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Crossing the Plateau de Retord and the Grand Colombier with snowshoes

Crossing the Plateau de Retord and the Grand Colombier with snowshoes

This itinerant snowshoe hike crosses the South Jura Mountains from Bellegarde to Culoz. Discover this comfortable hike in two ways: in double or triple rooms or as a dormitory.

Set off to discover this secret massif, the last high mountain range in the Jura Mountains. After a short ascent, the Plateau du Retord, a paradise for cross-country skiers, will open up to you. In this Bugey country, the relief is gentle and ideal for strolling. The hike wanders through this characteristic Jura meadow woodland landscape and discovers the very imposing farms. Once you reach the ridge, the panorama is fantastic from the northern Jura to Mont-Blanc and all the Alps. This crossing will end on the Grand Colombier Massif, a real promontory dominating the whole plain.

During this easy itinerant hike, accommodation is provided in typical and warm gîtes d'étape, all situated in the heart of nature. The last one, the Chalet d'Arvières, is even inaccessible by car in winter, wild atmosphere guaranteed. The basic accommodation is in a dormitory, but three double or triple rooms are available in a hotel formula (if you book early enough).

The stages are :

Day 1: meet at 2.15 pm at the main exit of the Bellegarde-sur-Valserine TGV station. Transfer by minibus to the Chapelle de Retord and start of the hike which allows you to discover the landscapes of the Plateau de Retord up to the first accommodation, located above the station of Les Plans d'Hotonnes.

Difference in altitude: 80m positive, 180m negative, 7km, 2h30 walk.

Day 2: loop hike starting from the resort of Les Plans d'Hotonnes. You explore the Plateau de Retord from farm to farm and finish with the easy ascent of the Crêt du Nu. Return to the accommodation.

Difference in altitude: 370m positive, 370m negative, 14km, 4h30 walk.

Day 3: you start the day by preparing your bags (7kg per person) which will be transported to the next accommodation by snowmobile. The day's hike allows you to link the Plateau de Retord to the Grand Colombier massif by a beautiful and long crossing via the Corniche du Valromey, the profile of the stage remains very gentle. Arrival at the Chalet d'Arvières, comfortable accommodation where you settle down for 3 days.

Difference in altitude: 430m positive, 390m negative, 18km, 5h walking.

Day 4: Loop hike on the Plateau de Sur Lyand, the crest of the Griffe du Diable (Devil's Claw) to reach the Col de Charbemènes at the foot of the Grand Colombier. Return to the accommodation.

Difference in altitude: 450m positive, 450m negative, 14km, 4h30 walk.

Day 5: loop hike with the ascent to the summit of Hergues with an exceptional panorama of the Grand Colombier massif. Descent towards the Golet de la Biche to then reach the Combe Merlin and its forest setting. Ascent to the northern part of the Plateau de Sur Lyand and back to the accommodation.

Difference in altitude: 450m positive, 450m negative, 15km, 4h30 walk.

Day 6: after a forest walk, you will reach the Granges du Colombier and if the conditions are favourable, you will climb to the summit of Grand Colombier for a spectacular 360° view of the Jura, Mont-Blanc, the Aravis, the Bauges, the Chartreuse and sometimes even the Massif Central. Descent to Virieu-le-Petit where you will pick up your luggage. Transfer included to Culoz train station. End of services around 5.30pm.

Difference in altitude: 500m positive, 900m negative, 13km, 5h walking.

Hiker level 2 out of 5: 200 to 700m of difference in altitude, 4 to 5 hours of walking.
The walking rhythm is slow and regular, the discovery aspect is privileged over the sporting aspect. The walking time is only given as an indication.

The organiser of the stay and the guide may have to modify the indicated itinerary. These modifications are always made in your interest, for your safety and comfort.

Open period

From 4 to 9 January. CANCELLED
From 11th to 16th January. CANCELLED
From 18th to 23rd January. CANCELLED
From 25th to 30th January. CANCELLED
From 1st to 6th February. CANCELLED
From 8th to 13th February. CANCELLED
From 15th to 20th February. CANCELLED
From February 22nd to 27th. CANCELLED
From 1st to 6th March. CANCELLED
From 8th to 13th March. CANCELLED


Adult: from 648 € to 688 € depending on the period chosen.
Supplement of 98 € per person for a double or triple room, subject to availability at the time of booking.

Spoken languages

  • French

01260 Haut Valromey Show / Hide location


Direct, Office de Tourisme Bugey Sud Grand Colombier
  • 04 79 81 29 06
  • contact@bugeysud-tourisme.fr