Hiking Col du Cou (3.5-4 hours, beautiful but arduous mountain hike)
Sometimes there is nothing better than soothing tired legs in a hot tub at the end of a big day in the great outdoors (did we mention all of our luxury chalets and apartments have hot tubs??). By hiking Col du Cou, you’ll certainly earn your tub time but the scenery is absolutely epic and one of our favourite hikes in the portes du Soleil.
This scenic but demanding hike is quite an uphill challenge with 530 metres elevation gain along a rocky single track, However if your up for the challenge the breathtaking views will make it all worthwhile.
Hiking Col du Cou Starts At A Beautiful Alpine Lake
Lac des Mines d’Or is Morzine’s lesser known lake and truly is a hidden gem. Nestled away at the far end of Vallee de la Manche, the old mining lake sits at the end of the road (where you should park) and offers spectacular views of the Terres Maudites and Tete du Bostan rock faces to your right and Les Hauts Forts to your left.
During the peak summer season there is a free shuttle bus which runs hourly between the Pleney lift station and the lake but if you choose to drive there is a carpark at the lake where we suggest you park.
From the car park (where there is also a restaurant), head up behind the lake on the fire track following the signs for Ferme des Freterolles. The fire-road loops up behind the lake where there are waterfalls visible on the hillside up to your left hand side as you climb up. Following this path for about 20 minutes you will come to the Freterolles and a walking sign post. You’ll want to take the steeper left hand path up towards the cross. From the cross, which offers a nice view of the Morzine valley, the trail gets thinner and winds its way up through the rock strewn meadow all the way up to Col du Cou.
The Historic Col du Cou
Once at the Col you will be greeted by a magnificent view of the Dents du Midi and Dents Blanche mountain ranges with their stunning snow capped peaks and glacial ridges.
During the second world war the Col, which is also the border between France and Switzerland, was a poplar smuggling route for weapons and munitions coming into France for resistance fighters and for refugees escaping the Nazis and fleeing to the relative safety of neutral Switzerland.
When you’ve taken in the view and decide it’s time to turn back, take the fire road track on your left as you look back down towards Morzine and follow the winding forest track down until you reach a crossroads in the track at Le Epingly. From here you can head back past the Freterolles and back down to the lake by taking the right hand fork or you can extend your walk by taking the left hand fork signposted Chardonniere.
If you follow the Chardonniere route you will descend further through the forest before taking a left hand fork over a small stream still following the signs for Chardonniere. After about 5 minutes you will reach the bottom of the Terre Maudite rock face where you’ll be able to have a Game of Thrones moment and feel like John Snow looking up at the wall!! The face is treacherous but is still popular with climbers.
Following the track down you’ll pass the refuge and restaurant at Chardonnier which is a great spot for some light refreshment, then follow the track through the forest bearing right at the bridge and heading up the hill back to the lake.
And what better way to end a days hiking than soaking up the evening sun from the terrace or hot tub of your luxury central Morzine self catered chalet or apartment. If you haven’t yet booked your Morzine accommodation then please drop us a line using the contact us form or browse through our exclusive portfolio of luxury Morzine self catered chalets and apartments here
Click here to see more of our favourite hikes in the Portes du Soleil