Grand Cunay Top of the world on the Marchairuz

Start your walk at the crest of the Marchairuz pass (Col du Marchairuz). The trail starts just across the road from the Hotel Restaurant du Marchairuz.

A great stop for some traditional Swiss cooking once you've finished your walk.

On my walk in late May, I simply walked straight out to Grand Cunay and back. But below I've provided a map that includes a possible alternate return route (as yet untested by me.)

This is an route includes a possible alternate return route beginning at Monts de Biere Derriere. The link below with provide you with a full map.

This walk takes you through wonderful diverse terrain. The nature of the trail varies from rough root covered ground, to stony dirt roads to grasslands as you climb.

Orchis mascula - Early Purple Orchid

These Early Purple Orchids were everywhere on the Grand Cunay during the third week in May when we made this hike. Note the distinctive spotted foliage.

The trail begins in the forest, passing over many exposed tree roots. This is a busy path in the summer months, but when we walked it in the early evening, we had it very much to ourselves.

Many options for even longer hikes to Mont Tendre, the town of Le Pont down below on Lake Joux or the Col du Mollendruz near the beautiful medieval village of Romainmotier.
Carlina acaulis - Dwarf Thistle

The Dwarf Thistle is a is an almost stemless thistle that grows close to the ground on chalk grasslands, especially in pastures that are used for grazing cattle.

Petasites albus - White Butterbur

In the middle ages, this widespread European plant from the daisy family was thought to ward off the plague. The name Butterbur is believed to have come from the practice of wrapping butter in the plants large rhubarb like leaves to help preserve the butter and keep it clean.

Large heart-shaped leaves of the White Butterbur
Valeriana supina - Dwarf Valarian
Gentiana verna - Spring Gentian

Two thirds of the way to the Grand Cunay, you'll come to the Chalet / Alpage at the Monts de Bière Derrière.

This is the spot where you can take choose a slightly longer alternate return route if desired.
Alpage at the Monts de Bière Derrière
Beautiful classic mountain dairy farm or "alpage" where Swiss cows spend their summer in idyllic patures.

The last part of the climb to the top of the Grand Cunay is steep. But the magnificent views in all directions at the top provide an ample reward.

The alpage at the Grand Cunay. They've helpfully provided a big emergency number on the side just incase. Not sure if this is a reassuring or alarming, but some years back we actually witnessed a Swiss helicopter emergency rescue along this trail.

Some days, Mont Blanc just seems to be showing off! This photo was taken at around halfway up the hill to the Grand Cunay.


Route as illustrated in this presentation, but with an alternate return path that we have not yet tested.

Trail Crossing at Monts de Biere Derriere

This is the point where you could choose the alternate return path heading off to the left. Note that there is no indication on this sign post of where that trail leads. But it does appear to be the trail on the map which leads off towards Monts de Biere Devant.