This circular walk will take you through the steep-sided wooded valley beneath the Aiguille de Manigod. It then brings you up into pastures before making the steep ascent to Sur le Freu and the more gentle ascent to the top of Orsiere via la Riondaz. The descent takes you back through pastures before heading back down through the forest to the start. Great views towards Manigod and the mountains behind Annecy, Mont Charvin.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
From Manigod take the road (narrow in places) via Les Coseaux and Joux to park just before the bridge at la Gutary. There is room for about 5 or 6 cars parked sensibly. If all the parking is taken you can continue and park past Sous l'Aguille at the end of the valley; it is easy to pick the route up from here.
(D) from the parking at La Gutary, cross the bridge and take the track on the right past a small house and through woods until you come to a bridge which crosses the river Le Frier. After the bridge turn left on the good track through the forest with the river on your left hand side. (1)
This part of the walk is in woods and on a north-east facing slope. It provides a cool start to the walk but can be wet if there has been rain or a thunderstorm the day beforehand. Continue along the track with one short steep section taking you uphill and away from the river, before walking in trees beside a pasture and then crossing two gullies before arriving once again at the River Frier (2). There is a track crossing the river here which leads to the second parking place and it is possible to start the walk from this point.
Do not cross the river continue with it on your left until the track heads uphill again. It soon levels out with views of the Aiguille de Manigod and leads you to a junction with a good track on the left. Again this good track comes up from the second parking and enables a start to the walk from that point. (3)
Continue up the track through some bends where you can add to the balanced stone sculptures which people are building beside the track side. Continue along the track until it leaves the forest and out onto pasture. On your left you will see the huts at l'Aulp de Frier and ahead are the peaks of la Goenne and Mont Charvin. You will soon come to signposts (4), take a quick rest before heading diagonally up and right across the pasture with some rocks. Walk through a small stand of trees and around a gully before starting to ascend more steeply up another gully and then the spur on its left. You may see goats which roam the pastures here. At the top the path cuts across a stony section before emerging on the pasture and farm at Sur le Freu (5). There may be cattle in this pasture.
Cross the pasture to join the track from the farm and follow this before a signpost takes you off on the right. You are walking near the edge of the cliffs at this point and soon you will arrive at the summit of La Riondaz (6), continue along the path descending a little before ascending again to the summit of Orsiere (7) The views from these summits are good and it is worth staying a while or even enjoying your sandwiches here.
From the top descent again through a pasture (possible cattle) and to a track leading to the farm at le Macheux (8). Pick up the good track which descends and just after a building there is a sharp left hand turn (9). At this point the path leaves the good track and descends, steeply at first, into the forest again. Follow the path as it zig- zags downwards, avoiding right hand splits off the Sarion when they appear.
You will keep descending through the trees until you pass a monument and arrive at Beffort where there is a clearing for forestry work and pasture (10). Turn left and pick up the good track then take the right hand turn down past the farm at La Balme. Cross the pasture diagonally and enter the trees again. Keep descending through zig-zags until you arrive at the split in the track before the bridge over the river Frier (1).
Go over the bridge turn left and follow the track back to the start (A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Parking at La Gutary
1 : km 0.21 - alt. km 0.21 - Turn left after bridge
2 : km 2.17 - alt. km 2.17 - Alternative starting point for the walk
3 : km 3.1 - alt. km 3.1 - Alternative starting point for the walk
4 : km 4.42 - alt. km 4.42 - Signposts
5 : km 5.12 - alt. km 5.12 - Farm at Sur le Freu
6 : km 5.59 - alt. km 5.59 - Summit of La Riondaz
7 : km 6.39 - alt. km 6.39 - Summit of Orsiere
8 : km 7.16 - alt. km 7.16 - Farm at le Macheux
9 : km 7.98 - alt. km 7.98 - Leave track at sharp left-hand turn
10 : km 8.77 - alt. km 8.77 - Beffort clearing
D/A : km 9.98 - alt. km 9.98 - Parking at La Gutary
Boots are useful for any wet conditions in the woods if it has rained before doing this walk.
We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3531OTR.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
We enjoyed the steepness of the valley sides at first with glimpses of the Aiguille de Manigod before emerging onto the pastures with the views of Mont Charvin and its neighbours. The ascent to Sur le Freu is interesting and the views from the two summits and on the descent from these over to Manigod and the Annecy peaks is lovely.
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Follow the signs for the “Tour du Village".
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The walk is best done in the direction described, and best done a clear, dry day.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.