Parc National des Ecrins

Hiking in the Ecrins, 8000m of ascent

The Tour des Écrins is the only place on the route where the HexaTrek allows itself a "little diversions" of 140km to see the best of this place.

Created in 1973, the Ecrins National Park is the highest natural park in Europe

Landscapes shaped by glaciers carving deep valleys, decorated with lakes, passes and waterfalls. The protected heart of the national park, accessible only on foot, is populated by various animal species such as eagles, chamois, ibex, marmots and some 1800 varieties of flowers and plants.

The most beautiful landscapes of the Ecrins National Park


Between the Northern and Southern Alps, the Ecrins massif is a vast high mountain area (150 peaks over 3000 m), compact, abrupt, wild, tempered by vast expanses of alpine pastures barely touched by the boldest larches heralding the coniferous forests


The HexaTrek itinerary mainly uses the GR®54 to do 3/4 of the tour of the Ecrins.

On the route of this wild hiking trail, you can discover magical and preserved places.


The plateau of Emparis


The plateau offers fabulous landscapes: flowery meadows as far as the eye can see in spring, with the Meije and its glaciers as a backdrop, all at an altitude of around 2000 m. An ocean of greenery, calm and restful, in the heart of the steep relief of the Oisans.


Lac Lérié and Lac Noir, nestled on the Emparis plateau, are magnificent viewpoints facing the north face of La Meije and the Râteau (3,809 m)



La Grave


Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, at an altitude of 1,450 metres, in the heart of the Écrins massif, La Grave is a balcony overlooking the mythical summit of the Meije


Don't expect to see small wooden chalets crammed into the narrow streets: here, stone dominates. 

These old-fashioned alleys, which weave a tight network between the houses, will lead you to the top of the village, to the lovely church of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption.



Lake Lauvitel


The largest lake in the Écrins Park At an altitude of 1530 m, this emerald mirror set among green peaks is one of the most beautiful sites in the Oisans.


The formation of the natural water reservoir occurred about 4000 years ago. It is due to a rock fall which was added to a glacial moraine already existing at the bottom of the valley. 

A pile of fragmented blocks testifies to an ancient cataclysm that blocked the valley.



Lake of La Muzelle


The Muzelle lake is a glacial lake located at an altitude of 2105 m in the Vénéon valley (Écrins massif), at the foot of the Muzelle rock.


A haven of peace, the shores of the lake of La Muzelle will offer you one of the most beautiful natural settings of the Tour des Écrins.

Where to sleep in the Ecrins, Huts and Refuges


The Ecrins National Park authorizes bivouacs for hikers but under certain conditions: 


  • the tent must be small and of a size that does not allow standing,

  • the tent must be put up after 7pm and taken down before 9am,

  • Bivouacs are authorised for one night, or at the most, for the duration of bad weather that could compromise the safety of the hiker.


If you want to stop off and enjoy some comfort, we have listed the most beautiful refuges below.


On this section of the hexatrek, there are many huts that are members of the FFCAM. You can become a member of a club and benefit from a 50% reduction on your overnight stays 



Vallonpierre refuge (FFCAM)


The Vallonpierre refuge is located on the edge of a pleasant mountain lake.

Take advantage of the magnificent view of the master of the place: Le Sirac, the summit of the Écrins massif, which rises to an altitude of 3,441 metres. 

In the morning, you can see the chamois and the frogs in a beautiful wooden and stone building renovated in 2001. 

In the morning you can see chamois frolicking in the large meadow near the refuge.



Refuge du Pré de La Chaumette (FFCAM)


This refuge, built in a pleasant alpine meadow, at the source of the Drac blanc and in the heart of the Champsaur country, at the foot of the Sirac, this refuge allows you to apprehend the contrast

between the adret and the ubac.


Refuge des Souffles (FFCAM)


The Souffles refuge is a beautiful wooden chalet, nestled in the middle of the last larches of the Lautier forest. It is a must-see for hikers and contemplation enthusiasts and is located above Villard-Loubière, in the heart of the Ecrins.


Refuge du Clot - Xavier Blanc 

Built near the Séveraisse torrent, this refuge invites you to relax by the water or in the mountain meadows.

Local cuisine is served here: syrups, jams, dishes and desserts are homemade.



The Valette refuge


Glaciers, waterfalls, lakes, chamois and sometimes ptarmigan are the things to see and do around this refuge.

Don't miss a visit to the Lac de la Valette, set between meadows and cliffs, and to the remains of the architecturally stunning "refuge des lacs".

OUR LATEST ARTICLES

Hexatrek - The French thru hiking trail

United States has the Pacific Crest Trail, New Zealand has the Te Araroa, it was time to give France a trail that would hike all the beauty and diversity of its landscapes! A team of true enthusiasts are launching the HexaTrek in 2022: 3,000 km of trails through the mountains!

Advice

Gas re-supply strategy on the hexatrek

Even if there are petrol or wood burning systems, the majority of hikers use gas stoves for their multi-day hikes. Estimating the amount of fuel needed for a long hike is not always easy and finding the right cartridge for your burner in France can sometimes be murderous!

Advice

Cerces Massif

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.

Trail

Mont-Blanc Massif

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.

Trail

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.

Trail

Voir plus