Mont Buet 2 day hike - overnight stay Refuge Pierre à Bérard
Mont Buet is one of France’s greatest hiking trails, close to the world’s capital of alpinism: Chamonix. Within a 20 minute car ride you’ll be at the start of the trail in Vallorcine. Enjoy a world-class panoramic view of the Mont Blanc Massif at the summit and stay at Refuge Pierre à Bérard to experience the local cuisine and hospitality.
- Beautiful panoramic view on the Mont Blanc massif
- Approach to Refuge Pierre à Bérard features waterfalls and diverse lush landscape
- A stay at Refuge Pierre à Bérard is a unique and authentic way to experience the French hospitality and cuisine.
- Easy parking at Parking Gare Le Buet - Vallorcine
Mont Buet hike day 1
Park in Vallorcine 1261m
After you have parked your car (for free) in Vallorcine, at Parking Gare Le Buet, the trail will immediately start at the other side of the road. Follow the signs to Refuge Pierre à Bérard. The trail starts off in a lush, green valley where you’ll pass some tourist chalets before you make your way into the forest. If you see signs pointing to Chalet de la Cascade de Bérard then you’re on the right path. After a quick steep zig-zag ascend you’ll be greeted by the recognizable sound of a waterfall: Cascade de Bérard. At the top of the waterfall you can take a break at the chalet and admire the landscape and the view down the waterfall.
Eau de Bérard: your free guide 1500m
After your short break you have to follow the Eau de Bérard (river) upwards. The trail follows the river playfully and here and there you’ll cross some small bridges. The part of the valley to the south of the Eau de Bérard frequently crosses the border of the Réserve Naturelle du Vallon de Bérard: home to a great variety of precious flora and fauna. Rhododendron bushes decorate the valley all the way up to Refuge Pierre à Bérard. Keep following the path and you should be able to spot the refuge in the distance.
Refuge Pierre à Bérard : your overnight stay 1925m.
At the end of the valley you will find Refuge Pierre à Bérard located at an altitude of 1925m. From the parking lot to the refuge will take you about 2 hours. The refuge has a small terrace where you can enjoy a well deserved beer, a restaurant/bar, a sleeping dorm, a toilet, an outdoor water sink and closely located is a small campsite as well. For both overnight stays and dinner you will have to make a reservation. The refuge is quite busy, so don’t take the risk and make sure to reserve well in advance. Dinner is served in the cozy dining area where you’ll share a simple but very wel tasting meal with fellow hikers. The refuge is located on the shadow-side of the mountain, so enjoy the sun and the view while you still can, have dinner and get ready to wake up early the next day.
Mont Buet hike day 2
Duration: 5 to 6 hours. (Refuge - Summit - Refuge)
The first rewards 2650m
While the sun is still rising the first trekkers will leave for the trail. From the refuge you’ll follow the trail northward below the Aiguille de Salenton, keeping the Col de Salenton to your left. Keep following the red marks while you cross a large area of enormous granite boulders. Make sure to keep track of the red marks in this area, as following the wrong “path” can make it quite the challenge to find your way out of the area. Soon the trail will descend for a short while through loose gravel and rocks (stay focused). As you start to make your way up again you will pass the first snowfields and catch the first glimpse of the summit of Mont Buet. After you’ve reached the ridge of Col de Salenton (2650m) the trail offers a great panoramic view right below Arête de la Mortine. You will get a magnificent view of the Diosaz Valley, with the Mont Blanc Massif in the background. So definitely make sure to take some breaks, turn around and enjoy the views.
Push to the summit 3096m
You’ve now made it to the final and hardest part of the trail, the push to the summit. With still +/- 450m elevation gain to go in a relatively short distance it means the terrain is steep. Slow and steady is your way to go on the endless switchbacks covered with loose gravel that will follow. Stepping aside for some descending trekkers is a great excuse to catch your breath as you will start to notice the first signs of the increasing altitude. Make your way up to the antenna relay and follow the ridge towards the summit of Mont Buet.
Congratulations! You’ve made it. The summit offers a fantastic panoramic view of the Aiguilles Rouges, the Mont Blanc, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc du Tacul and many more members of the Mont Blanc Massif. Time for a selfie and a well deserved snack.
For many this will be one of the hardest parts of hiking Mont Buet. After a tiring ascend you now have to make your way down towards Refuge Pierre à Bérard again. A pair of trekking poles will come in very handy to reduce the impact on your knees while scrambling your way down the mountain. Follow the same path you used during the ascend and you will find your way back to the refuge.
One or two overnight stays
Based on your fitness level, or style of travel, you should decide if you want to add another overnight stay at the refuge. (Remember: reserve well in advance) Personally I was totally destroyed and exhausted after the descent and I arrived with shaking legs at the refuge. I was happy to call that the end of my trek for the day and greatly appreciated the luxury of sleeping in the refuge that night. If you have less time available or are up for the challenge heading down to Vallorcine will add another 1.5 to 2 hours of trekking to your already exhausting day.