Retrouvance trek: Haut Verdon and val d'Entraunes

Duration : 6 days

France, Southern Alps

Level : intermediate

from 720 € / p. from 1 to 12 persons

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Description

Between the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes, I propose you to discover a territory made of high mountain pastures and forests, little known by hikers: the Haut Verdon - Val d'Entraunes.

The privilege of this itinerary is to take advantage of the beautiful forest houses of altitude, totally isolated and restored in the pure mountain tradition (interior all in local larch, showers and toilets, wood stove, etc.). This means that you don't have to go down to the bottom of the valleys for accommodation, which makes the circuit accessible with reasonable differences in altitude.

Program

D1: Thorame-Haute - Peyresq.
Meeting at 3pm at the Thorame-Haute train station where I will wait for you.
The luggage is put in the logistician's vehicle and taken to the lodge. As for the group, it continues by train to the stop of Peyresq.
Then are several hiking options:

  • Access to the village of Peyresq by the Vaïre valley (3 hours walk).
  • Access to the village of Peyresq by the Colle Saint-Michel (2.5 hours walk), in case of disturbance on the train line or decision of the guide on the choice of the itinerary (in this case the group will not take the train).

Lodging and meals in Peyresq (1528m), an unusual perched village that dominates the Vaïre valley from a rocky outcrop.
Overnight stay in dormitory or rooms of 4 to 6 people with shared sanitary facilities.
500 meters of positive difference in altitude, 2.5 to 3 hours of walking depending on the itinerary.

D2: Peyresq - Congerman forest house.
We start from Peyresq to pass by the Courradour, the Pasquier huts and the Orgeas pass to the Congerman hut. Today you will cross large spaces dedicated to transhumance, with pastoral huts and the possibility of meeting a shepherd who will share his daily life with you...
Night at the Retrouvance® lodge of Congerman (1860m) isolated in a larch forest, upstream of the Saint-Pierre gorges. Built at the end of the 19th century, this building was used as lodging for the teams of planters during the great reforestation works in the mountains. The nurseries were installed on the flats below.
970m of positive difference in altitude, 8 hours of walking + 20 minutes with the night's business from the logistician's vehicle (small bag provided).

D3: Congerman - Forest house of La Fruchière.
From the Congerman lodge we pass by the Pisse-en-l'air bar, the Détroit drop at 2472m, the Lignin lakes and their lunar landscape, the Mouriès hut and the Lance glacial valley and its giant potholes before reaching the Fruchière forest house. On arrival you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the Lance's pools.
Night at the Retrouvance® lodge in La Fruchière (1704m). This old renovated sheepfold, in the middle of the pastures and near the torrent of the Lance, offers a sunny terrace with a view on the steep mountains.
700m of positive difference in altitude, 7 hours of walking.

D4: Forest house of La Fruchière - Forest house of Couesto.
On the program of the day: Ratery, the old hut, the col des champs and the ONF house of Couesto. You will cross the state forest of the Haut Verdon, planted in the XIXth century to fight against erosion, as well as the black marl landscapes of the Col des Champs.
We have a time of meeting and exchange with an agent of the National Office of Forests who will present his job.
Night at the Retrouvance® lodge of Couesto (2050m) with a panoramic view of the Pelens peaks, which change so much at dusk as at dawn.
750m of positive difference in altitude, 6.5 hours of walking.

D5: Couesto - Forest house of Garrets.
Today we have several options of route:

  • By balcony paths in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, passing by the glacial lake of Lausson nestled at the altitude of 2327m.
  • Entraunes and its valley along the Var river with the Aiglière waterfall.

You can enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the high valley of the Var and with a bit of luck the herds of chamois of the Mercantour.
Night at the Retrouvance® lodge of Les Garrets (2050m). A former forestry house from the beginning of the XXth century, this lodge was also a rear base for major reforestation projects. Isolated in the heart of the Mercantour and inaccessible by car, it is in this place that you will spend the last night in the forest before passing the highest point of the route and slowly returning to civilization.
800m of positive difference in altitude, 7 hours of walking + 20 minutes with the stuff of the night from the vehicle of the logistician (small bag provided).

D6: Forest house of Garrets - Thorame-Haute train station.
From the forest house of Garrets we cross the Cayolle pass, the highest point of the route at 2639m and arrive at the lake of Allos.
At 1.30pm, a shuttle bus takes you from the parking lot of the lake of Allos to the village of Colmars-les-Alpes where your luggage is waiting for you at the Tourist Office.
At 2.30pm, a regular bus transfer from Colmars-les-Alpes to the Thorame-Haute train station will take you back home from 3pm.
For those who have no time constraints and who wish to take the time to discover a magnificent fortified village or a XVIIth century military fort, the entrance is free. The return to Thorame-Haute will take place later.
600m of positive difference in altitude, 5.5 hours of walking.

The price includes

  • Supervision by the mountain leader.
  • Full board.
  • The logistician (transport of luggage from forest relay to forest relay, recovery and preparation of meals, house cleaning at the start, etc.).
  • The shuttle of the train des Pignes from Thorame-Haute to the small station of Peyresq.
  • The shuttle from the lake of Allos to the station of Thorame-Haute.

The price does not include

  • Transport to Thorame-Haute, one hour drive from Digne-les-Bains.
  • Cancellation and repatriation insurance
  • Personal extras.
  • Anything not mentioned in "The price includes".

Accommodation

  • Unusual accommodation at 2000 meters of altitude, which is a real challenge!
  • Thanks to an exceptional authorization obtained by the ONF, you have the privilege of being the only hikers to sleep comfortably for 2 nights in the central zone of the Mercantour National Park, renowned for the beauty of its landscape and for its incredible biodiversity.
  • This allows us to reduce the altitude difference and to make this trek accessible to "average" walkers.
Next departures :

No scheduled departure, but you can contact me to book your dates.

Infos & Booking