The 5 most beautiful trails in the Léman region

A paradise for runners

As the trail season approaches, running enthusiasts in the Lake Geneva region are gearing up for some of the most beautiful and demanding courses around. Based on the votes of 117 members of the Léman Running community, here are the 20 must-try trails. For the top five, detailed descriptions have been provided and summarized for your reading pleasure.

1. Montreux Trail Festival

The Montreux Trail Festival presents a series of unique trail routes, each offering an unforgettable experience in the spectacular scenery of the Swiss Alps. As a partner race of the Léman Running Trophy, this festival offers various races:

  • Crossing Switzerland Ekiden (390 KM, 25,000 M D+): A majestic ultra-trail starting from Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and crossing the Swiss Alps from east to west. The course passes through 7 cantons, offering a discovery of traditional Switzerland and breathtaking alpine landscapes, with a spectacular finish in Montreux.
  • Crossing Alps (169 KM, 10,000 M D+): Starting at the foot of the Eiger, this race takes participants through the Bernese Alps, combining demanding ascents and spectacular descents, ending at the shores of Lake Geneva.
  • Crossing Highlands (111 KM, 5’400 M D+): This course traverses the Bernese Highlands and the Pays-d’Enhaut, offering magnificent views of the Alps and Lake Geneva.
  • Crossing Sarina (70 KM, 3’800 M D+): Starting from the traditional chalets of Gstaad-Saanenland, this route winds through the varied landscapes of the Alps, including the impressive Gastlosen.
  • Crossing Riviera (32 KM, 1’900 M D+): A dynamic race offering a climb to Rochers-de-Naye and a descent towards Lake Geneva, with breathtaking landscapes.
  • Freddie’s Night (15 KM, 800 M D+ et 8 KM, 300 M D+): These night races, starting in front of the Freddie Mercury statue, combine physical effort with a musical and festive atmosphere, ending on the beach of Clarens.
  • Children’s Races: Courses specially designed for young runners, allowing families to participate in the Montreux Trail Festival experience.

Each race offers a unique experience, blending physical challenge, natural beauty, and Swiss culture. Are you ready to take on these challenges and experience the adventure of the Montreux Trail Festival?

Find out more about the Montreux Trail Festival

2. Sierre Zinal

Known as the “New York Marathon” of mountain races, Sierre-Zinal promises an exceptional adventure in a spectacular alpine setting. Although technically a mountain race and not a trail, it is one of the great nature races.

  • Main course (31 km, D+2200m): Cross the Valais Alps with 2200 meters of ascent and 1100 meters of descent, offering breathtaking scenery and a unique atmosphere.
  • Junior Race (19 km, 690 m D+): From Chandolin to Zinal, an opportunity for young runners to experience mountain trail running.
  • Children’s Races: Courses tailored for the youngest runners, providing an unforgettable family experience.

More about Sierre Zinal

3. Trail Vallée de Joux

Discover the Trail Vallée de Joux, a magnificent nature race in the Vaud Jura, offering varied courses for all levels:

  • 56K: Elevation gain of +2970m. Crossing the Dent de Vaulion, Vallée de Joux, Mont d’Or, and Mont Tendre.
  • 36K: Elevation gain of +1835m. Passage through Mont Tendre with spectacular views.
  • 22K: +804m vertical drop. Discover the Abbey and Mont Tendre.
  • 13K: +450m vertical drop. Shorter route with varied scenery.
  • Children’s loop: A 450m to 500m loop around the Centre Sportif Vallée de Joux.

More details on Trail Vallée de Joux

4. Gruyère Trail Charmey

Le Gruyère Trail Charmey, partner race of the Trophée Léman Running, invites trail enthusiasts to discover its varied courses, each offering a unique experience in the heart of the region’s picturesque trails:

  • 11 km with 800 m D+: A challenging but accessible race.
  • 24 km with 1,500 m D+: For intermediate riders looking for a more substantial challenge.
  • 54 km with 3,800 m D+: For ultratrailers looking for an intense adventure.
  • Kids’ races: Start at 3:00 pm, with four distances adapted to each age group, ranging from 700 to 1700 meters.

This event is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Charmey and experience a memorable day of trail running.

Find out more about the Gruyère Trail Charmey

5. Nocturne des Loups

February 9 saw the third edition of the Nocturne des Loups, a captivating night-time race on Combière soil. This race, run in partnership with Léman Running, is limited to 500 participants and features a 10km course with 340m of ascent. With original entertainment and surprises along the way, this night-time event offers a unique racing experience. Disguises are welcome, and runners will be greeted at the finish line with mulled wine. Sign up now for a unique night-time adventure!

Explore the Nocturne des Loups

Other noteworthy trails

In addition to the top five, the Lake Geneva region offers many other magnificent and demanding trails. Here are a few notable mentions, in no particular order:

Prepare for your next challenge

Whether you’re an experienced ultrarunner or a beginner looking to discover the thrill of trail running, the Léman Running calendar offers a challenge for everyone. From trail races to triathlons and obstacle courses, there’s a wide range of events to prepare for your next big challenge. Join the Léman Running community and discover your next adventure.

This article is based on the votes of 117 members of the Léman Running community, reflecting their favorite trails in the region featured on the calendar and within 42.195 km of a shore of Lake Geneva. Start planning your next trail adventure today and immerse yourself in the beauty and challenge of the Lake Geneva region.

Explore the complete Léman Running calendar

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