The Ecrins National Park is an ideal mountain area for hiking that requires a preparation for outings.
The winter and spring snow means that the network of maintained paths is gradually open from late spring to early autumn. Access to the highest passes and refuges are sometimes snow-capped until July. Preparation for going hiking then requires special attention to the conditions of practice.
Houses of the Park and Tourism Offices of the Ecrins are the most qualified structures for information on the state of paths and any temporary difficulties (work, landslides, etc.).
Contact details of the Houses of the National Park.
Well preparing and securing your hike
- Locate your route and check the conditions of access to the paths of the area.
- Check the level of the route fits with your form.
- Get some information about the weather before leaving.
- Take a map sufficiently precise and inform a parent of your road.
- Be equipped with hiking boots and warm and waterproof clothes.
- Do not forget to take water, something to eat and sun cream.
- Book your night in shelters or lodges-hiking.
Hike itineraries presented in "Rando Ecrins" were selected according to their interest and their level of difficulty (length and difference in altitude). These are specified in each itinerary’s description file. The search engine also offers a selection by level of difficulty. Duration and difficulties reported in the files are indicative.
- Very easy: Walks of less than 6 km and less than 2 hours with no particular difficulties ; rather suitable for families with children.
- Easy : Hikes between 2 and 3 hours with a difference in altitude of about 400 meters. Itineraries fitted for occasional hikers, active families and parents with carried children.
- Average : One-day itineraries, from 3h to 5h, for hikers accustomed to go hiking in steep terrain with difference in altitude higher than 400 m.
- Difficult : Hikes to 5h, for experienced walkers and sportspeople over long distances and with important difference in altitude in rugged mountain terrain.
Signage of the paths
National Park paths are punctuated by a directional signage at departures and routes' intersections.
Sites giving access to the core zone of the National Park are marked by entries panels composed of a map, a reminder of the rules and information on heritage.
On the paths, the limits of the core zone are indicated by blue-red-white flags painted on rocks.
Entering the core zone is specified by signage plates recalling regulation.
Useful information and emergencies
- Ecrins National Park : 04 92 40 20 10
- Mountain weather : 32 50 - www.meteofrance.com
- Mountain Rescue (38) : 04 76 22 22 22
- Mountain Rescue (05) : 04 92 22 22 22
- European emergency number : 112
- Samu : 15
Herds protection dogs
Some hikes go through meadows pastured by herds. These are often under the surveillance of sheepdogs or protection dogs defending them against predators, such as the patous. These dogs are not particularly aggressive against humans but, as their role is to defend the herd, they can be "protective." Hikers are therefore advised to continue their way quietly and circumvent the pasturing herds.
Marmots and man
In summer, in meadows and pastures of the Ecrins National Park, marmots can be easily observed for the greatest pleasure of everyone.
Feeding marmots such as pets change their behavior and risks perception, what exposes them a little more to their natural predators (eagles, foxes ...). Offering them fatty food, chocolate bars or other foodstuff goes against their diet based on vegetables.
Finally, there is a real risk to feed a marmot by hand: you may be bitten and the incisors of marmots are extremely effective!
The observation of fauna and flora, the discovery of remarkable sites will be especially enriching as they have been prepared. Spotting scopes, binoculars, photographic cameras, sketchbooks or notes are all tools of observation which guarantee the intimacy of the wildlife and the landscape reading. In nature, you are always a guest; welcome to the Ecrins.
Source: Rando National Parc des Ecrins