The Aosta Valley: in Val Ferret, one step away from heaven
At the foot of Mont Blanc, north of the Courmayeur basin, lies Val Ferret, which together with Val Vény forms the eastern geographical limit of the massif and provides access to the Swiss side.
As you enjoy a walk along the valley, on the left you can admire some of the highest and most majestic peaks in the Alps: the Dent du Géant, the Grandes Jorasses, the Aiguille de Triolet and Mont Dolent, while on the right, the slopes of Mont de La Saxe are decidedly gentler.
In summer, mountain enthusiasts can enjoy a wide choice of itineraries, with everything from walks, suitable for everyone, to mountain biking and horse riding, through to mountaineering routes, including an tempting trail at the Dent du Géant. Its unmistakable profile attracts anyone visiting Courmayeur and Pointe Helbronner to admire the spectacular scenery offered by the towering mountains.
The climb up the normal route is facilitated by a series of fixed ropes that allow many mountaineers to take on the Dent du Géant. You can also take the first cable car of the day. If you are not sure whether you will be able to climb back down the same day, you can stay overnight at the Torino Hut.
The important thing is that you are experienced and ideally also accompanied by a mountain guide to ensure a safe climb.
A trekker's paradise
Val Ferret is also the ideal destination for anyone who loves trekking: an easy and well-signposted trail takes you from Courmayeur to the Col du Petit Ferret. After crossing Entreves, you will leave your car and take the dirt track, passing the Dora di Val Ferret and, shortly afterwards, entering the forest. Once you have made your way through the forest, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Val Ferret, Val Vény and Mont Blanc.
This 15-kilometre route can be divided into stages, thanks to the three shelters found along the way: the first is Walter-Bonatti Refuge, which offers splendid views of the Dent du Géant, the second is Elena Refuge, after Arnouva, and the last is the Bertone Refuge.
Cross-country skiing and snow biking in winter
Val Ferret is an unmissable winter holiday destination. If you love snow-covered landscapes and activities in the snow, you are sure to be spoiled for choice, with opportunities to try out cross-country skiing, fat biking, snow biking and snowboarding.
Courmayeur is home to two ski schools, which makes it ideal for beginners, and two slopes perfect for adventure, that of Chécrouit and that of Val Veny.
The richness of Val Ferret, from fauna to flora
Val Ferret is also a Special Protection Area, that is, an area located on a migration route, established with the aim of protecting birdlife.
Starting from the village of La Palud and ending at Col Ferret, 81 bird species have been identified, including some increasingly rare ones, such as the golden eagle, bearded vulture, red-crowned owl, ptarmigan, chough, black grouse, black woodpecker and red-backed shrike.
It is also home to the highest ibex colony in Europe, and you are very likely to spot chamois, roe deer, deer, hares and marmots: there is even a small group of albinos. The flora is equally spectacular. Adding to all the flowers and plants you will find along the trails, be sure to visit the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden, among the highest in Europe. Set up in 1984 by the Donzelli-Gilberti Foundation to protect the Mont Blanc flora, it also hosts species from the Eastern Alps, Asia and North America.