Le Chenaillet 2650 m above Montgenèvre

Viewing Mont Chaberton from Le Chenaille 2650 m

Le Chenaillet (2650 m) is a summit situated between the Valley of la Cerveyrette River and the village of Cervières in the south and Mongenèvre ski resort in the upper Valley of La Durance in the north.

The Chenaillet Massif is volcanic, and as an example of Alpine oceanic crust it is geologically of great interest.

There’s a Sentier Geologique with information about the mountain’s geology. Even if you are not a geologist, the mountain and the hike offer a great panorama of the Cottian Alps and beyond. In the north, the nearby Mont Chaberton dominates the landscape.

Several paths lead to the summit from both valleys. We opted to ascend from a parking named Les Aittes (1900m) a few km from Cervières along the narrow but paved D89T road. In fact, it is just a few hundred meters from the hamlet of La Chau (1904 m) and its parking by the road, so both can be used.

We started along the Sentier Geologique, a very well-maintained trail to Lac des Sarailles (2236m). A side trail circled the lake. From here, we ascended rapidly to Cabane des Douaniers between Sommet des Anges (2459 m) and Le Chenaillet. We were on a ridge that connected these two mountains. At the crossroads and a signpost, we continued east, along the trail that went to Le Chenaillet. It was still marked as part of the geological trail and Montgenèvre trail running itinerary. Eventually the terrain became rockier and the trail steeper. Some sections were a bit exposed.

On the summit, there were viewpoint indicators to help recognize the surrounding peaks.

As we had planned a loop trail, we headed east, descending along a steep and rocky trail (signpost at the summit pointing towards le Col Vert). For extra security, one short section was equipped with a cable, not difficult at all in dry summer weather.

We came to a clear col (2519 m), albeit unnamed, and a trail intersection. Le Col Vert was about 500 m further to the north at the Italian border. We forked right, heading south towards La Cerveyrette Valley.

The initial descent was steep so walking poles were of great help. The trail temporarily levelled off, then descended steeply again several times. There were several other paths en route. We followed the one with yellow markings, indicated with red colour in maps.

We passed Lac Noir (2261 m), then abandoned bergerie ruins called les Franches. From here, we descended further to la Chau, a derelict hamlet where nevertheless a few houses were being restored. We walked to the D89T road and to our starting point.

Distance: 11,3 km

Climb: 750 m

Duration: 4h 30 active

Map: 3536 OT Briançon Serre-Chevalier Mongenèvre

Chenaillet loop trail track


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