Of course, Serre-Ponçon also represents the mountains. The summits, the passes, the lakes and the footpaths that can be roamed on foot or mountain bike. From the banks of the Serre-Ponçon Lake, the highest peaks soar to above 3000 m in altitude, in the heart of the Écrins National Park. There are many magnificent sites.
Up there, the abundant richness of the alpine pastures is reflected in the crystal-clear waters of the high-altitude lakes. Dizzyingly high waterfalls plunge into the heart of forests that are several hundred years old. It is marmot and chamois kingdom.
The Ecrins National Park
Created in 1973, after being initially prefigured in 1913 as an initiative by mountaineers, nature associations and the Club Alpin Français. The Écrins National Park is one of ten French National Parks. It covers high-mountain territory with the Barre des Écrins peaking at an altitude of 4102 m and limited by the geographical and climatic boundary between the Northern and Southern Alps.
Serre-Ponçon is in the southernmost sector of the Park. Here the summits rise to an altitude of 3000 m yet have their feet in the water. Hikers can therefore switch from a Mediterranean influence to the snow level where they will encounter diverse fauna and flora.
The Écrins National Park site in Serre-Ponçon.
The Rando Ecrins portal to plan your excursion.
In Embrun the Tour Brune is home to a Park exhibition and there is an extraordinary view from its roof. In the Réallon Valley, the hamlet of Gourniers is the entrance to the Park. You can follow an interpretation trail to get a better understanding of the landscape and discover the strange giants’ kettle hole. A hole created in the rock by the bubbling waters coming down from the mountains.
In Châteauroux-les-Alpes, the commune with 40 hamlets, the Park Centre offers temporary exhibitions and activities (projections, conferences, etc.). It is also the entrance to the Rabioux Valley, in the heart of the Écrins National Park. Here you will discover the impressive Pisse waterfall, no doubt Serre-Ponçon’s most beautiful.
Boscodon, an exceptional site
The Boscodon Forest overlooking the Serre-Ponçon Lake is an emblematic forest of the Hautes-Alpes. This pine forest is home to lush flora with several hundred species. Considered by the Office National des Forêts (National Forestry Office) as one of France’s most pure settings, it has just been qualified as an ‘Exceptional Forest’. Nestled in the centre of this remarkable natural setting, Boscodon Abbey, a 12th century Romanesque building is listed as a Historical Monument.
Top 15 hikes around Boscodon
The Morgon, the most beautiful view of Serre-Ponçon
Boscodon is also the start point for our personal favourite hike. Le Pic de Morgon, at an altitude of 2324 m probably offers the most beautiful view of the Serre-Ponçon Lake. It is an intermediate level hike, easily accessible for regular walkers. At the summit, you will be overlooking the two sections of the lake. Your eyes will be drawn to the unparalleled panorama, from the high glacial summits of the Écrins National Park to Provence’s Giant, the Ventoux. A must !
Mont Guillaume, 2552m, more athletic at a greater altitude on the heights of Embrun, is also a prime objective. You will cross the wonderful larch forest, the tree of light and symbol of the Southern Alps, before reaching the summit. You will be able to comfortably admire the panorama from the chapel at the summit.
Les Aiguilles de Chabrières and the panoramic chairlifts in Réallon
From the Réallon resort,use the panoramic chairlifts to reach the ridge of Serre du Mouton. A breathtaking panorama of the Serre-Ponçon fjord, the Écrins National Park and Les Aiguilles de Chabrières. Let yourself be tempted by this aerial hike and set off to take on Serre-Ponçon’s emblematic mountain.
This peak, made up of several sharp needles, is unlike any other. Sensations and a distinct mountain atmosphere, but no real difficulties. You will be blown away by the views during the short but steep ascent of the Brèche de Chabrières, in the heart of the Aiguilles. Then there’s the strange discovery of the odd Oucans, a genuine labyrinth of limestone crevices. A hike you’re not likely to forget in a hurry!
From the rift, it is possible to reach the summit of the Aiguilles, but the route is steep and unmarked.
Not recommended for children.
The panoramic chairlifts of Réallon make for a gentle discovery of the mountain. From the ridge of Serre du Mouton, many other hikes with a descending profile lead to the resort where you can relax and have something to eat on the sunny terraces.
The Réallon Bike Park offers many endurance and downhill mountain bike trails for all levels across an elevation of 600 m. A panoramic descent with a view of the lake at the top, then the ride includes jumps and bends among the larch trees. The mountain biking school at the foot of the slopes will help you discover these sensations.
There are many altitude lakes nestled among our mountains. You will find the peace and tranquillity of these small natural settings as well as remarkable landscapes. Accessible by car, the St Apollinaire and Siguret Lakes are ideal picnic spots and very popular for family outings with young children.
The Lauzerot Lake requires barely more effort (less than 15 minutes on foot) but its Canadian atmosphere, in the middle of the forest, is quite rare in this region and is well worth a visit.
Several other lakes can be seen if you are willing to walk for a few hours. Your efforts will be rewarded by the sumptuous scenery with far fewer visitors. The Sainte Marguerite Lake, in Les Orres, is the largest and one of the most beautiful. Les Orres is a mountain resort where you can take part in many activities. It is a paradise for downhill mountain biking with the largest bike park in the Southern Alps. The chairlifts will allow you to reach the lake more easily by a hike with a downward profile.
Crévoux, an unspoilt valley, full of surprises
At an altitude of 1600m, Crévoux is a small village of 130 inhabitants nestled at the bottom of a magnificent valley full of curiosities. You will be amazed by the works of art lining the Fairy Trail in the heart of nature. It is an easy hike that leads to the beautiful Razis waterfall, takes less than 2 hours and can be done with the family.
A beautiful, very rugged route leads to the Crachet lake at an altitude of 2200m. The shallow water is crystal clear. Much more confidential and difficult to access, the Lalatcha lake is at an altitude of almost 2800m in a moon-like environment. Unlike the Crachet Lake, which can dry up during the summer, the Lalatcha Lake has never been seen dry despite the fact that no stream or spring feeds it…
Go back in time along the Parpaillon trail to discover this curious tunnel, carved into the rock in 1890, at an altitude of more than 2600m. This unpaved road connects the Durance valley and the upper Ubaye valley. At the end of the 1930s, Spanish refugees helped to renovate the road. At the Réal bridge, the end of the tarmacked road, where the trail leading to the tunnel begins, the Cabane des Espagnols traces their history.
In winter, the village harmoniously combines all snow activities. The hamlet of La Chalp is a Mecca for Nordic skiing, while the alpine domain is a natural skiing paradise where families who love authenticity rub shoulders with free-riders seeking wide open spaces.