Hikes for dogs
HIKING SUGGESTIONS IN CANINE COMPANY
For those who visit the Chamonix valley, accompanied by their faithful four-legged companions, there are many hiking itineraries for all levels of ability.
Dogs are most welcome, but it is essential that their owners respect the regulations and the boundaries of the Nature Reserves which are prohibited to dogs.
Hiking with dogs: Public transport, lifts and cog railways
Dogs are accepted on all public transport (buses and trains) within the Chamonix valley, but they must be kept on a lead. A ticket is required on the train (50% of normal rate). Certain breeds of dog must wear a muzzle on public transport and the controller may refuse access to owners not respecting this requirement.
Dogs are accepted on all the lifts and cog railways with the exception of the two sections of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Index chairlift (above the Flégère).
Hiking with dogs: Respect regulations and the environment
It is very important that dogs stay on the established trails. If they leave the path and go off in all directions, in addition to endangering themselves, they may scare away certain animals, sometimes causing them to permanently abandon their habitat and their offspring.
Dogs are prohibited in nature reserves, even on a leash. A hiking map is available from the Tourist Offices of the Valley and the limits of the reserves are clearly indicated. One can also find out about hiking conditions from the Office de Haute Montagne in Chamonix
Herds of cows, sheep and goats are present on certain mountain pastures. In some cases, to protect the animals from predators, specially trained guard dogs remain with the animals. When approaching a herd, dogs must be kept on a leash, and the herd should be given as wide a berth as possible.
Guard dogs are not aggressive towards hikers or dogs on a leash, but one should avoid startling or scaring them.
Hiking with dogs: adapting to its level of fitness
Although dogs will invariably follow their masters anywhere without making a fuss, it is important to consider the dog's physical capacities when planning a hike.
Here are some good practices to ensure the animal's well-being and safety:
- Make sure the dog has frequent access to water, especially in hot weather.
- Moisten it from time to time to cool it down when temperatures are high.
- In cold conditions, remember to cover the dog and protect it during breaks.
- Pay attention when crossing obstacles that could be perilous for the animal. Dogs will follow their guide, so the owner must anticipate, be attentive and guide it correctly.
- Dogs should not be allowed to take off at their will. If they pick up the scent of a trail, they may find themselves facing a dangerous animal or in a perilous posture like the edge of a cliff.
HIKES FOR ALL LEVELS OF ABILITY
Alongside the Arve river at the foot of the valley, there are numerous easy trails where dogs can be walked with or without a leash (depending on the location). There is always the possibility of taking the train or the bus for the return journey.
The hikes on the Northern and Southern Petits Balcons offer beautiful outings along the flanks of the valley, perfectly adapted to the whole family.