High mountain activities
Ailefroide is the second French site for high mountain practice, and this valley floor is the most frequented of the Ecrins.
The road ends upstream from Pré de Madame Carle, near Refuge Cézanne at 1874m. No more flat, we tackle the mountain paths, certainly easy and frequented in summer, but mountain paths all the same, so to approach with the adequate shoes.
The Pré de Madame Carle, at the end of the Vallouise valley, is one of the entrance gates to the Park (1,800 m altitude). It allows you to easily approach the grandiose domain of glaciers and summits: La Barre des Ecrins (4102 m), the highest point of the massif, or Le Pelvoux (3932 m).
Starting point for the two flagship hikes in the valley, towards the two glaciers, and the ascent to the Refuges du Glacier Blanc (2542 m) and Les Ecrins (3175 m), which are among the most popular in the Alps.
The Barre des Ecrins is the highest peak in the massif with an altitude of 4,102 meters, it is also the highest point of the Dauphiné and the PACA region. It was even for a long time the ignored culmination of France before 1860 and the attachment of Savoy.
Maison de la Montagne d´Ailefroide : A place of welcome and information on the territory allowing those who discover this site for the first time to perceive all the riches and potential of discovery and activities. Exhibitions, screenings, meetings…
Refuge of Pre de Mme Carle
Mr VERNET Laurent
+33(0)4 92 23 44 21
Des pieds et des mains
+33(0)6 84 04 92 79
Ecrins National Park
Between the Northern Alps and the Southern Alps, the Ecrins massif is a vast group of high mountains (150 peaks over 3000 m and some 10,000 hectares of glaciers) compact, steep, wild tempered by vast expanses of mountain pastures.
The Ecrins National Park is an ideal destination for hiking with family, friends or sportsmen.
The rich vegetation is home to many varieties of flowers and you will come across many animal species that have had to adapt to the rigors of life in the mountains. The valley bottoms where there are torrents and waterfalls are not lacking in attractions due to the freshness they give off. Agricultural activities, especially pastoralism, are still very much anchored in local life: meeting a shepherd and his flock is not impossible.
House of the Parc des Ecrins
+33(0)4 92 23 58 08
+33(0)4 92 23 32 31
Animation program: www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/programme-animation
The heart of the National Park is a natural territory, open to all, but subject to regulations which fall under a code of conduct.
1. No dog, even on a leash: for the tranquility of wild and domestic animals
2. Neither gathering nor taking: animals, plants, minerals and fossils belong to the landscape
3. No hunting: here all animals are protected
4. No waste: to keep nature clean
5. No fire: to avoid fires and soil degradation
6. No noise, no disturbance: for everyone’s peace of mind
7. No camping: to preserve the beauty of the sites and avoid pollution
8. No vehicle: this area can be explored on foot, traffic prohibited outside the authorized lanes
9. No mountain biking: this area can be explored on foot
10. No overflight: it is prohibited less than 1000 m from the ground
The National Park has invested in digital technologies to promote heritage and the territory. He has created – Rando Ecrins – a website promoting hiking and mountain biking routes.
The site offers dynamic cartography, 3D navigation, GPS tracks. A mobile application, available, allows you to embark on your hiking route and navigate in GPS mode with your smartphone or tablet
Due to its particular physical and biological characteristics, a large part of the territory of the municipality of Pelvoux has, since 1911, been the subject of protection procedures (site of Grand Pelvoux), largely contributing to the creation in 1973 of the National Park. of the cases and the nature reserve.
It is a long valley – 25 km – with several tributary valleys: the Onde valley in Vallouise, then the suspended valley of Eychauda in Pelvoux, and finally the Celse Nière valley in Ailefroide. The Pré de Madame Carle at 1874 m above sea level marks the end of the road where two possibilities are still available, towards the Glacier Noir or towards the Glacier Blanc.
The high mountains are there: mountaineering, hiking, climbing, paragliding, white water sports… All mountain activities can be practiced. also fishing, swimming pool (in summer), archery, tennis, mini-golf, chairlift open in summer.
Cultural Activities: 14 sundials, 5 churches, 9 chapels, Romanesque art, frescoes, bread ovens, fountains…
Dormillouse, in the heart of the Ecrins National Park: In the Freissinières valley, nestles the small hamlet of Dormillouse. The only village inhabited year-round in the heart of the Ecrins National Park, Dormillouse is accessible only by a small path laid out in barely an hour’s walk. Several impressive waterfalls follow one another before arriving at the named place. Departing from Dormillouse, you can escape through several walks, for sumptuous discoveries such as lakes Faravel and Palluel.
The Claux Museum in Pelvoux “From ice to light …”, in Les Claux, the torrents collection at the beginning of the century by EDF made it possible to provide electricity at the beginning of the century. Its dam factory has been open to the public as a museum while still operating.
Saint-Laurent Church – Les Vigneaux The Saint Laurent Church is very rich in heritage! Remarkable for its polygonal bell tower, it derives its elegance from its perfect lines, its porch with marble columns and above all from its superb exterior murals representing vices and their punishments.
Briançon: City of art and history. Cité Vauban with its small streets, gargoyles, fountains… You can take a tourist guide to visit the Cordeliers church (15th century), the fortress “Fort des Têtes (18-19th century) or the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, Saint Nicolas (18th century)…
Hot spring of Plan de Phazy à Guillestre: Discovered during Antiquity, these waters spring from the earth at 28 °. These waters are known to fight skin diseases, have a decongestant and diuretic action and act on respiratory infections.
Cultural guided tours:
Discovery tours from valley to valley. Accompanied by a guide-lecturer approved by the Ministry of Culture, discover the rich and varied heritages of the valleys. Visits: 2 hours, half day or day.
The Cézanne refuge – A path runs alongside the torrent and leads to the Pré de Madame Carle. The Ailefroide road ends at the Cézanne refuge. It is the starting point for many hikes. The refuge is located in the heart of the Ecrins National Park.
Elevation: 350 m (max altitude: 1874 m)
Refuge du Sélé – From the Ailefroide campsite. The climb is magnificent and varied, a little tricky in the last few meters, because the refuge is perched on a rocky bar (many cables).
Elevation: 1,000 m (max altitude: 2,510 m)
Vallon de Clapouse – Before the Ailefroide campsite, take the direction of the valley of Clapouse and cross the stream of Celse Nière. The trail winds up a fairly steep slope until you reach the start of the Vallon, once you arrive you will certainly have the opportunity to see chamois …
Elevation: + 800 m (max altitude: 2300 m)
The Claux trail – After the Ailefroide bridge, take the trail, it descends into the valley until the tunnel on the side opposite the road. Allow 1 hour for the ascent by the path. On this path animals are rare, in return strawberries and raspberries await you.
Elevation: – 343 m (max altitude: 1550 m)
Pelvoux Refuge – At the start of the Ailefroide campsite, take the path that crosses the larch forest. Located on a rocky promontory, you don’t see the refuge until you arrive. A very nice hike to do once you have picked up a good pace !. The landscapes are superb: the Clos de l’Homme glacier, the Sélé refuge, the Pelvoux …
Elevation: 1190 m (max altitude: 2750 m)
From Madame Carl’s meadow
Le Refuge des Ecrins – The path is very busy to the refuge du glacier blanc, as many hikers only go up during the day for a family picnic. Prefer the beginning of the morning to be quieter. The end of the climb is on the glacier, whose crevasses can be opened depending on the season.
Elevation: 1,300 m (max altitude: 3,170 m)
Glacier Blanc Refuge – Leave early to avoid the crowds… and the heat, but not the shy marmots. The climb is sometimes steep with a few safe passages. The arrival at the old Tucket hut is superb, then a steeper part leads to the Glacier Blanc hut. Many people stop at the bottom of the glacier, but once you get to the refuge, you are rewarded with superb scenery. The reflection of Pelvoux on Lake Tuckett is a great postcard classic.
Elevation: + 670 m (max altitude: 2542 m)
Lac de l’Eychauda – The Eychauda is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Briançonnais region in a mineral setting under the Séguret Foran glacier. The climb to the Col des Grangettes (2684 m) to overlook the lake is a plus, but the ascent is tricky at the end and requires caution.
Elevation: + 800 m (max altitude: 2514 m)
Refuge des Bans – The Refuge des Bans perched on a rocky ridge and offers a superb view of the peaks. A slightly difficult passage allows access to the refuge … A beautiful hike to start where you can meet marmots, chamois and ibex!
Elevation: + 470 m (max altitude: 2080 m)
Tête de la Draye – The Tête de la Draye is, so to speak, the counterpart of the Tête de Ma Maye, a panoramic mountain on the north side of the Barre des Ecrins massif. From Ailefroide which is hidden in a larch forest. The views are superb over the entire Vallouise as far as the Cirque du Pré de Madame Carle where the Glacier Blanc slides down the slope, accompanied by the imposing Mont Pelvoux and later by the Barre des Ecrins.
Elevation: 900 m. (max altitude: 2400 m)
Via ferrata :
Via ferrata des Gorges d´Ailefroide – Pelvoux Les Claux: As a belvedere over the Gyr, it presents no major difficulties and has 3 bridges. Very well equipped, with many bars, it can be suitable for children from 7/8 years old. The route lasts about 2 hours, the descent then takes place via the Pra Chapel path. (Free access)
Via ferrata Le Colombier / La Balme – Les Vigneaux: A route, 2 outings, easy (on the left) or more sporty (on the right), which quickly take you to the altitude above the village of Vigneaux. (Free access).
Via ferrata des Gorges de la Durance – L’Argentière La Bessée / Les Vigneaux (Paid access).
Via ferrata du Sentier de la Combe – Puy-Saint-Vincent Narreyroux: Fun route along the Combe torrent in the Narreyroux valley. Easy to do with the family. Time from 1h to 1h30. Length of 800 m. (Free access).
Via ferrata de Tournoux – Puy-Saint-Vincent Tournoux: Easy and aerial. Time from 1h30 to 2h. Length of 250 m. It is one of the busiest via ferrata in France. Discover its 200 m long “l’Oréac” downhill route. (Free access).
Via ferrata de l’Horloge – L’Argentière La Bessée: Specially designed for children (free access).
Municipal swimming pool of Pelvoux
+33(0)4 92 23 31 07
Les Grands bains de Monetier les Bains
SPA – Natural hot water
+33(0)4 92 40 00 00
+33(0)6 10 69 01 28
White water sport/Canyoning :
Ecrins Eaux Vive
+33(0)4 92 23 11 94
+33(0)7 86 59 90 65
+33(0)4 92 23 43 43
+33(0)6 89 31 68 49
+33(0)4 92 23 10 68