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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 Southern Jura Mountains from Bellegarde-sur-Valserine to Virieu-le-Grand. Discover this comfortable hike thanks to warm hotel accommodation.

Set off to discover this secret massif, the last high chain of the Jura Mountains. After a short climb, the Plateau de Retord, a paradise for cross-country skiers, will open up to you. In this Bugey country, the relief is gentle, conducive to strolling. The hike wanders through this landscape of meadow and woodland characteristic of the Jura, discovering 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 Massif du Grand Colombier, a real promontory dominating the whole plain.

During this easy tour, you will be accommodated in typical and warm lodgings. The last one, the Chalet d'Arvières, is even inaccessible by car in winter, wild atmosphere guaranteed.

The stages are :

Day 1: meet at 2.15 pm at the main exit of the TGV station in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. You must arrive at the meeting point ready to go hiking (meal taken beforehand, backpack and shoes ready). A transfer by minibus leads to the Chapelle de Retord (1200 m). Your first snowshoe hike is a gentle one, allowing you to discover the Retord Plateau in the typical Jura woodland setting. You'll walk from clearing to clearing to reach your cosy hotel (1100 m), in the heart of Les Plans d'Hotonnes.

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

Day 2: This day's programme includes a loop hike starting from Les Plans d'Hotonnes. You will explore the Plateau de Retord in its smallest nooks and crannies from farm to farm, culminating in an easy ascent of the Crêt du Nu (1351 m). This will also be an opportunity to switch to the eastern flank with its beautiful views. You will return to your accommodation in Les Plans d'Hotonnes.

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

Day 3: you will start your day by packing your bags (limited to 7kgs per person) which will be transported to the next accommodation. On this day you will link the Plateau de Retord to the Grand Colombier massif by a beautiful and long crossing. You will take the Valromey cornice and then arrive at the chalet d'Arvières, your accommodation in the middle of nature.

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

Day 4: Loop hike to discover the wide open spaces of the Plateau de Sur Lyand and the Griffe du Diable. Continuation of the route to the Charbemènes pass at the foot of the Grand Colombier and return to the accommodation.

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

Day 5: another loop hike in a wild area. You will start with a beautiful climb to the summit of Hergues and discover an exceptional panorama of the Grand Colombier massif. Descend to the golet de la Biche then to the Combe Merlin then climb up to the northern part of the Sur Lyand plateau then a gentle route to the chalet d'Arvières.

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

Day 6: after a forest trail, you will reach the Granges du Colombier and if the conditions are favourable, you will climb to the summit of the Grand Colombier for a spectacular 360° view of the Jura, the Mont-Blanc, the Aravis, the Bauges, the Chartreuse and sometimes even the Massif Central Descent to Virieu-le-Petit where you will collect your luggage. Transfer included to the Virieu-le-Grand train station. End of the tour around 5:30 pm.

Height difference: 500m positive, 900m negative, 13km, 5h walk.

Hiker level 2 out of 5. The walking pace 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 trip and the guide may sometimes modify the itinerary indicated. These modifications are always made in your interest, for your safety and comfort.

Open period

From 09 to 14 January
From 16 to 21 January
From 23 to 28 January
From 30 January to 04 February
From 06 to 11 February
From 27 February to 04 March
From 06 to 11 March


Adult: from €758 to €798 depending on the period chosen.
Supplement of 24 € per person per night for a single room. On registration before departure but to be paid on site at the end of the stay, depending on the number of nights in a single room.

Individual registrations are grouped in single rooms of 2 to 3 people.

Spoken languages

  • French

Methods of payment

  • Check
  • Credit transfer
Les Plans d'Hotonnes
01260 Haut Valromey Show / Hide location


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