Explore the Ecrins National Park

The Ecrins National Park offers a combination of high peaks and glaciers and idyllic valleys where you can admire them. This little trek is ideal for a first approach to this protected territory. If you are hiking with your family, you can easily adjust the length of the hikes to the children by doing the little Alpe de Villar loop (+ 370 m, 8 km) or going just a little further, depending on your motivation.

Short loop walk to huts at the Alpe de Villar

1st day: Arsine Mountain Pass and Glacier Lakes

  • Arsine / Villar d’Arène (1667 m) – Alpe de Villar Arsine Mountain Pass (2320 m) – Arsine Glacier Lakes (2458 m) The Alpe de Villar mountain huts (2077 m)
  • Elevation gain: + 653 m, -243 m for the Arsine Mountain Pass or + 790 m, - 380 m for the Arsine Glacier Lakes.
  • Overnight stay at the Refuge de l'Alpe or the Refuge de Chamoissière.

The route described in the link below is a day hike going back and forth on the same path. When heading back from the Arsine Lakes, stop at the huts for the night.

Route description

2nd day : Source of the Romanche River

  • Alpe de Villar (2077 m) – Source of the Romanche River (2143 m) or Valfourche (2048 m) – Arsine (1667 m)
  • Elevation gain: + 50 m, - 455 m for Valfourche or + 150 m, - 550 m for the Source of the Romanche River.

When starting out from the huts, take the little path leading from the cairn down towards the river. When you reach the little footbridge, you join the route described in the link below. From there, you will follow the same path on your way there and back, so you can turn back any time you want.

Route description


  • It is possible to switch the two days
  • It is possible to make shorter walks, by turning back wherever you want in the idyllic vale ledaing towards the Arsine Mountain Pass on the first day and by stopping at the Valfourche Bridge on the second day.
  • It is possible to reach  Villar d'Arène or La Grave with the regular bus M55 Grenoble - Briançon and start your walk from there (following the GR54 trail). Starting from Villar d'Arène adds about 30 min. walk.

You will find a description of the little loop from Arsine to the mountain huts at the Alpe de Villar  Rando Ecrins.

IGN topographic map: 3436 ET Meije Pelvoux

Le pastoralisme

Qu'est-ce que le pastoralisme ? Comment fonctionne un alpage ? Comment se comporter en montagne et face aux troupeaux ? On vous explique tout dans cette vidéo pour coexister et profiter pleinement de votre randonnée dans les Hautes Vallées - la Grave, la Clarée, l'Izoard...


Many flocks of domestic animals pass the summer season in the alpine pastures. The flocks of sheep are often watched by guardian dogs. How should you behave when you meet these dogs who see you as an intruder?


When you see the flock:

  • Slow down and let them know you are approaching (whistle, talk loudly, sing…).
  • If you are on a bike, slow down and get off your bike, as rapid movement may induce them to chase you.
  • Bypass the flock in as large a circle as you can manage.

When the dog approaches:

The aim is to be identified as a human and to behave without aggressiveness.

  • Stand still facing the dog, arms and walking sticks along the side of your body and don’t look the dog directly in the eyes.
  • Give the dog time to identify you and to be reassured: talk to it and behave calmly (yawn, look away...)
  • If necessary, take off any garment that makes it difficult to identify you such as a rain cloak or a cap.
  • If you are anxious, you can hold an object or a garment between yourself and the dog.
  • As soon as the dog calms down, you can walk away calmly, facing the dog.


When hiking you will find yourself fully immersed in nature. You will come across fragile different environments and be surrounded by wildlife. It is of our duty to leave the beautiful places visited the way they were before and the way we would like to find them when first discovering them.



Code of conducts while trekking



Before going on a hike adventure, it needs to be prepared. Indeed beforehand you would have to choose a suitable itinerary, checked the weather forecast, and taken everything you would need with you in your bag. Plus, do not forget to swap your flip flops for nice and comfy hiking shoes.



How to get ready for my hike