Whether your idea of walking in the mountains is a gentle ramble or a three-day hike, Alpe d'Huez has something for you. The valley has 143 miles of beautiful, marked hiking trails and 12 lakes within walking distance from the main resort.
To make the most of the higher trails (without the slog!) you can buy a Summer Lift Pass; from this higher elevation, you will be treated to the most spectacular views of the lofty peaks in the Massif des Grandes Rousses and the Ecrins National Park. For the more adventurous, you can take longer hikes into the Ecrins National Park and perhaps stay overnight in a refuge.
If you're thinking of heading higher into the Alps or tackling something a little more challenging, then it is always advisable to chat to the mountain guides in town who will be able to give you more advice or even take you on a trail.
When heading off on a hike or walk it is always best to get as much information about the route as possible, head to the tourist office in town and check the weather forecast to make sure you are being as safe as possible. For all the useful emergency services numbers head to our emergency services page and save the numbers before embarking on your walk or hike in Alpe d'Huez.
You can buy a walking map at the lift pass offices or tourist office when you arrive in resort.
Walking trails & routes
You can enjoy walking in Alpe d'Huez in summer or winter, and there are a great many trails to choose from, ranging from very gentle village walks to walks where you can enjoy the more challenging mountain hiking trails. The paths are normally very well signposted and well maintained so you can set off on a number of trails feeling safe.
National parks routes
Walking through the Ecrins National Park is allowed, but since it's a protected wildlife and ecology area, you must obey certain rules and respect the environment you are passing through.
There are a number of sports shops in Alpe d'Huez stocking all the equipment and accessories you might need.
Although the footpaths are very well maintained and signposted, you should always exercise caution when venturing into the mountains, particularly at the beginning of the summer season when there may still be snow covering some parts of the footpaths, which must therefore be crossed with caution. Frozen avalanche debris can remain in the gullies until well into the summer making it dangerous for an ill-equipped or inexperienced walker to cross.
Before you embark on any activities in the mountains you should remember that you are likely to be at a considerably higher altitude with more rugged terrain than you are used to at home. For that reason it is particularly recommended that you:
- Are as physically fit as possible - Ensure you are fully aware of your limitations and of those accompanying you (children and elderly people).
- Are appropriately equipped - Choose sturdy footwear with ankle support, warm, water repellent clothing (even if the sun’s been beating down for days), sun cream, sunglasses, map, plenty water, food and snacks, first aid kit.
- Check your itinerary with the Tourist Office - Even the easiest and best-marked trails can present unexpected hazards such as rock slides or snowfall.
- Allow plenty of time for your chosen route - Additionally, leave an extra margin in case of an incident. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Nightfall may take you by surprise so it is wise to carry a flashlight/headtorch, don't rely on your phone in case of battery problems.
- Stay on the marked trails - This is especially important on steep slopes or precipices. Never take short cuts as doing so causes erosion, channelling the rainwater and resulting in deterioration of the trails that are so hard to maintain.
- Check the weather forecast - It is always advisable to check the weather forecast before setting off as this can greatly affect your walk or hike.
- Respect the environment - The mountains here are breathtakingly beautiful but the balance of nature is very fragile. In order to maintain the beauty of the valley; don’t light fires, ensure you take your rubbish with you, leave the flowers for others to admire and avoid making excessive noise that may disturb the wildlife.
- Ensure your dog is kept on a lead where necessary - Look out for signs requesting that you keep your dog on a lead. Some areas are prohibited to dogs altogether. which is done to protect local wildlife. It is prohibited to let your dog off the lead at all between 15th April and the end of June. This is because it is breeding season for many mountain species and it is important that the animals are left in peace.