“An "easy" loop allowing a visit to a small lake and with a great view of Mont Blanc.
— Tad Davis
Lake · Views · Wildflowers
This loop starts with easy hiking along the river before a big climb and then more easy hiking to visit Lac Noir
before dropping and opening to view of Mont Blanc.
Start at the parking area on the north side of the river L'Arve in Les Houches. Head up Route de Coupeau with the river on your right. Soon you'll reach the dirt access road Chemin des Eaux Rousses
on your right.
The access road will turn into the L'Arve River Trail - Les Houches to Les Bossons
which follows the L'Arve river. A short distance from the start there is a split in the trail, stay right (though a left will bring you back to the trail). Cross the Torrent de Lapaz. Soon after you'll reach a bridge to your right to Los Bossons signifying the end of this segment of the trail.
On your left is the Parc de Merlet
trail. This trail comprises a steep climb and begins with a series of many switchbacks immediately. Finally, the trail will head west and straighten somewhat. You'll then cross Torrent de Lapaz before reaching the settlement of Merlet.
From here head north on the Lac Noir
trail. The trail will climb steeply with some small switchbacks. After a short way take a left at the intersection. The trail will now flatten as it hugs the contours of the mountain. At the next intersection head straight, descending. You'll soon coming to another intersection, head right. After some smooth hiking, left at the next intersection followed closely by a right. Here you'll pass the small, dark, Lac Noir
. At the T, head left descending steeply. The trail will end at the paved road Route de la Flatiere.
Head down the paved road a short distance and watch for the parking area on your right. Here you'll find the Le Bettey to Morand
trail. At the only intersection, head left and you'll soon reach Morand and a dirt access road.
Continue down the Chemin de Morand, a short dirt access road
watching for a "logging" road on your right. Take this right onto Les Houches 19
which will end on the paved road a short distance from where you started this loop.