The mountains are sculpted from thick limestone with daring peaks such as the Font-Sancte (3,385m altitude)
A glacier created the valley as a "trough”, which it filled over several hundred metres 16,000 years ago
Val for everyone
- A simple stroll along the water's edge to discover the species of plants
- A walk or sports race to the peaks higher than 3,000m
- A barbecue with family in reserved areas
A FREE shuttle service is available between the villages and the resort with daily extensions to the Val d'Escreins
The Val d'Escreins nature reserve
The kingdom of wild nature, with its tall peaks and an incredible wealth of fauna and flora.
Little Canada in Vars:
The peaceful haven of Val D'Escreins has been a nature reserve since 1964.
This unspoilt "central land” in the Regional Natural Park of Queyras is entirely dedicated to hiking, walking or relaxing in nature.
Steeped in legend, with the summits bearing mystical names like La Main de Dieu (the hand of God) and La Font Sancte (the holy font), the Val d'Escreins also has village ruins and a welcoming mountain hut.
A simple, pure or gourmet experience... which you’ll love!
- Orienteering trails: For budding adventurers, there are three fun and initiatory orienteering trails (one for families, the second for experienced 12 and overs and the third for orienteering addicts), with maps and compasses.
The quest for the azimuths consists of 20 points of reference with stamps on to validate the family expedition.
- The botanical path: Around one hundred species of plants have been identified in a loop of around 600m. Learn while you walk.
- The Black Grouse discovery path: Especially created and suitable for children, enabling them to discover the Escreins valley with a fun approach. There are lecterns along the trail explaining life in bygone days and the Val’s treasures. (duration: 1 hour 15 mins)
- A zero waste region: As part of the zero waste zero rubbish approach, the local authority wants to offer you the possibility of sorting your rubbish at a voluntary recycling centre at the entrance of Val d'Escreins. You can sort packaging (yellow bin), glass (green bin) and non-recyclable waste (grey bin).
A little reminder: Dropping litter is forbidden
A village, and Man:
In the beginning, the first buildings were erected on the initiative of a few local people, who had noticed that the soil in the Val d'Escreins was ideal for growing crops. Little by little, the activity became orientated towards livestock. In winter, the residents returned to Vars or Guillestre.
In 1916, for unknown reasons that have led to mysterious legends, the village went up in flames. In the absence of men, who had been enlisted in the war, it could not be saved and was abandoned.
Today still, animals graze on the land of the Val d'Escreins.
In 1982, the chapel was restored using the traditional methods and materials of the region (larch shakes, stone etc.)
The Val d'Escreins nature reserve boasts the classic fauna from high in the mountains including some protected species which are sometimes decreasing in number.
The golden eagle, the white partridge, the wood grouse, as well as numerous mammals, chamois, marmots, hares, deer, foxes and squirrels, plus birds of prey, small passerines, beetles and butterflies - difficult to observe but all important in the balance of the animal kingdom where they occupy a significant position.
The climate, influenced by the Mediterranean, enables walkers to observe very different and diversified flora.
At the entrance to the Val, the contrast is established: On the south-facing slope, a forest rich in Scotch pines, legumes, ononis, astragalus and bearberries. The cooler north-facing slope is rich in spruce, pines, larches. It is home to undergrowth made up of mosses, speedwell, rattlesnake root, bilberries, Turk's cap lilies and orange lilies. Higher up, larches and Swiss pines, rhododendrons, Alpine clematis, wolfsbane. Higher still, at the upper edge of the trees, you can discover all the wonders of the Alpine stage: blue gentians, edelweiss, forget-me-nots, blue Alpine asters. Then comes the world of rocks, where primula marginata grows alongside saxifrage.
The Trail du Val routes:
Three trails for all levels await you in the Val d'Escreins