Ecrins National Park
Visit Ecrins National Park (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Écrins National Park (in French Parc National des Écrins) is one of seven French national parks. One of the largest protected areas in the French Alps it is a mountainous region to the south-east of Grenoble, west of Briancon and north of Gap and Embrun, on the border between the Rhone-Alps and Provence-Alps-Cote d'Azur regions,
Exploring Ecrins National Park
Ecrins National Park is visited by approximately 850,000 people each year, many in pursuit of various outdoor activities, in particular hikers and climbers.
It is of course the scenery that is the main attraction, with soaring mountain peaks, lush meadows, rushing streams, mirror lakes and beautiful scenery. The park has more than 100 mountain peaks over 3000 metres in altitude, with the barre des Ecrins at 4102 metres being the highest point and is also well known for the extensive number of glaciers it contains.
There are also some designated natural reserves within the borders of the park (Pics du Combeynot, Vallée du Béranger, Vallée de Saint-Pierre, Vallée de la Séveraisse, Vallée du Vénéon, Cirque du Lac des Estaris)
To help you make the most of your visit there are several 'Maisons du Parc' that together cover all the regions and have a great deal of useful local information, according to the region you are exploring. You should visit the one closest to you before exploring.
Most are situated in the towns around the borders of the park: you can find these information centres at Briancon (east, brianconnais region), Pont-du-Fossé (south-west, Champsaur region), Embrun (south, Embrunais region), Entraigues (north-west, Valbonnais region), La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar (west), L'Argentiere la Bessee (east, vallouise region) and Le Bourg d'Oisans (north, Oisans region).
Exploring and outdoor activities in Ecrins National Park
If you are a walker, there are many stunning hikes and trails that you can follow, at all levels of difficulty (there are said to be more than 700 kilometres of marked trails here).while it is certainly possible to disappear into the mountains for a few days on one of the longer trails, most visitors are content with shorter walks!
With luck you will come across Ibex and Chamois while exploring the more remote mountain areas.
Some of the best hiking in Ecrins National Park starts in the region beyond Ailefroide and the Pré du Madame Carle (accessible by road - even if you just go for the drive to get there it is worth the trouble), while the Fournel Valley is also very popular with nature lovers.
If you prefer a good drive in the hills, head a few kilometres beyond Le Bourg d'Oisans and take the route to La Berarde - a remote outpost in the mountains some 40km along a tiny lane.
Although less well known as a ski region than some parts of the Alps, the ski stations at Puy-Saint-Vincent and Pelvoux-Vallouise fall within the borders of the Ecrins Parc. On the north-eastern border are the well established resorts around Alpe d'Huez and Deux-Alpes.
Towns and villages
Although there are no major towns within the borders of the park itself but there are several villages which you will come across as you explore the region (although many visitors prefer to stay in one of the 'frontier towns' such as Embrun).
Villages to explore include Les Vigneaux, Vallouise, Ailefroide, Puy Aillaud and La Bérarde. Vallouise and Les Vigneaux are probably the two most worthy of a visit in their own right, also La Grave to the north of the park is a village that is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Parc national des Écrins, Isere, Rhone-Alpes || GPS: latitude 44.9231, longitude 6.36
Map of Ecrins National Park & places nearby
Highlights close by
La Grave 14km
Valgaudemar Valley 17km
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Ecrins National Park.
See Rhone-Alpes and Isere (the region and department for Ecrins National Park) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Ecrins National Park, France
- La Meije - site of natural beauty (10km)
- Jardin alpin du Lautaret - remarkable garden (14km)
- La Grave - most beautiful village (14km)
- L'Argentiere-la-Bessee - recommended detour (21km)
- Briancon - secteur sauvegarde (22km)
- Aiguilles d'Arves - site of natural beauty (22km)
- Briancon fortifications (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site (23km)
- Vallee de la Claree - grand site of france (25km)
- Place Forte de Mont-Dauphin - national monument (35km)
- Mont-Dauphin place forte (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site (35km)
The French version of this page is at Ecrins National Park (Francais)