Best family hikes with a pushchair in the Aosta Valley

Written by on January 2, 2021 in Hiking and Trekking, Sport and Adventure

Hiking with the pushchair in the Aosta Valley

Great family hikes in the Aosta Valley that you can do with young children or with a pushchair

When we moved to the Aosta Valley in 2014 our younger son Marty was just 18 months old. Being in the Alps after living all our life in cities or the flat countryside of southern England, the Pas de Calais and Lake Balaton, it was daunting enough to think about venturing out for a walk on our own, never mind with a baby who needed to be pushed or carried.

From the bottom of the valley every possible route appears to lead violently up hill and into a wild and rugged looking wilderness. So for ages we stuck more or less to a comfort zone comprising the centre of Aosta, the vineyards of the lower slopes, the Area Verde di Gressan and the cycle path along the Dora River.

It took us a long time to discover that there are of course many beautiful high places which are accessible to parents with a small child and a pushchair. Mainly thanks to lots of kind advice from our local friends we slowly discovered, excursion by excursion, that the mountains are not as inhospitable or intimidating as they first appeared. And that you don’t need ropes and a Sherpa to go up and enjoy the incredible high Alpine forests, lakes and pastures. So in this article we want to share some of our favourite, easy family hikes where the only climbing you have to do is in and out of the car.

To reach the starting points for most of these hikes from down in Aosta it necessary to drive about 20-30 minutes up windy mountain roads. But from there the walks themselves are largely flat, or at least not challengingly steep (maximum ‘dislivello’ – verticle height of around 100m). And the views that await you are utterly magnificent!

Most of these adventures involve an attractive village, an historic castle, a mountain lake, a rifugio, a nice restaurant or a picnic area. The distances and times of the walks given are for one way only.

Valtournenche area, La Magdeleine to Chamois (path number 107)

Altitude 1644 m, dislivello 100 m, distance 4.5 km, duration 1 hour

La_Magdeleine with charming little alpine houses

This walk starts from the charming little hamlet of La Magdeleine, in Valtournenche. Leave the car at the big parking area by the Comune, free of charge. There is also a bar and playground here. Walk down the road to the first bend after the church and from here go up the short stretch of asphalted track (it is a little steep to start with).  Then you reach the dirt road path 107. Follow it until you arrive at the lovely little ski village of Chamois in about 1 hour.

This walk is part of an “educational walk” which is great fun for older kids. There are interactive instalments along the way around the topic of “energy”. How water, fire, Earth and Sun produce energy and how we consume it? There are picnic areas along the track and bars and restaurants in Chamois.

This path in the winter is bashed down and becomes a cross country ski track, snowshoe track or just simply can be used as a walking path in your winter boots.

Torgnon area, Anello Chantorne to Lake Gordza (path number 9, 105, 15)

Dislivello 74 m, distance 2.6 km, duration 50 mins.

Torgnon - Best family hikes with a pushchair in the Aosta Valley

Torgnon is called “Il Paese di sole”. It is situated in a wide valley so this delightful little town enjoys all day sunshine, even during the winter. The walk is a loop so you don’t need to come back on yourself. Leave the car in the carpark at the arrival of the Chantorné chairlift. Follow the dirt road behind the restaurant La Montanara. When you reach a large open field turn left and follow path 9 and 105  until you reach little lake Gordza. Have a rest on the benches or take a picnic blanket and sit next to the water. To return back to your starting point, take path 15 that runs close to the forest. You can find nearby also a fun park called Summer Park that is great for the children, with slides and a play area. It is only open in July & August.

Valpelline area, Bionaz, La Diga di Place Moulin to Rifugio Prayer (path number 9-10)

Dislivello 44 m, distance 2.5 km, duration 1h15 mins.

wonderful autumn walk at a dam in Valpelline - Best family hikes with a pushchair in the Aosta Valley

While you are driving up the windy road to Bionaz, on your right you will see “la diga” (dam). This beautiful walk takes place along the shores of lake Place Moulin, which was created by the dam. Leave your car in the big covered pay car park (where there are also toilet facilities) and start your walk on the dirt road along the lake.

The best time to be here is autumn when the colours of the larch trees are changing and you see their reflection on the surface of the water. It is an easy hike with lovely views over the mountains and with some little waterfalls along the way. You reach the rifugio Prayer after about an hour. There are some tables and benches dotted around where you can have a picnic. Or go down to the lake with your picnic blanket.

Alternatively try the delicious polenta concia in the rifugio restaurant which is open from July to mid September. You might need to book during peak season.

Val d’Ayas area, Col du Joux (Saint Vincent) to Col Tzecore (path number 107)

Altitude 1640m, dislivello 30 m, distance 4.4 km, duration 2h

lake and pine forest in Col de Joux

Col du Joux is about 25 minutes drive from Saint Vincent and is a woody area that links Saint Vincent and Brusson. When you arrive to Col du Joux, leave your car in the big car park. Follow path 107 which is part of  “Il Grande Balconate di Matterhorn”. The walk is nice and easy through a pine forest.  After about an hour you will reach the hamlet of Sommarèse, in Emarèse. If you would like to carry on, turn left and follow the paved road for a little while uphill, until you re-join the path 107, which leads you to Col Tzecore. Here you can have picnic area with beautiful mountain views!

Valle del Lys area, ‘Passegiata della Regina’, Lake Gover & Castle Savoy (Path number 15)

Altitude 1365m, dislivello 132m, distance 2.5 km, duration 30-40 mins.

lake gover and the lovely castle of Savoy

This is the walk Queen Margherita of Savoy used to take when she was staying in her summer residence of Castle Savoy. You can park your car in Gressoney Saint Jean and the first part of the walk will take you to Lake Gover. This is a beautiful area both in the winter and in the summer to spend some time with your family. In the summer there is a big playground for the children, a picnic area and you can admire the peaks of Monte Rosa. While during the winter months the lake freezes over and it is transformed into a natural ice skating rink.

If you carry on walking on the path number 15, in about 20 minutes you arrive to the little parking area of Castle Savoy.  The castle is well worth a visit, as it is one of the nicest fairy-tale castles in the Aosta Valley. It has a cute botanical garden to walk around and guided visits of the castle are available that last about 40 min. There is a lift inside the castle for the pushchair to move between the floors.

Aosta area, Pila to San Grato Chapel (path number 14L)

Dislivello 32m, distance 1.95 km, duration 30 mins.

San Grato chapel up in Pila - Best family hikes with a pushchair in the Aosta Valley

Drive up to Pila. You can also travel up on the telecabina from the end of June to the middle of September. That takes about 20 minutes, the same time as driving up.

When you arrive at the main car park in Pila, near the arrival of the telecabina, go up on the stairs towards the ticket office or walk around the arrival building. Take the dirt road that is signposted “Hotel Lion Noir” which goes under the Pila-Chamolè chairlift. Then follow the dirt road through lovely pine trees until you reach the San Grato Hermitage.

There are a few benches and tables where you can have a picnic and a little area where children can run around safely. The construction of this beautiful little white chapel dates back to XIII. Century. On top of the bell tower there is a 3 meter high statue of the Patron Saint of Aosta that the chapel was dedicated to. It is a short and uncrowded little walk that you can do easily with a pushchair. If you want to go further, path 14L carries on after the chapel. In parts it does get a little bit steeper but can be managed with a off-roading pushchair.

Aosta area, Pila to Turlin (path number 21)

Dislivello 200m, distance 3 km, duration 1h20 min.       

perfect cycling and easy walk through pine forest

If you are driving up to Pila, go to the car parking area of Ciel Bleu Hotel, which is just after the Pila sign, before arriving to the main car park. You can also come up with the telecabina of Aosta-Pila. Turing right after arriving, pass the ticket office, go down the stairs and walk downhill to the modern church. From there follow the path to the car park of Ciel Bleu.

Follow the wide dirt road path 21 and keep walking until you reach Turlin. There are a couple of picnic spots in the forest by the side of the path. Or take a picnic blanket and just choose one of the big  meadows for your lunch. From this walk you can view the ski slopes of Pila and the wonderful peaks of Becca di Nona and Monte Emilius. There are some parts of the walk that are a little steeper, however the gravelled path is wide and comfortable for the pushchair. It is an ideal walk. If you are feeling energetic you can carry on further all the way to lovely little hamlet of Ozein, which takes about 2h30 minutes one way from the car park of Ciel Blue.

Aosta area, Ru Neuf – Gignod, Frazione Roisod to Etroubles, Frazione Echevennoz (path number 1)

Altitude 1182m, dislivello 53 m, distance 8 km, duration 2h30 min.   

sign for walk in Etroubles

This walk is beautiful, following the “ru Neuf”, the old man-made stream that originates from river Artanavaz and was built in 1327 to irrigate the fields.

The path begins in the hamlet of Roisod and continues north to the hamlet of Echevennoz in Etroubles. The path is almost entirely flat and takes you through woods and open space allowing you to admire the town of Gignod from above.

It is a longer walk, however when you get to Echevennoz, you find a lovely Trattoria where you can charge up your batteries with a delicious lunch before you adventure back on another 8km walk. Time flies though, as it is such a beautiful and easy route, also part of the Via Francigena – the Roman pilgrimage road between Canterbury (UK) and Rome.

Val Ferret area, Plan Pincecieux to Lavachey

Altitude 1620m, dislivello 20 m, distance 3.5 km, duration 1h       

lovely easy walk in Val Ferret along the river - Best family hikes with a pushchair in the Aosta Valley

Val Ferret is part of Tour de Monte Bianco – and this area gives a magnificent view of Monte Bianco and its glacier. After leaving the big car park at Plan Pincecieux, just follow the asphalted road straight on until you reach the end at Lavachey. There is a lovely picnic area and also a bar and play area at Plan Pincecieux on your return. You can do this walk during the winter season as they bash the snow down to prepare the cross-country piste, that can be used also by walkers.  It has a relaxing and easy-going atmosphere, however it can get busy during peak seasons as it is a popular destination for all ages. You can also walk from Lavachey further on to some nice restaurants.

See the second part of this article to find out about some similar walks in the amazing Gran Paradiso National Park area of the Aosta Valley!

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