Slip on a good pair of shoes, fill your flask and pack a sandwich. Let’s get this adventure started! A favoured destination of the Genevois for the last 100 years, the mountain that resides peacefully at Geneva’s foot, is an iconic attraction for hikers, athletes, tourists and dreamers alike. All persons seeking nature and fresh air will find their peace amongst the pine or beech trees. The deer and the chamois found their refuge, the wolf was observed and filmed for the first time a few years ago, and the lynx sometimes leaves a conspicuous footprint. But rest assured, they are far too distinguished to show themselves during the day.
Mountain climbing, biking and walking make it a pilgrimage site when the sun is smiling, and it is not unusual to see a flock of paragliders jumping from the side of this mountain, lingering in the agitated air on a sweet summer morning.
Here are two different paths that are known for long walks:
1. Le Pas de l’Echelle: it’s easy to get there, just hop on Bus 8 towards Veyrier-Douane and hop off at the last stop. A short stroll will lead you either to the cable car (you can park your car) or to the foot of the mountain where you will find directions for your hike. If you choose this trail, you will get to walk through the village of Monnetier (one hour by foot), which is located in the crevice between the Petit and Grand Salève, then you will climb up to Treize Arbres (another 1.5 hour walk), located above the cable car arrival area.
2. Orjobet: Meeting point at the Coin parking, just above Archamps. Shorter but steeper, it is favoured by connoisseurs and sportsmen who climb it and dash down, leaving behind a hard day’s work. Starting on the North West side of the mountain, it takes 1.5 hours and provides an ideal spot for a refreshing break, a suspended esplanade with a splendid panoramic view, just before crossing the magnificent Orjobet grotto.
The back of Mount Salève has some jewels: a Tibetan Buddhist centre placed under the spiritual authority of the Dalai Lama, the Diable grotto (Devil’s cave) and the Grand Piton which peaks at 1,379 meters and offers spectacular views.
The balcony of Geneva is admired by artists: writers, painters and composers have climbed its paths, breathed its pure air, succumbed to its blue horizons, and allowed their imaginations to travel – much to our greatest delight.
Photography © Vincent Deprez
Further info below