The Ecrins national park is a protected mountain area that requires preparation before hiking.
Winter and spring snow conditions mean that the developed trail system will open gradually from late spring to early fall. Accesses to highest passes and mountain huts remain sometimes snowy until July. The preparation of the hikes therefore need an important preparation about the practical conditions.
The houses of the Park and the tourist offices of the Ecrins national park are the most qualified structures to inform you about the state of the trails and any temporary difficulties (work, landslides, etc...).
Prepare properly and secure your hike
- Track your route and make sure you have access to the trails in the area..
- Make sure the level of the route matches your physical health..
- Make sure the weather conditions are good before your leave.
- Bring a sufficiently accurate map and inform at least one relative about your route.
- Do not forget to take hiking boots and warm/waterproof adapted clothing..
- Do not forget to bring water, something to eat and sunscreen.
- Make sure you already booked your night at a gite or a refuge.
The hikes from "Rando Ecrins" were choosed because of their difficulty level (length and ground elevation level) and their interest . Those informations are detailed in each circuit map and the search engine also proposes a selection tool by level of difficulty. The lenghts and difficulties announced in the maps are indicatives.
Very easy : Small trails not longer than 6km and lasting less than 2 hours , no obvious difficulties. Perfectly adapted for families (with small childrens for instance) .
Easy : Hike between 2 and 3h long with a ground level elevation of 400km maximum..Those trails are adapted for casual hikers, dynamic families and for parent hikers carrying a baby (baby sling)
Medium : Trails from 3 to 5 hours long, for hikers familiar with steep slopes , with ground level elevation higher than 400km .
Difficult : Trails longer than 5 hours, adapted for experimented hikers and sportsmen on long distances with a high ground level elevation and sometimes a rough terrain.
The trails of the park are marked by a directional signage at the departures and crossing of the routes.
The sites with access to the heart of the national park are marked with sign boards consisting of a map, a reminder of the rules and heritage information.
On the trails, the boundaries of the heart of the national park are marked by blue, white, red markings painted on rocks.
The Entrances into the heart of the park are specified by nameplates recalling the regulations.
Useful informations and Emergency numbers
Parc national des Ecrins (Ecrins national park) : 04 92 40 20 10
Secours en montagne (Mountain rescue) (38) : 04 76 22 22 22
Secours en montagne (Mountain rescue) (05) : 04 92 22 22 22
European emergency number : 112
Samu (EMS) : 15
Mountain weather : 32 50 - www.meteofrance.com (link is external)
Guard of herds Dogs
Some hikes cross pastures grazed by herds. These are often guarded by sheepdogs or predator defense dogs, such as paws. These dogs do not develop any particular aggressiveness towards the man but as their role is to defend the herd they can be "protectors". It is therefore recommended that hikers continue their way quietly and bypass the herds in pastures.
Marmots and Men
When the climate gets nice in the mountain , the marmots let you observe them for the pleasure of everyone.
Feeding marmots as a pet changes their behavior and their perception of risk which exposes them a bit more to their natural predators (eagles, foxes..). Offering them fat, chocolate bars or other foods goes against their plant-based diet.
There is another risk if you try to feed a marmot with your hands : You might get bite by those cute creatures , and their teeths hurts a lot !
The observation of fauna and flora, the discovery of remarkable sites will be all the more appreciable as they have been prepared Scopes binoculars, cameras , sketchbooks are very useful observation tools and they guarantee the tranquility of the wildlife. You're always the guest of someone in the nature.