Mountain In Summer : Discover The Val D'escreins
With the summer heat, it is tempting to go to altitude to find a little coolness. Among the most beautiful mountain destinations in summer, the Val d'Escreins is a secret valley located in the commune of Vars in the Hautes-Alpes. We suggest you to discover this corner of preserved nature which makes the happiness of the hikers and the families.
The Little Canada of the Alps
The Val d'Escreins is a nature reserve in the Hautes-Alpes where the mountain has remained intact. This natural setting with an area of 25 km2 occupies about a third of the territory of the commune of Vars.
It extends between 1600 m and 3385 m of altitude and well deserves its nickname of Little Canada of the Alps for its grandiose mountain landscapes. Between majestic peaks, torrents, century-old trees and semi-free-roaming horses, this natural site looks like the end of the world and elicits a real sense of disorientation.
So, if you dream of wide open spaces and wild nature without leaving France, come and discover this ideal playground for hiking, trail riding or simply family walks!
A great place for summer hiking
The period from June to September is the best time of the year to discover the Val d'Escreins, the time of a roaming hike or a family stay. By the way, it should be noted that the Basse Rua refuge is only open during the summer season.
This site, which depends on the commune of Vars, is set up for mountain tourism in summer, with a large parking lot accessible by car, a free shuttle in summer and even barbecue areas!
Although it gives the feeling of being cut off from the world, this territory is easily accessible from the Col de Vars road or D902, which is open from mid-May to the end of October. Every summer, hikers flock here, with a peak in July-August.
There is no shortage of hiking trails in the area. Depending on your level, you will have the choice between three trail routes from beginner to advanced level and many hikes to the surrounding peaks like the Tour de la Font Sancte or the Pointe d'Escreins...
Everyone can enjoy nature walks here because this communal reserve also offers families several discovery trails and orientation courses.
Nature at your fingertips
The Val d'Escreins was one of the first municipal nature reserves in France. Nature has been protected there since 1964. In addition, this portion of the territory of the commune of Vars was part of the Queyras Regional Natural Park from 1977 until 2010.
The history of the site explains why the Little Canada of the Alps is still home to such a diverse fauna and flora. It is not uncommon to come across chamois and black grouse and to see a typically alpine flora blooming on the heights such as gentians and cembro pines.
If you want to teach your children to recognize plants and not to pick protected flowers, note that there is a botanical trail forming a loop of about 600 m and listing a hundred local plant species.
Another discovery trail adapted for children is specially dedicated to the black grouse. Explanatory desks mark out this stroll of about 1h15.
To learn more about this mountain destination in summer, we invite you to visit the official website of the resort of Vars (link below).