetric profile


Be careful on the mountainside section of the descent after the Sions balcony, especially in the event of rain or thunderstorms. You have to be careful and pay attention, as there are herd guard dogs about. Inform yourself and follow the recommendations. Thank you for your attentiveness. We are merely guests in these mountain pastures! We recommend you to not take domestic dogs with you, even on a leash. For more information, contact the Cordon tourist office: +33 (0)4 50 58 01 57 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.


BUS Y86 Sallanches – Cordon TimetablesHoraires 2022

Access and parking

From Sallanches, follow the signposts for Cordon. From Cordon, head towards the Peray car park and then park in the Mouilles parking area..

Parking :

Mouilles parking area

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