Trail running

Trail running

From Col de la Forclaz to Col de Balme

This loop to Col de Balme follows marked trails just a stone’s throw from the French-Swiss border formed by the famous pass.

Run this magnificent single track starting from the Col de la Forclaz with its impressive panorama stretching from Trient to Chamonix. After warming up along the bisse (ancient waterway) for about 500m/.3 mi, the track descends through the forest to Trient River. Head for Les Tseppes, indicated by a white sign and start your ascent. A steep path leads you through dense forest, then becomes gentler allowing you to speed up. A short round trip takes you to the Iron Cross, the highest point in the trail, where the path is rockier and slightly exposed. When you reach the summit, take in the breathtaking view of the Mont Blanc and then join the trail to the Col de Balme hut. Just a few steps from the French border, the route winds between blueberry trees offering an incredible view of Trient Glacier. After a fast descent, return to Trient-Combe bisse and a trip back on the flat.

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Turn-by-turn directions

From the Col de la Forclaz, follow the Trient-Combe bisse for 500 m/ .3 mi before embarking on the first descent towards Le Peuty. After this point, signs indicate the ascent to Les Tseppes through the forest. At the end of your ascent, continue towards the Croix de Fer, which is the highest point of the trail. Once here, stop to take a look at the surrounding landscape, then retrace your steps and continue to the Col de Balme and its refuge, close to the French-Swiss border. A long traverse then takes you to the Chalet des Grands, followed by a steep descent to the Glacier du Trient snack bar. From there, follow a wide, flat path along the Trient-Combe bisse back to your starting point at the Col de la Forclaz. 

Col de la Forclaz - Bisse Trient-Combe - Le Peuty - Les Tseppes - Croix de Fer - Col de Balme - Refuge du Col de Balme - Chalet des Grands - Buvette du Glacier du Trient - Bisse Trient-Combe - Col de la Forclaz

Start: Col de la Forclaz (1526 m)
Destination: Col de la Forclaz (1526 m)

Author's recommendation

The start of the trail at the Col de la Forclaz is the perfect place for an ice cream after the run.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    2342 m 1302 m

  • Ascent

    1283 m

  • Descent

    1284 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 4 .0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 4 .0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Expérience

    Bewertung: 4 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 4 .0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

Take the train from anywhere in Switzerland to Martigny, followed by the bus from Martigny to Col de la Forclaz.


Take the A9 highway to Martigny, then continue on the Route de la Forclaz toward Trient.


Free parking is available at the Col de la Forclaz.


We recommend: 

  • Good footwear
  • Weather-appropriate clothing: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • Hat or peak cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Hiking poles

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at your own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.


For all trails:

  • Use marked trails only and take note of all signposting – for both your own safety as well as that of grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please treat other trail users, as well as the plants and animals, with respect.


For mountain trails:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at high altitudes. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan your trail carefully: take the fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season into consideration.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In case of uncertain weather conditions, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Take note of warning signs indicating the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.


The tourist office in Trient offers information regarding trail running in the region.


SwissTopo Maps 1:25,000: 1324 Barberine/1344 Col de Balme