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Mike Ambrose with Run the Alps shirt and poles at his belly
Trail Running with Run the Alps around Annecy, France

Trail Running with Run the Alps around Annecy, France

Jun 14, 2020

Run the Alps now offers private guiding for 1-3 days, around the Alps. Our guide network reaches from Switzerland’s Berner Oberland to Italy’s Dolomites to Chamonix, France– and everywhere in between.

One of those great places to trail run in the Alps is Annecy, France. Called the “Venice of the Alps,” thanks to the centuries-old canals that wind their way through the center of the old village, Annecy and its beautiful lake are ringed by mountains and forests with over 100 kilometers of fun, quiet single track trails. After you’re done running, you can head downtown and wander the cobblestone pedestrian-only area, then pick from one of Annecy’s dozens of excellent restaurants and sidewalk cafes. 

Annecy is home to our Senior Guide, Bruno Yates, who shared this overview of one of our favorite places to run. If you’d like to schedule time with Bruno or anyone else in our Guide Network, please see Guide Booking, here.

By the way, Bruno really knows his local Savoyarde cuisine, too, so he’s an excellent guide in that domain, as well!

Trail running in the mountains around Annecy offers something quite special. While many Alpine regions can boast of a great network of trails and outstanding scenery — and in this respect Annecy is no exception — far fewer can also offer the post-run dining experience that is available in Annecy’s gorgeous old town or the ability to take a refreshing post-run dip in the clear blue waters of Lake Annecy, right next to the town.

Stephanie Lefferts Annecy
Run the Alps Tour Manager Stephanie Lefferts enjoying the trails high above Annecy, France. (Photo: Mike Ambrose.)

There are many trail options to suit all levels of ability or motivation. You can run to the top of Mont Veyrier on steep and technical trails, then enjoy a ridge traverse with unparalleled views from the plunging cliffs to the lake below. For a mellower day, I like to run the quiet and wooded trails that criss-cross the mountain of Semnoz, on the other side of the lake. If you’re looking for a challenge, I think it’s fun to tackle La Tournette, the principal peak in the area where the trails cleverly skirt the steep limestone cliffs to reach the rocky summit. From the top, one can take in views of Mont Blanc in the distance.

Mike Ambrose Annecy
Clouds hide Lake Annecy during an early morning trail run on the Veyrier, Annecy, France. (Photo: Mike Ambrose.)

The waters of Lake Annecy are clean, crystal clear and ideal for a refreshing dip after the exertions of the day. Most of the trails finish right on the lake, making this an easy proposition. Annecy’s old town center dates from medieval times. The town is brimming with cafes and restaurants where one can find many traditional specialities from the French Department, or state, of Haute Savoie. There is a passion for regional produce, including many locally produced wines and beers. Last but not least, the ice-cream vendors rival the gelaterias of Italy!

Run the Alps Senior Guide Bruno Yates (left) is literally at home on the trails around Annecy, France. Here, he takes a break with a Run the Alps group above Chamonix, France. (Photo: Bruno Yates.)

Situated on the western edge of the French Alps, Annecy is easily accessible with highway links to Geneva, Chamonix and Lyon, France. It’s just 30 minutes from Geneva with its international airport, and one hour from the trail running mecca of Chamonix. I hope to run with you here some day soon!

Run the Alps Ambassador Mike Ambrose gets some air above Annecy. (Photo: Mike Ambrose.)