The best Via Ferrata routes in the French Alps
Via Ferrata gives you the exposure of rock climbing without the danger as you climb fixed rung systems that snake their way up the vertical slabs of the French Alps.
Via Ferrata is the perfect introduction to rock climbing and a fantastic outdoor experience for groups, individuals and families (kids need to be over 1.20 m tall). You don’t need any previous experience, but you do need a sense of adventure!
Via Ferrata routes are graded according to difficulty. Easier, shorter routes are ideal for families with young children, whilst extreme routes with overhanging sections and big exposure will appeal if you’re physically fit, have some rock climbing experience and a head for heights. There are routes that can take anything from 45 minutes to a full day.
The Via Ferrata season in the French Alps begins as soon as the snow melts and generally runs from about the end of April to the beginning of November.
Go it alone by renting the gear you need from Mountain Guide centres or climbing shops in town, or hire a UIAGM qualified guide who will tailor the route to your level and make sure you have fun whilst staying safe. Via Ferrata is a challenging and hugely rewarding activity, and a great way to spend a day outdoors in the French Alps!
Book a Via Ferrata Trip in the French Alps
Our via ferrata partners in the French Alps employ experienced guides who are all fully qualified so you can have fun and stay safe. Take a guide you’ll be safer and you’ll have a lot more fun!
Via Ferrata Le Saix du Tour – Avoriaz
The Saix du Tour Via Ferrata is just a stone’s throw from the Portes du Soleil resort of Avoriaz in the Chablais Alps. Overall, a moderately difficult route with stunning views over Avoriaz and the surrounding the mountains. Split into 2 sections, the first is accessible to all, whilst the second section has a long traverse and a lot more exposure. Access is via an easy 10 minute walk in. Rent gear from Antoine Ski in Avoriaz.
Time required: 2h. Max altitude: 2023 m. Altitude gain: + 173 m.
Route length: 600 m. Grade: Moderate/Difficult.
Season: May – October. Lat long: 46.189999, 6.783750
Via Ferrata Rocher de la Chaux – Saint-Jean-d’Aulps
The elephantine Rocher de la Chaux in St-Jean-d’Aulps has 2 via ferrata routes. The first called La Tête de l’Eléphant is moderate in difficulty but has some great exposure and a superb rope bridge, the Pont de St Guérin. The second called L’Oeil de l’Elephant is much more physical, has loads of exposure and reputed to be one of most difficult routes in France. When you reach the top you’re rewarded with superb views over St Jean d’Aulps and the Mont Blanc.
Time required: 1.5h. Max altitude: 1173 m. Altitude gain: + 213 m.
Route length: 300 m. Grade: Moderate/Very Difficult.
Season: May – October. Lat long: 46.246347, 6.643681
Via Ferrata Yves Pollet-Villard – La Clusaz
Access from La Clusaz via the Route du Col des Aravis. It’s a 20 minute walk in and 45 minute trek back out, but it’s fully worth it, this via Ferrata is a gem. Similar to Via Ferrata routes in the Dolomites, it’s a long course that’s more a sustained traverse than a climb and makes good use of the natural features in the rock. The second half has some nice steep walls and more exposure. There are 2 possible exit points along the route.
Time required: 3h. Max altitude: 1830 m. Altitude gain: + 300 m.
Route length: 700 m. Grade: Difficult/Very Difficult.
Season: 15 May – 15 November. Lat long: 45.872405, 6.464666
Via Ferrata La Croix des Verdons – Courchevel
A high Alpine via ferrata with fantastic exposure and superb views over the summits and glaciers of the Vanoise National Park. Access via the La Saulire cable cars from either Courchevel or Méribel. The high altitude nature of this route means it’s only doable in the summer months between June and October. See the Webcam.
Time required: 3.5h. Max altitude: 2739 m. Altitude gain: + 889 m.
Route length: 800 m. Grade: Fairly Difficult/Difficult.
Season: 15 June – 15 October. Lat long: 45.3817, 6.5883
Via Ferrata Via Ferrata de Curalla – Passy Mont Blanc
Located high on the Plateau d’Assy, the Via Ferrata de Curalla snakes up a south facing limestone ridge with spectacular views over the Mont Blanc range. Although a big mountain route with plenty of exposure, it’s perfectly doable if you’re good with heights and reasonably fit. The 490 m course is nicely varied with a succession of short vertical ladders interspersed with cable bridges and exposed wooden beams. Take a guided trip with Chamonix Sport Aventure.
Time required: 2h. Max altitude: 1420 m. Altitude gain: + 180 m.
Route length: 490 m. Grade: Fairly Difficult/Difficult.
Season: 05 May – 31 October. Lat long: 45.941587, 6.711408