Winter walks

Hiking and snowshoe trails

40 km of nature trails and wonderful heritage to explore to your heart’s content!

Discover the delights of skiing in the Vars la Forêt Blanche, but also let yourself be swept off your feet by its heritage, charming villages and natural beauty too.

Swap your ski equipment for a pair of snowshoes or walking boots and set off to explore the hamletsthat are an essential part of our identity.

40 km of marked, secure trails offer an alternative way of visiting Vars:
A valley with a magical view of the Eyssina ridge and surrounding peaks.

Remember to take the time to explore the narrow, winding streets of Vars Sainte Catherine, Sainte Marie, Saint Marcellin and les Claux:
These villages, with their old houses, fountains, quiet church courtyards, pretty chalets and slopes provide you with a chance to escape and an opportunity to admire the valley from both sides of the Chagne.



Do you feel like a guided hike, sharing a passion for nature and the secrets of the mountain, great expanses of silent whiteness?

Take advantage of this dreamlike experience to clear your mind and discover a new side to the mountain. It’s your turn to feel how the fur trappers of the Far North once felt!


>> Meet our mountain guides




1- Chemin des cassettes

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 1040 m
Duration (both ways): 1 hour 15 minutes
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Accessible for families, uncovered and sunny. View of the resort and its villages
Description: The walk departs from the top of the Chabrières gondola, which can be accessed by paying the pedestrian rate at the tills for the ski lifts. Upon your exit from the gondola, the path begins to your left. At the first intersection, follow the route towards the mountain restaurant Le Chal’heureux.

2- Chemin du barjo

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 780 m
Duration (both ways): 1 hour
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Accessible for families, uncovered and sunny. View of the resort and its villages
Description: The walk departs from the top of the Chabrières gondola, which can be accessed by paying the pedestrian rate at the tills for the ski lifts. Upon your exit from the gondola, the path begins to your left. At the first intersection, follow the route towards the mountain restaurant Le Banjo.

3- Refuge Napoléon(from les Claux, via Fontbonne)

Itinerary On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 2600 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Accessible for families, uncovered and sunny. View of the resort and its villages
Description: The walk departs from behind the Lauzet holiday residence (this part is not groomed) or, further down, from the Hameau des Rennes holiday residences. Head towards the departure station for the Fontbonne gondola, then climb up following the directions to the Refuge Napoléon.


4- Refuge Napoléon (from the Plateau du Fournet)

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 2500 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Accessible for families, sunny. You will enjoy an easily accessible trail that will bring you to the Refuge Napoloéon, a historic location on the Col de Vars route with a stunning view of the lake.
Description: . From the resort centre, take the route which goes up in the direction of Col de Vars (either on foot or by taking the free shuttle) up to the place called ‘Le Fournet’ at the top of the resort. At the foot of the sledging run and the entertainment area, take the path towards the Refuge Napoléon.

5- Col de Vars (from the Refuge Napoléon)

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 3500 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Accessible for families. High viewpoint at Col de Vars over the snow-capped mountains of L’Ubaye.
Description: Fill your lungs with fresh air and take the trail that goes alongside the road from the Refuge Napoléon (accessible on foot - see itinerary 4 - or by taking the free shuttle) towards the Col de Vars. You might get a surprise and come across animal tracks in the snow.


6- Chemin de la Forêt

Itinerary: Snowshoes only
Distance: 900 m
Duration (both ways): 1 hour 15 minutes
Characteristics: Ungroomed woodland trail
Description: The walk departs from the top of the Chabrières gondola, which can be accessed by paying the pedestrian rate at the tills for the ski lifts. Upon your exit from the gondola, the path begins to your left. At the first intersection, follow the route towards the mountain restaurant Le Chal’heureux. Cross the blue piste (Jas du Boeuf) before going under the bridge, descend to your right along the forest until you encounter the ‘le chemin des cassettes’ ski piste. After a few steps, the snowshoe path begins again below this piste. You will arrive at the snow front near the Chabrières gondola.

7- Peynier (from the Refuge Napoléon)

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 3700 m - increase in altitude 273 m
Duration (both ways): 3 hours
Characteristics: Groomed trail*
Panoramic view of the whole resort, sunny route, not forested. Viewpoint indicator and the Les Balcons de Peynier mountain restaurant upon your arrival.
Description: The departure point is at the level of the Refuge Napoléon in the direction of Col de Vars and can be accessed via the free shuttle. From the Résidence Napoléon car park behind the Refuge, follow the path marked ‘Peynier’.


8- Le chemin du facteur

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 1470 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours
Characteristics: Trail not groomed.
Accessible for families. Sunny in the mornings, uncovered
Description:This little trail lets you join up with the village of Sainte Marie with Les Claux as a departure point, or vice versa. From the heart of the resort (Vars Les Claux), go alongside the road until the entry walkway to the resort, then follow the ‘chemin du facteur’ sign away from the La Mayt parking area.

9- 3 Villages Circuit - Sainte-Marie, Saint-Marcellin and Sainte-Catherine by road

Itinerary: Pedestrians only
Distance: 5600 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours 30 minutes
Characteristics: Accessible for families. Head off on a voyage of discovery of the riches of the villages of Vars with a heritage guide in hand, available from the Tourist Office.
Description: Route between Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Marcellin: at the entrance to the village of Sainte-Catherine (accessible by shuttle), go past the wash house then go left down the one-way street at the intersection. Once you’ve arrived at the highway, head to your left to get to Saint-Marcellin Route between Saint-Marcellin and Sainte-Marie: at the exit from the village, take the small road on your right before the bus stop. Walk alongside the River Chagne. Route between Sainte-Marie and Sainte-Catherine: at the exit from the village, before the bridge, get back onto the road towards Sainte-Catherine.

10- Le Chemin de Champ Flaou

Itinerary: Snowshoes
Distance: 880 m
Duration (both ways): 1 hour
Characteristics: Trail not groomed. Accessible for families. Sunny, view of the village of Sainte-Marie.
Description: The walk begins at the northern entrance to the village of Sainte-Marie. Take the path a few metres before the supermarket to reach the village of Sainte-Catherine.


12- Circuit of l'Alp Bas

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 2000 m
Duration (both ways): 1 hour 30 minutes
Characteristics: Groomed trail*. Nature lovers and those who like a spot of contemplation will appreciate this path where the landscapes offer themselves up like picture postcards.
Description: From the village of Sainte-Catherine (accessible via free shuttle), go to the heights of the village, below the sawmill, and take the La Coulette path. At the intersection with another path, continue straight ahead.

13- The La Pinée Circuit

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 6000 m
Duration (both ways): 3 hours 30 minutes
Characteristics: Accessible for families. You will discover spectacular landscapes throughout this walk that takes place on the heights of Sainte-Catherine.
Description: From the village of Sainte-Catherine (accessible via free shuttle), go to the heights of the village, below the sawmill, and take itinerary 13 which will take you through the forest of La Pinée until you join up with path number 12.


14-Vars > Risoul
from the top of the Sainte-Marie ski lift

Itinerary: On foot/snowshoes
Distance: 5950 m
Duration (both ways): 3 hours
Characteristics: Groomed trail*. Head off on a family trip through the forest from Vars to Risoul, passing by shepherds’ huts along the way.
Description: From the top of the Sainte-Marie ski lift, accessible by paying the pedestrian rate at the tills for the ski lifts, begin the route on a level with the sled dog area. Carry on straight ahead and cross the Grand Vallon ski piste (exercise caution). Continue until the intersection with itinerary 15. Continue in the direction of Risoul.

15- Le Chemin du Forest

Snowshoes only
Distance: 3000 m
Duration (both ways): 2 hours
Characteristics:Trail not groomed for 75% of its length. Some tricky sections. Suits people with training in mountain trekking.
Description:Take itinerary 14 from the top of the Sainte-Marie ski lift to reach the departure point of itinerary 15, some 2km away. At the intersection, take trail 15 towards Sainte-Marie or Saint-Marcellin. Halfway through, it is possible to finish the walk on the paved road to Pont de Chagne from where you can subsequently head for one or other of the villages.




FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE

A free shuttle service allows you to go from village to village and to join the walking/snowshoe itineraries.

Timetable available soon.




*Dependant on weather conditions. Times given are for intermediate walkers and are approximate.

These durations and the groomed nature of the trails may vary depending on the amount of snow. Some routes are circuits.

Please note that you need to add 30 minutes to the indicated time for routes 12 and 13.