Ayeres 's little loop
Summer hike
Ayeres 's little loop

Ayeres 's little loop

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The very essence of the mountain in one easy hike.
An ideal journey for the whole family, that will take you from the forest to a small mysterious lake called Lac Vert, and to mountain pastures and their chalets. Not to mention one of the most beautiful views on mont Blanc!

15 points of interest

  • Geology

    The mont Blanc

    Beneath the snow and the glaciers, two main rock types form the Mont-Blanc Massif: the sharp edges and the highest peaks are made of very hard granite (from the left to the right: Aiguilles de Chamonix including Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, summit of mont Blanc) while the rounder - because softer - parts are in gneiss (from the left to the right: Dôme du Goûter, Aiguille du Goûter, Aiguille de Bionnassay,...).

    These two so-called crystalline rocks come from the core of the Earth in fusion.
  • The history of Plaine-Joux

    From forest to mountain pasture, Plaine-Joux has not always been a ski resort as reflected in its name, which would mean "forest on a flat space".

    As early as the 1930’s, the inhabitants of Passy were already practicing ski activities in this location enjoying a magnificent panorama. It was around 1965 that it officially became a communal ski resort. Even nowadays, Plaine-Joux remains, as well in summer as in winter, a popular family resort for skiing, hiking, paragliding... and contemplation.
  • Fauna

    The Common Minnow and the Common Chub

    Minnows are very common in highly oxygenated waters. Its presence in high altitude lakes is due to trout fishing activities. Used as bait by fishermen, it colonized these mountain lakes.

    The Chub is a rather large fish, very widespread in France. It is an omnivore, which means that it eats everything. In many European countries, especially in the east, it is of highly culinary interest.
  • Fauna

    The common Toad

    Kissing a toad transforming it into a charming prince is a myth! You must not touch this protected species, which is sensitive to diseases that humans could transmit.
    But you can look it in the eyes to observe its horizontal pupil and its orange iris. You will also notice its parotid glands on the back of its head. They are used to secrete a venom, the "bufotoxin" intended to keep away any possible predator.
    The toads and frogs are not the same species; toads live mostly in the forest, out of the water, joining it only during the breeding season !
  • Fauna

    The Grass Snake

    Semi-aquatic, it mainly frequents wetlands but also drier environments hosting its main prey, such as amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders or newts).
    It's a protected species, like all reptiles!
    It can be identified by its round pupils, its olive grey color and its double black and white or yellow collar shaped pattern. Or by another special feature: when it feels in danger, it spits out a foul smelling liquid and pretends to be dead, revealing its two-colored piano pattern on its ventral surface!
  • Fauna


    Odonates, more commonly known as dragonflies, are insects.
    There are two stages in their lifecycle: a "larva" (or nymph) stage which is aquatic followed by a terrestrial stage, when the adults are grown to adults.
    Dragonflies are predators: they are carnivores that feed on different types of prey depending on their stage. They eat other insects as well.
    Their distribution is strongly linked to climate conditions and any change has a strong impact on their presence. Destruction of their wetland habitats is one of the main threats to dragonflies.
  • Refuge

    The mountain refuge of Châtelet d'Ayères

    A bucolic landscape with a view of Mont-Blanc, that’s where is settled the pretty refuge of Châtelet d'Ayères.

    Built 100 years ago and currently runned by a family from Passy, it has welcomed some famous mountaineers in the 1950s: Roger Frison-Roche, Maurice Herzog...

    Its renowned cuisine is loved by gourmets looking for delightful blueberry pies or the famous “farcement”, a very famous local dish.

    The refuge is powered by solar energy. To be consumed with moderation!
  • Fauna

    The Rock Partridge

    The Rock Partridge is, according to Marcel Pagnol, the queen of the partridges, as mentioned in "My father’s glory"!

    However, far from the mediterranean hinterland, it thrives in open and rocky mountain environments between 1000 and 3000 m of altitude all over south-eastern Europe, from the Alps to the Balkans!

    It is the largest of the partridges and roosters and hens look alike: red legs and beak and a white throat lined with a well-designed black collar. Except from breeding season, these birds live in groups called "flocks".
  • Fauna

    The Hazel Grouse

    It is the smallest and most discreet of the mountain Galliformes species.
    It is much less known than the Black Grouse or the Rock Ptarmigan because it lives exclusively in the forest!
    But it is as important as the others from a biological and scientific point of view: it is an indicator species of environmental changes. Its specific demands in terms of vegetation and diversity of tree species ask for an adapted forest management. Bad preservation management of this habitats is one of the main causes of regression of the species.
  • Fauna

    The Black Woodpecker

    It is the largest of the 8 woodpeckers present in France. Originally an exclusive mountain species, it is now also found in the valleys! Indeed, it adapts to both deciduous and coniferous forests, as long as they cover large areas and include dead wood and old trees with large diameters.
    It is easily recognized by its entirely black plumage enlivened by a bright red spot, limited to the nape on the females and more extensive on the males.
  • Fauna

    The Golden Eagle

    Everything about this bird is exceptional! With a wingspan up to 2 meters, each couple controls a territory as big as 10 000 football pitches! Its X-ray eyes detect prey movements for over 1 kilometer of distance. Its eyes are like magnifying glasses that magnify 6 to 8 times what its perceives and it has a 240 degrees field of vision. In addition to colors, it is able to detect ultraviolet light, a major asset for this great hunter who can swoop down on its prey at a speed of 350 km/h. But no one is perfect: it misses 9 prey out of 10!
  • Fauna

    The Common Raven

    It is the largest of all passerines and corvids!
    Alternately feared or venerated, it is the hero of myths and legends in many cultures. Persecuted for a long time, it is now protected. The size of a buzzard, it can be specifically recognized by its diamond-shaped tail and its hoarse call. It is an omnivore, which means that it feeds on carrion, eggs, chicks or berries!
    The couples, which are united for their life time, carry out aerobatic courtship rituals! Apart from humans, the Golden Eagle is its only predator.
  • Fauna

    The Griffon Vulture

    It visits the Haute-Savoie region during the summer. The species is monogamous, that is to say that couples stay together for their entire life!

    This bird lives in colonies of different sizes, the closest of which are located in southern Vercors. Especially the young individuals who explore new territories. To feed, this bird is also able to cover hundreds of kilometers thanks to its gliding technique, depending on favorable weather conditions.
  • Peak

    The mont Blanc before mountaineering

    Many mountaineers dream of climbing mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. But it has not always been that popular. In the past, the inhabitants of mountain villages were scared of the mountains environment which led to numerous superstitions, as you can tell from the names given to the summits (“Mont Maudit”, meaning Damned mountain, Aiguilles du Diable, meaning Devil peaks, etc.). Only shepherds, chamois hunters and crystal miners (mining rock crystals) frequented these hostile environments. The first ascents were made by daring "outsiders" who employed these mountain experts as guides.
  • View on Le Dérochoir

    Le Dérochoir is the result of successive landslides. The first known and documented dates back to 1471. The second and last, at least for the moment, occurred in 1751. At the foot of the cliff stands a huge landslide cone which forms an unstable slope.
    These various landslides created a passage making it possible to cross the Fiz ridge.


Departure from Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy.
  1. Take the paved road to Lac Vert.
  2. Take the track on the right between the treehouses.
  3. Follow the direction Lac Vert.
  4. Take to the right on the paved road to Lac Vert. Beacon 93.
  5. Take the track to the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge. Beacon 159.
  6. Stay on the track to the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge. Beacon 160.
  7. Take the track on the right to the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge. Beacon 95.
  8. At the refuge Châtelet d’Ayères, take to the left in the direction of les Mollays. Beacon 143.
  9. Stay on the track by taking to the left in the direction of les Mollays. Beacon 96.
  10. Cross the hamlet les Mollays.
  11. Take the track on the left in the direction of Plaine-Joux. Beacon 16.
  12. Straight ahead in the direction of Plaine-Joux.
  13. Stay on the track in the direction of Plaine-Joux. Beacon 13.
  14. Take de paved road in the direction of Maison d'accueil de la Réserve naturelle de Passy. Beacon 102.
  • Departure : Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy
  • Arrival : Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy
  • Towns crossed : Passy

Altimetric profile


Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.


Bus SAT Mont-Blanc L85

Access and parking

Reach the Passy-Plaine Joux resort by road D43.
Parking at the entrance of the station.
Bus line L85 (SAT Mont-Blanc).

Parking :

Plaine Joux

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