The Massif de la Chartreuse is a mountain area
northern to Grenoble (railway station, youth hostel).
It is better known because of its distiller and the monastery.
The rocks are made of limestone, the water has dug large caves in the rocks. In the south and east, it has a steep slope. The most of the mountain area belong to the Parc naturel régional de Chartreuse, at the east part exist the Réserve Naturelle des Hauts de Chartreuse. There are some huts in the proteced area, bivouacing is allowed from 7 pm to 9 am. At the plateau, drinking water is rare, so you have to fill up your bottles at every source.
The trail starts at the bank of the Isère-river in Grenoble. There is a cable railway to the Bastille at the other side. The waymark red-white (GR9) ascends the slope, leads up the stairway and passes some defences. It crosses a bridge and a port (which is closed during the night) and reaches a car parking. The GR9 follows a broad and sunny dirt road in direction of the Mont Jalla summit. Before it reaches the top, it turns right and follows a rocky foot path. After reaching la Bergerie, the GR9 leads on a dirt road to the Col de Vence. Here you can fill up your bottles, water is rare at the limestone mountains. A small path ascends at the other side of the road. It leads to the Fort St. Eynard. It was builded to protect Grenoble. It is situated 1000m above the city and is a nice viewpoint to the alps. The GR9 follows the ridge, passes some other defences and descends to Sappey. In the village, the GR9 turns right before the town hall. First, the GR9 follows a forest road, then it ascends in zig-zag in direction of Chamchaude. The GR9 passese the Habert de Chamchaude. It is a small hut, a possible overnight accommodation. The GR9 turns right and leads northwards. It climbs down to a pass and ascends to the alp l'Emeindra du Dessous. The path lead through pastures and forest to the Col de la Faila. The next overnight accommodation is the Abri Pleynon. It is situated near the road to the Col du Coq. You have to take water from a stream downside the road (Don't forget your water filter).
Abri Pleynon-Abri l'Alpette
The ascend to the Col du Coq is effected on the road. The pass is closed during wintertime, the surrounding area is used for skiing. The GR9 turns left, leads through forest and pastures. It passes a source and reaches the Col du Ayes. A small path ascends the slope in zig-zag and passes a cave. Now the path gets rocky, it crosses a small bridge, climbs up some rocks and leads through small rock crevices. It reaches the north side of Dent des Crolles, here you can walk to the summit. The GR9 leads in direction of the Cabane de Bellefont. During summertime, it is occupated by the sheperd. The GR9 ascends to the Col de Bellefont(1906m). It is the highest pass in the Massif de la Chartreuse. After the GR9 traverses the pass, it leads through pastures, passes another hut of a sheperd and leads in a forest. At Alpettaz, it follows a rocky path, passes the Alpette de la Dame (sheperd hut) and descends to the Vallon de Pratce. It climbs up to the Pas de l'Echelle and crosses a plateaux. Afterwards, it passes a source and leads in a forest. It reaches the Abri l'Alpette. The hut is a old barn, there are some benchs and a water tap (sic). It is feeded by a source near the hut.
The next morning, we left the GR9 at the Col de l'Alpette. A small path leads in direction of Pas de Barres. The path ascends the slope, there are some rocky steps, later you have to use a latter and some iron steps. At the plateaux, the path leads in direction of the summit. Approx. 1km before you reach the Mont Granier, another path turns left. It follows the ridge westwards, you have a nice view down to the valley. Later the path descends in zag-zag and downwards leads through forest . In la Plange you join the GR9 again. The GR9 leads to Épernay, here is a small supermarekt, you can buy bread and other food. A PR follows alongside the road, at a bridge, it turns right and afterwards, it leads alongside the stream. The is a rest point at the bank of the stream. Down in the valley, the PR joins the road again. It leads to le Pont du Lac, here it turns left, crosses the stream and leads to St-Pierre d'Entremont. Here is another supermarket, a post office and tourist office. The stream divides the village, the left part belongs to the Departement Savoie, the right part to the Departement Isère.
The PR crosses the stream at the Eglise St-Alexis. It follows the tarred road into the valley. At the power station, it crosses another stream and ascends the slope. Because there are not Gîte or huts until the Col de Boviant, you have to use a tent or a bivouac sack.
Château-St-Pierre de Chartreuse
The forest road leads in direction of Château. In the village, a tarred road leads to the car park Parking de la Combe des Eparres. A rocky path ascends the small valley, after approx. 1h it reaches pastures. It ascends to the Col de Boviant. Here is a simple shelter and a source. The Tour de Chartreuse turns right and descends the slope. It traverses the slope, there a few viewpoints, you will see the monastery. At the beginning of the valley, the Tour de Chartreuse turns left and leads on the road to the Porte de l'Enclos. It crosses the river and ascends the slope and leads to La Diat. Here is the Gîte Les 4 Chemins. In St-Pierre de Chartreuse exists a supermarket and a baker (10min to walk).
St-Pierre de Chartreuse-Grenoble
The trail leads alongside the road D512 in direction of the Col de Porte. Behind St-Hugues de Chartreuse, it turns right, follows a dirt road to le Pendu and descends. It crosses the road und leads to a saw mill. At le Fontail, it turns right and ascends the slope. Afterwards, a broad forest road leads alongside the road to the Col de Porte. The surrounding area is used for skiing during wintertime, there are some ugly overnight lodgings and cableways. The Traversée de Chartreuse leads to Sappey. Here, the GR9 leads back to Grenoble.