NOBO, SOBO, Which way to go ?
Like most great treks, the HexaTrek is seasonal.
While there is nothing to stop you from hiking any section at any time, hiking the whole of the HT can only be imagined in summer, to avoid the late snowfalls in the Alps and Pyrenees.
The departure date will change according to the direction of your walk.
Please note that all this information is for guidance only and will depend on the snow conditions which vary from year to year.
SOBO, south bound, the sun route.
Departure: May to June
This is the instinctive direction for most HexaTrekkers, and let's be honest the most logical and dramatic.
Setting off from Wissembourg, 500km of hilly trails will help you build the "trail legs" you'll need to conquer the Alpine peaks that lie in wait.
The pleasure of the Sobo is also to finish in Hendaye, after weeks spent in the Pyrenean escarpments, the view of the Atlantic Ocean marks a real end of the trail and a feeling of having really arrived at the end of something (although it is always possible to continue on the Compostela route towards Spain!)
But there is a catch: the Sobo forces you to go fast. If the beginning is calm, the end will be a sprint, because the snow in the Pyrenees can start in October!
So don't hang around for the whole of your thru-hike or you'll be faced with the unthinkable: the impossibility of finishing the HexaTrek.
With an average of 30km per day, it will take you 3 and a half months to complete the trek.
If you start in June, you are wide open. With a low average of 20km per day, it will take 5 months, still possible if you start at the beginning of May, but we are on the very low average.
NOBO, North bound, the way of the sportsman
If the Sobo is the instinctive, the Nobo is the sporty.
You start directly in the Pyrenees, with only a few days of walking before starting the big changes in altitude.
You might as well say that your legs should already be in shape at this stage.
Once the Pyrenees have been swallowed, you will be able to take a breather in the Vercors before having to dive back into the massifs in the Alps.
And of course the final long walk to Wissembourg will not have the drama of the arrival of the Sobo, but will resemble a sweet goodbye where the autumnal colours of the Vosges will parade like the end credits of your adventure.
If it is recommended to be much more fit and confident in this sense, it is also the sense that allows you not to stress yourself to arrive quickly. The Vosges will never be so covered in snow that it blocks your path, so you can go at your own pace.
With an average of 30km per day, it will take you 3 and a half months to complete the trek. If you start in July, you are wide open. With a low average of 20km per day, it will take 5 months, still possible by starting in mid-June, but we are on the very low average.
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Less well known than its closest neighbours, the Vanoise and the Ecrins, this massif is nevertheless one of the must-sees on the HexaTrek.
The Mont Thabor or the Lac des Cerces are simply sublime and offer an unforgettable experience of nature.
This region, even if it has never had a "Natural Park" label, is one of the most beautiful in France (according to the Savoyards). The Mont Blanc massif is a must-see, the Aiguille du Midi and the surrounding glaciers are a must-see.
Sixt-Fer-A-Cheval with its thousands of waterfalls is also on the route.
Ballon Vosges Regional Park
Also known as the High Vosges, this region is full of emblematic peaks such as the Honeck or the Grand Ballon. Lakes with crystal-clear waters, such as those of Lac Blanc or Schiessrothried, will guide you and villages with typical Alsatian colours, such as Riquewihr, will give you a warm welcome.