A 100% natural treasure not to be missed
A real feeling of enormity and being on the other side of the world is present here, once you have passed the cliff road suitable for motor vehicles, it’s a door that closes behind you, compelling you to enter the Little Canada of Vars...
This exceptional natural site is about to appear to you in all its spectacular beauty...
Enjoy it to your heart's content!
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, entirely dedicated to hiking, walking or relaxing in nature, is steeped in legend and dotted with gushing mountain streams, luxuriant forests and breathtaking scenery.
From 1,600 metres at the Vars bridge to 3,385 metres on the Pic de la Font Sancte
The Rif Bel, a tributary of the Chagne torrent which in turn flows into the River Guil
It’s a life-size amusement park!
- 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 Tétras Lyre (black grouse) discovery trail: information stands along the trail explain life in bygone days and the valley’s treasures. (duration: 1 1/4 hours)
- Barbecue areas scattered across the valley promise a pleasant meal in the great outdoors
Exceptional fauna and flora
The Val d'Escreins nature reserve is home to some typical mountain wildlife including some protected species which in some cases are decreasing in number.
Keep your eyes wide open!
Along the trails, in the larch trees or basking in the sun, the eagles, marmots, chamois, wood grouse, black grouse and squirrels will satisfy your curiosity
As for the plant life, you’ll find a whole array of highly diverse species.
The Mediterranean climate has a few surprises in store. From the dry pine forests where the Scots pine abounds, to the high mountain grasslands scattered with edelweiss, forget-me-nots and blue gentians, Val d’Escreins promises colourful, fragrant encounters.
A village and its men
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.
Trail-running in Val d’Escreins
Three trails for all levels await you in the Val d'Escreins
- GREEN Trail: Beginner level
Distance: 3.937 km
Minimum altitude: 1,781 m
Maximum altitude: 1,889 m
Difference in altitude: +/-:121m
This route borders the ruins of the old village and crosses a forest of larches and pines.
- BLUE Trail: Intermediate level
Distance: 9.218 km
Minimum altitude: 1,625 m
Maximum altitude: 1,888 m
Difference in altitude: +/-:319m
This trail follows a large circuit through the valley to discover all the scenery and richness of the natural setting.
- RED Trail: Experienced level
Distance: 9.125 km
Minimum altitude: 1,780 m
Maximum altitude: 2,552 m
Difference in altitude: +/-:788m
Up in the clouds, the route along the crests of Vars shows off some of the most incredible scenery in the area. This route is one of the most beautiful things the mountains have to offer.
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