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Vallorcine Valley Walk from Le Buet to Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · Rhône-Alpes
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  • Cascade de Bérard
    / Cascade de Bérard
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / Le Buet Train Station, the start and end point of your walk.
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / Views as you walk to the Cascade.
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / Cascade de Bérard
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / The trail is a comfortable walking path that is both easy to follow and accessible.
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / Walk past the river as you ascend up into the valley.
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
  • / Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard
    Photo: Augustijn vanGaalen, Macs Adventure
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Walk through the beautiful Vallorcine Valley, from Le Buet to Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, a perfect place to have a picnic or enjoy a Plat du Jour, before heading back down the valley to Le Buet.

10.6 km
3:45 h
580 m
580 m

Your walk starts in front of Le Buet Train Station, at the base of the valley. Well established and maintained footpaths take you through a peaceful meadow before entering a forested area and beginning a casual ascent up the valley. Along the way you will have the opportunity to marvel at the Cascade Bérard, a towering waterfall which has several unique lookout points, all great for photographs. The walk will continue upstream, following the river as you ascend towards the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard. Once at the top, it is the perfect opportunity to relax, enjoy the view, have a snack, and maybe even enjoy a ‘Plat du Jour’ at the infamous Refuge.

The walk is not too strenuous, but does include some segments of prolonged climbing, but all the climbing you do to get to the top will be all downhill on the way back! The way back is a relaxed walk down, with great views of the valley, back to your starting point at Le Buet Train Station.

Author’s recommendation

Seeing as the the Refuge is your target for this walk, the only other thing you simply cannot miss is the infamous Cascade Bérard – you can even stop and see it again on your walk back! User
Augustijn vanGaalen
Updated: July 31, 2017

Highest point
1922 m
Lowest point
1343 m
Best time of year

Safety information

When you start and finish your walk, you will have to cross a busy road to get to the train station. Be careful – even though there are two pedestrian crossings cars drive very fast here.

As for the walk itself, if you are walking in the beginning of the season, remember that, as you near the Refuge, there could still be snow in the higher parts of the valley. Be careful if there is snow on the path and make sure to walk with extra care.

Also remember that the lookout points next to the waterfall are slippery and covered with water. Always hold the hand rails and watch out when taking photos.


Bring a warm jacket, as even on a warm day it can get quite windy at the top of the valley, especially when the sun disappears. Walking boots are appropriate for this walk, and walking poles will help with the ascending and descending.

Tips, hints and links

Le Buet is relatively small, so to make sure you get your ideal pack lunch, we suggest picking something up from the supermarket in Chamonix before you head off. However, there are some possibilities on the way, like La Cascade, right above the Waterfall, which does light refreshments and the Refuge. The latter is a great moment to sample some of traditional Mountain Food, and will keep you fortified for the rest of your walk. Bring plenty of water as there are no other places for getting water between La Cascade and the Refuge. 

Points of Interest:

Cascade Bérard


This waterfall is a stunning testament to what nature can accomplish simply on its own. With several viewing platforms and even a café, the new set-up around the Cascade is both safe and accessible.


Located just a short 15 minute walk from Le Buet, the Cascade Bérard is one of the valley’s most prized sights, and is the perfect place to stop to enjoy the view and capture some great photographs. With a great accessible viewing platform, you can get great views of the waterfall as it comes crashing down. With the amount of snowfall and the volumes of water that pour through the waterfall each year, this newly renovated platform is certainly unique in the area. There’s even a small building attached called La Cascade, which sells some drinks when opened.


Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard


As the symbolic midway point in your walk, the imposing Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard is a wonderful place to have lunch, or to treat yourself to some typical French ‘Mountain Food.’


The refuge is built below an enormous boulder, which protects it during heavy avalanches during the snow. As a result, this Refuge has a unique character and look that definitely makes it a worthwhile place to take a break. Whether it’s a hot cup of tea, a cool glass of juice, or an ice cold beer – the Refuge will be able to provide you with a great mid-walk treat as you prepare yourself for the second half of your trip!

Remember to bring cash if you are planning on buying food or drink at the Refuge, as they won’t have a card reader on site.





This walk is included in the following itineraries: 



Le Buet Train Station (1343 m)
46.019232, 6.919902
32T 338990 5098287


Le Buet Train Station

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – Standing in front of Le Buet Train Station, with your back to the building, walk towards the main road and TURN LEFT.

0.10 km – TURN RIGHT onto a walking path, right beside a wooden chalet, following signs to the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard.

0.40 km – Ignore smaller path to your right and continue STRAIGHT ON and follow the main path.

0.50 km – When you come to a signpost with several paths, TURN LEFT following signs for the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard. Immediately after this left, TURN RIGHT onto the first walking path as it slopes upwards, following the signpost with a green walker on it.

0.60 km – BEAR LEFT on main path and continue down this until you reach another signpost, where you should TURN LEFT, following the sign with symbols for food and the Refuge.

0.75 km – BEAR RIGHT, following signs for the Cascade de Bérard. You will come to a metal walkway where you can observe the waterfall from several different vantage points. Make sure to be careful and to hold the rail, as this can be wet and slippery.

0.85 km – TURN RIGHT back onto the main path and follow signs for the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard, which will lead you up the valley. Follow this path for about 800 meters.

1.60 km – After a small footbridge, you will come to a small clearing with a signpost. Once again, TURN LEFT, following the river upstream and signs for the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard.

3.40 km – Avoid a smaller path up to your right and continue STRAIGHT ON, walking up the valley.

4.10 km – The path will split into two. BEAR RIGHT to take the upper path if there is snow in the valley, as parts of the lower path might be covered in snow. In some cases you will have to walk through a bit of snow that is covering the path, especially early in the season, so be careful.

5.10 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON and over the small bridge before the path veers to the left and continues upwards.

5.40 km – Congratulations, you have made it to the Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard. Enjoy a small picnic here or have a hearty lunch to prepare yourself for the walk down. A lovely place to sit and have a small rest while you enjoy the view over the valley.

5.60 km – Continue your walk down the same way you came.

5.80 km – Once again you can take either path. BEAR RIGHT to walk closer to the river.

6.00 km – You will come once again to where the paths split. Continue STRAIGHT ON heading down the valley.

10.70 km – After just over 10 km you will arrive in Le Buet and your walk has come to an end. Remember to check the bus and train times before you leave to make sure you have a rough idea of when you can take transport back to Chamonix.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

You can check the train times to Le Buet on the SNCF website:

Keep in mind that the trains don't run early on in the season. If this is the case, there will be buses that will follow the same route and take more or less the same time. You will still be able to see this on the SNCF website and tickets can be purchased online or at the Chamonix train station. All buses also leave from in front of the Chamonix bus station. 

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendations for this region:

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Questions & answers

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Andre Van Den Bergh
August 24, 2019 · Community
Lovely walk with a stop at the refuge for water.
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Saturday, 24 August 2019 9:10:50 PM
Photo: Andre Van Den Bergh, Community

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10.6 km
580 m
580 m


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