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Arnuva to La Fouly via Grand Col Ferret

· 2 reviews · Hiking route · Mont Blanc and La Thuile
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  • On the ascent to Grand Col Ferret
    On the ascent to Grand Col Ferret
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
m 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 1800 1600 1400 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Alpages de la Peule Arnuva Bus Stop Grand Col Ferret Rifugio Elena La Fouly Bus Stop

Your day begins with a bus (25 minutes) from the centre of Courmayeur to Arnuva, in the heart of the beautiful Val Ferret, in the Grandes Jorasses. Back on your own two feet you ascend Grand Col Ferret (2,537 m), you are in Switzerland! Descent to Ferret (1740 m) where you catch the local bus to the Swiss lakeside village of Champex. 

Distance 14.6 km
5:20 h
832 m
996 m
2,537 m
1,599 m

The day begins with a short local bus to Arnuva where the climb of Grand Col Ferret begins. The top of the col brings up Switzerland. Descending through picture book scenes of chalets, grazing cattle and fabulous alpine views you soon reach La Fouly, an idyllic alpine village of wooden chalets overflowing with flowers. From La Fouly you catch the bus to the lakeside village of Champex. Although today includes three bus connections, the fantastic Swiss public transport system makes light work of this and runs very smoothly. 

Author’s recommendation

We recommend the high route from La Peule (described in the guidebook as the alternative). It offers lovely views and avoids the small portion on the road that the regular, signposted route follows. However, please note that the start of the path is not always obvious and it may seem like you are heading "off track" at the beginning (especially if the field is a little muddy and cattle have graze there). 

The signposted route will take you down to Ferret where you can catch a bus to La Fouly should you wish to shorten the walk slightly. 

Profile picture of Sarah Stone
Sarah Stone
Update: October 28, 2022
Highest point
2,537 m
Lowest point
1,599 m

Track types

Asphalt 0.41%Forested/wild trail 16.65%Path 76.08%Road 5.76%Unknown 1.07%
0.1 km
Forested/wild trail
2.4 km
11.1 km
0.8 km
0.2 km
Show elevation profile

Safety information

There are several river crossings. There are always stepping-stones available but these may be slippery, and especially when wet. Take extra caution on these crossings.

Some of the paths along the way have rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.

In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.

This route is above 2,500 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.

Tips and hints


There are three bus sections on this stage and although it may look a bit complicated at first there is nothing to worry about and the connections are easy.

1. Start by taking the Arriva bus from Courmayeur to Arnuva (Arp Nouvaz). Walk over the Grand Col Ferret to La Fouly (or Ferret if you prefer). Catch the Post Bus to Osieres where you change for the bus to Champex.

2. Make sure you carry some Swiss Francs to pay for the bus journey from la Fouly to Champex.

3. The way marking on the ground now seems to take a higher route to Ferret as opposed to that marked on the map. All routes do eventually reach La Fouly.


Operating daily from Courmayeur to Val Ferret via Bivio Rifugio Bonatti from the beginning of July until the beginning of September. Timetables are usually only available at the beginning of the summer season and can be found here:

 From La Fouly; take the the Swiss Post Bus via Orsières to Champex.

Timetables available at the bus stop in La Fouly or on-line below.

Timetables La Fouly – Orsières/Orsieres to Champex here:  ->Search Orsières to Champex (Lac) 


For bad weather transport options, please see our guide (in the "Docs" section of your Macs app, and in "My Documents" in your Macs account online)


Points of Interest

Grand Col Ferret

The Grand Col Ferret (2,537 metres) separates Italy and Switzerland and also forms the boundary between the Mont Blanc massif and the Pennine Alps. If you are walking the traditional Tour du Mont Blanc without embarking on any of the high route variants then this pass is the highest elevation you will reach.


Refuge La Peule

As well as welcoming walkers with refreshments, this isolated refuge is still a working dairy farm (you may even hear the jangling cowbells to prove it!), which allows a fantastic opportunity to experience local farm life and even taste some of the local produce!


Food and Drink

Between Arnuva and La Fouly there are few opportunities to buy food or drink so be sure to bring enough provisions with you.

You will pass Chalet Val Ferret, Rifugio Elena and Rifugio La Peule and La Fouly has a modest supermarket and a variety of cafes and restaurants.




Arnuva (1,768 m)
2'569'813E 1'079'958N
45.870566, 7.049935
45°52'14.0"N 7°02'59.8"E
32T 348650 5081515


La Fouly

Turn-by-turn directions

Starting from the Arnuva Bus Stop, head uphill to reach the start of the trail, in 200m, at the fork in bear left onto a footpath to begin the climb, follow the signs to Rifugio Elena and the Grand Col Ferret. The path climbs steeply in places, takes you past a group of ruins, crosses a stream on a footbridge and then an even steeper slope to reach Rifugio Elena

From Rifugio Elena the path crosses a gravel road and begins climbing up the grassy slopes. Be sure to look behind regularly to enjoy the views that unravel along the eastern side of the Mont Blanc Massif. At 4.8km you will reach the top of the Grand Col Ferret; Welcome to Switzerland! The path continues down into the valley on the other side. After 200 metres, bear right as the path forks to continue heading downhill.

After reaching La Peule, ignore the TMB and La Fouly signs which direct you to pass in front of the refuge, and instead turn sharply left following the sign to Ferret. Pass through a small fence, across sloping rutted tracks, and then through a second gap in the fence, to follow a footpath through pastureland with views to the snow-capped Mt Blanc Massif looming ahead. This route requires no additional effort but remains higher and with better views for longer, however many people will miss this option and follow the signpost. 

At 17km, after a descent through pine forest, the path forks with the right option signposted to La Fouly and Ferret. Ignore this however, and bear left to continue heading downhill and towards the river. After 300m, bear left to cross the wooden bridge, and then bear right to follow the footpath which heads slightly uphill, following the yellow signpost. After 200m, you will emerge onto a gravel road; turn left, following the sign to La Fouly

At 18.2km, bear right to leave the gravel road and head downhill through a sloping meadowtowards the river. Once at the river, bear right across the bridge, and then bear left to followthe main paved road into La Fouly. 



all notes on protected areas


2'569'813E 1'079'958N
45.870566, 7.049935
45°52'14.0"N 7°02'59.8"E
32T 348650 5081515
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Such is the way of Alpine hiking that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.

Questions and answers

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Daniel Bier
September 15, 2021 · Community
This hike was the highlight of the trip. Whatever you do, follow the map at the refugio peule (the trail behind the yurt) to take the high route through the mountains—don’t follow the signs for la fouly. That hike was the best part of the trip and absolutely amazing
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Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 10:34 AM
Photo: Daniel Bier, Community
Kate Frewin
July 23, 2018 · Community
Beautiful walk and not as challenging as the walk to Les Champex. There are no atms in Trient and nothing opens before 3 so bring your Francs (and something to eat if you plan to get in early)
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Photos from others

14.6 km
5:20 h
832 m
996 m
Highest point
2,537 m
Lowest point
1,599 m


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