Just half a day is enough to do the roundtrip but a whole day allows you to enjoy the mountain pastures and why not have lunch at the refuge which is made up of “stables” built against each other (50 beds in three dormitories).
For experienced hikers, extension at the Col de la Terrasse (2,648m) in 1h45 (way up only), Dinosaur traces by the Col de la Terrasse in 2h30 (one way only) or to Emosson lake by the Passet pass (balcony path equipped with handrails) in 1h30 (one way only).
There are several paths leading to the refuge. I suggest the loop from the Buet parking, return via Vallorcine (preferably to be carried out this way around).
Take the signposted trail “Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard” across the parking lot of Buet. The trail crosses the chalets of la Poya and then climbs into the forest.
Within 15 min, refreshment bar of the Eau de Bérard cascade. Follow the stream on its right bank to an intersection allowing you to cross the stream (one leaves the path of La Pierre à Bérard refuge) towards “Tré-les-Eaux” then follow “Les Granges”. At Les Granges, (restored pasture houses), one must be alert, take if need be, the trail that progresses above the houses. The way to Loriaz is not indicated. Take the opposite direction at Tré-les-Eaux (right facing the mountain). The path then leads to a dirt road for about 200 m and then progresses on the edge of a forest (the way to Loriaz is now well indicated). One crosses the river of Le Nant de Loriaz. Climbing up through the pine trees, you see breathtaking views of the Grands, Tour, and Argentière glaciers, the Drus and the Aiguilles Rouges.
When you exit the forest floor, you get to the pasture where the Hérens cow bells herald the refuge. On the left, you will see a metal cross placed on a boulder.
The return can be done by Vallorcine. Retrace your steps, then follow the direction of Vallorcine at the junction Vallorcine/Le Buet. It’s a long way down through the forest with beautiful apertures on the valley; allow a good hour to reach Vallorcine. At the locality named “Le Crot” you can take the road to join Vallorcine train station, then cross the railway tracks and take the stagecoach trail to get to the Buet parking lot. (Allow half an hour between Vallorcine and Buet stations).
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