Starting from Orsieres, the Fenetre de Ferret loop is a classic big day out in the mountains. With the Trail Taxi taking care of the drive up to the Col de Grand Saint Bernard with its iconic Hospice, you're off to a good start.
After a quick coffee (you pop into Italy after all), you start by descending a few meters on the road into Italy. At altitude 2356m you see a small farm on the right, and this is where you turn off onto the hiking trail. What lies ahead is a short but spicy hike a bike!
About 400m and 45' later you reach the iconic Fenetre de Ferret, right on the border of Italy and Switzerland. This spot gives you a smashing view towards the wild valley and Lacs de Fenetre. Here the trail starts snaking down in between the funky rock formations.
It's not always super clear where the trail leads, but just follow your gut there's no right or wrong as long as you keep direction towards the lakes. Past the lakes, you take the left trail that heads down towards Plan de la Chaux. It's a technical number at first, but the lower you get the more flow you will find. Don't forget to stop to take in the views!
Arriving in the Val de Ferret you have a few options. Either you take the short way and head back towards La Fouly, taking the trail West of the Dranse River back to Orsieres or you turn it into a Mega Day and head up towards the Grand Col de Ferret.
Option two adds another 800m of climbing to your day, but does send you past the Site Alpage de la Peule where they serve a delicious Croute (oven baked cheese, bread and eggs). From the Alpage, the trail turns steep and you push your bike 80% of the way. But have no fear, it's worth.
Right at the top of the Grand Col de Ferret, you get a magnificent view into the Italian side of Val de Ferret, with Mont Dolent and Mont Blanc in the background. From here there are many options into Italy, but if you plan to make it back before dark you need to head north towards Petit Col de Ferret.
The trail leading there is not for the faint at heart, with some spicy exposure making sure you're on your toes. Before reaching the Petit Col Ferret, you take the right turn towards the unnamed col right below the Chantonet. This saves you from some more climbing and the trail from here is actually nicer.
From here it's all singletrack down towards the Cretet de la Gouille and another pitstop opportunity La Lechere . From here it is a chill ride through La Fouly, on the West Bank of the river all the way back to Orsieres.