Mont Joly

  • Mt Blanc - © William Mackesy
  • North along the Ridge - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy

Key information: Mont Joly

  • A fine day walk to Mont Joly, the high point of the first ridge to the west of Mont Blanc.
  • An interesting ascent through natural forest, flower-filled meadows, past old farmsteads, takes you to the high ridge, with its astounding views of the Mont Blanc massif. A demanding scramble gets you to the peak, which enjoys glorious 360˚ views.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating83
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest10
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points5
  • Total rating83
  • Note: Neg: ski area mess; resorts in valleys

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 5-7 hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,525m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
North along the Ridge - © William Mackesy


A fine walk to the best view onto the western flank of the Mont Blanc massif.

Start at the roadhead at the hamlet of Le Planay (circa 1,400m). The well-marked trail climbs steadily (but fairly steeply) through beautiful meadows and natural mixed forest, below cliffs and high ridges.

At the right time of year, you will enjoy a miraculous selection of alpine flowers, including perfect gentians and cluster-headed little orchids.

Your arrival at the ridge will extract a gasp, as the great agglomeration of snowfields, glaciers and vast cliff-faces appears above the grassy ridge-top.

A strenuous climb takes you to the high ridge and the marvels of the all-round view from the pyramidal Mont Joly.

You can retrace your steps or, if you have two cars, circle round to descend the next ridge to the north of your ascent, to the roadhead at Le Planellet.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Guidebooks/maps/background reading

Suggest books and maps



Other books



Easily bought in the area.  The IGN 3531 (Megève) walking map is excellent.


Stanfords:  An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).



Best times to walk/weather


Best times to walk

May to October.  July and August can get crowded.


Generally fine in season, but come prepared for unpredictable mountain weather.


For detailed weather information, have a look at: or


Getting there/transport/permits/fees

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By car to the roadheads, in small villages to the east of Megève.


No permits needed.



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See Walk Summary above.

Possible problems, health, other warnings

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·        Mountain weather: rain, severe cold and wind are possible at any time of year. Come prepared.

·        Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.

·        Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.


See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.


Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.


Make sure you have appropriate insurance.


Guided or independent?

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You can do this walk independently



Hiring a local knowledgeable guide can enhance your experience




Abundant in the area: hotels, pensions, chalets, camping.


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Other information and tips


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Useful websites and information


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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks

There is endless walking in the area: just read the map, choose the route that suits, and go!  The only downside can be ski mess: try to escape the ski areas if you can.


The justly famous Tour de Mont Blanc (TMB).

Other activities

© William Mackesy

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© William Mackesy...

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