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Exploring limestone summits — the GRP Tour of Lake Annecy

Chloé Perceval

Exploring limestone summits — the GRP Tour of Lake Annecy

Hiking Collection by Chloé Perceval

6

Tours

41:35 h

68.5 mi

20,350 ft

To discover the French alpine town of Annecy and its region, there’s no better way than to walk around its famous lake via the mountains. Over a little more than 100 kilometres (62 mi), this ‘great country hike’ opens the doors of the Bauges and Bornes massifs to you. You’ll have the opportunity to set foot on some of the most iconic peaks of the region, but also to hike in the heart of mountain pastures and to discover charming villages.

The common thread of this GRP is the turquoise blue of Lake Annecy, which you can admire from every pass and summit. The lake is particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset, when its waters take on golden, purple or orange hues. It's a truly breathtaking sight, and you can feel lucky to enjoy it for six days.

The GRP is traditionally done counter-clockwise from Annecy, and that's how I did it. You can absolutely do this route in the opposite direction and start it from almost any town on the lake. Here, I’ve divided the itinerary into six stages, with one stage dedicated to the ascent of the Tournette, the fantastic summit that dominates the Annecy basin from its 2,351 metres (7,713 ft) high.

The circuit begins and ends at Le Pâquier, a vast park on the edge of Lake Annecy, popular with locals and visitors alike. This is a starting point that I personally find exceptional, as you have a view of all the peaks you’ll reach on this hike. You can reach Le Pâquier in about 10 minutes on foot from the SNCF train station and the bus station in Annecy while many local Sibra buses also take you there. All stages end at a place where you can find accommodation or pitch a tent, depending on your wishes. Bivvying is tolerated on the entire route, and many huts allow you to camp on their premises.

In addition to the maps below, you’ll be able to use the yellow and red markings specific to the GRP throughout the route.

I recommend hiking this route between April and November, in order to avoid the snow at the passes and summits. In spring and early summer, the flora is particularly incredible and covers the mountain pastures in brilliant colours. I would suggest avoiding this route on the last weekend of May, when the Maxi-Race is traditionally held. Many races of various formats take place around the lake and on a good part of the GRP.

For the Annecy bus routes, check here: sibra.fr/en

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    07:04
    12.9 mi
    1.8 mph
    4,500 ft
    925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This superb first stage takes you from the center of Annecy to the summit of Semnoz.You start at Pâquier, facing the lake, with the Veyrier, Baron, Baret and Tournette mountains in the background. It is an exceptional setting for a first warm-up! You walk along the lake for a little over a kilometer and begin your ascent. You quickly …

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  • Difficult
    07:15
    12.2 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,225 ft
    4,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A second stage a little less important than that of the day before, which takes you from small rural villages to green mountain pastures.You start the day by crossing the mountain pastures of the Semnoz plateau, before turning onto a hiking trail which quickly becomes wooded. You pass through Leschaux, a pretty little mountain village, and soon after arrive …

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  • Difficult
    08:06
    14.8 mi
    1.8 mph
    4,100 ft
    3,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This third stage, a little longer than the previous one, is characterized by two important climbs, at the start and at the end of the day.The first is the one that takes you from the refuge to the Col de la Frasse. Short but intense, this climb takes you to the heart of the alpine pastures, where a lovely view of the Dents de Lanfon and the Tournette awaits you.

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  • Difficult
    07:35
    10.5 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,350 ft
    4,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Traditionally, one of the stages of the GRP Tour du Lac d'Annecy is devoted to the ascent of the Tournette, this mythical summit of 2,351 meters above sea level which overlooks the Annecy basin. Those who are pressed for time can skip this step, but I can only recommend you to explore this unusual mountain, at the top of which an unparalleled panorama awaits you.

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  • Difficult
    05:45
    9.38 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,975 ft
    4,075 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    A superb fifth stage, which takes you to the heights of Lake Annecy in a fascinating limestone environment. I suggest you borrow here one of the official variants of the GRP, more aerial.From the Pré Vérel refuge, you will find the GRP route towards the Chalet de l'Aulp. This time, instead of turning right to go up to La …

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  • Difficult
    05:50
    8.81 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,200 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This sixth and final stage takes you back to Annecy via the incredible ridges of Mont Baron and Mont Veyrier.From Col de Bluffy, a pretty path in the forest brings you to Col des Contrebandiers. From there, a small steep section in the rocks brings you to the old Mont Baron cable car station. The panorama is breathtaking! On …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    68.5 mi
  • Duration
    41:35 h
  • Elevation
    20,350 ft

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Exploring limestone summits — the GRP Tour of Lake Annecy

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