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Southern Alps Trek

Highlights

  • Alpine hiking with wilderness and solitude
  • Stunning scenery of the Southern Alps
  • Stays in Quaint mountain villages
  • Unique mountain village architecture
  • Fascinating Alps wildlife like Ibex

Description

We fell in love with the Southern Alps - the Italian Piedmont and Ubaye - a superb mountain range that offers more solitude than many of its famous neighbors. This trip is ideal for our guests looking for world class hiking without the crowds as well as opportunities to see unique wildlife and stunning mountain scenery. We stick to one of the best itineraries in the Southern Alps, with unusual amounts of sunny summer days. We'll hike past several summits above 3,000m (9842 ft) high and flirt with the borders of both Italy and France.
Starting in Chianale (after a transfer from Turin), at the foot of Mont Viso, this tour enters France through the Queyras Range and traverses around the 'Aiguille de Chambeyron', just North of Mercantour National Park. It wraps up on the flanks of the dominating Ruben Peak. In addition to trekking through grand scenery with amazing solitude, this tour also offers wonderful visits to mountain villages and gourmet French and Italian cuisine!
Give us a call at 888-966-TREK (8735) to learn more or start planning your trip today!
Click here to ask us a question about this trip, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 888-966-TREK.

This trip is officially operated by Wildland International, a partner company of Wildland Trekking.
Click here to read more about Wildland International.
 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

On this Alps hiking tour, we will meet at Turin airport, Italy. Transfer (1h10 to 2h30 : 143 km) to Chianale, a small, classic village in the Piémont, at the base of Mont Viso, one of the highest in the area (3841m). Very close to the French border, we will taste the famous Polenta (made from corn flour) and other local Italian specialties! Dinner and accommodations tonight are in a guesthouse with 4-person bedrooms.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 10.5 mi (17 km)
Elevation Gain: 2820 ft (860 m)
Elevation Loss: 2460 ft (750 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


After a hearty breakfast at our guesthouse we will hike gradually uphill towards Blue Lake. We'll be hiking through classic Southern Alps landscapes with clear streams, light green larch forests, mountain lakes and majestic meadows. Through the Longet pass (2655m high) we reach Longet Lake, which is the headwaters of the Ubaye River. We will enter France to discover the Haute Ubaye Valley. It is not uncommon to spot marmots sunbathing on the rocks in this amazing mountain setting. We will eventually arrive in the village of Maljasset, which boasts iconic Southern Alps architecture with houses made of wood and stone, and the walls often parging and roofs made of flat rocks called 'lauze'.

Tonight's accommodations (dormitory style) are in a guesthouse operated by a professional chef so be prepared for some amazing cuisine!


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 10.5 mi (17 km)
Elevation Gain: 4100 ft (1250 m)
Elevation Loss: 2460 ft (750 m)
Trekking Duration: 7 hours


Today starts with a wonderful crossing from France to Italy to reach the refuge of Chambeyron. En route we hike across four mountain passes and a number of alpine lakes. We finish our day between the mountains Brec (Peak) and Aiguilles (Needles) of Chambeyron. We'll pass Marinet Lake, Ciaslaras Pass, Del Infernetto Pass, and finally Gypiere Pass, before heading down to our mountain hut past the Nine-color Lake. Alpines birds, ibexes, big horn sheep, chamois (another sort of European mountain goat) and marmots are all possible encounters today. Our mountain hut tonight is surrounded by wildflower meadows, mountain lakes and alpine summits.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 8 mi (13 km)
Elevation Gain: 1310 ft (400 m)
Elevation Loss: 4265 ft (1300 m)
Trekking Duration: 5 hours


Today we cross the Pas de la Couletta, 2770m high, in an area with amazing geology, then we descend to the small valley of Aoupets, 2350m high before climbing to a mountain pass at Vallonnet, 2524m high. This mountain saddle is often covered in blankets of white and yellow prairie crocus flowers. Ptarmigans, eagles and ravens are only a few of the local birds we might see. We traverse several alpine meadows between the Vallonnet Saddle ("Small Valley Saddle" and the Mallemort Saddle, 2558m high, before we descend to Larche Pass, where our hut and a warm dinnner await us.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 9 mi (15 km)
Elevation Gain: 3600 ft (1100 m)
Elevation Loss: 3600 ft (1100 m)
Trekking Duration: 7 hours


After an energizing breakfast and morning beverages we will ascend higher via the sheepfold of Viraysse and through the Monges Saddle, 2542m high which takes us into Italy. We will hike past a border sign with each country's symbol on either side, and with stunning mountains as the backdrop, which makes for a fantastic photograph. Surrounded by alpine pastures where sheep graze all summer long, 'migrating' in huge heards in the early summer up to the pastures, and then migrating back down into the valleys in September, we continue past amazing views and idyllic mountain scenes. Our ending point is the mountain stone village of Chiaperra, where we will stay in a "refuge" with hot meals and dormitory accommodations.


Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 10 mi (16 km)
Elevation Gain: 3940 ft (1200 m)
Elevation Loss: 3280 ft (1000 m)
Trekking Duration: 7 hours


Today is entirely spent hiking in Italy, and our itinerary is part of the famous long distance Alps Crossing Hike (Grande Traversee des Alpes), a local equivalent to America's Appalachian Trail. The Di Bellino saddle at 2804m of elevation is one of our highest points. Our hut is located at 1812m of elevation, close to the Sainte-Anne hamlet. Formerly used by the military, the building was entirely rebuilt on wood and stones.

Dinner and accommodations (dormitory style) tonight are in the Meleé mountain hut (Italy), at the end of a small unknown but beautiful valley. With any luck we will get a taste of the pine nuts of the Cembro Pine, a rare species of pine growing in the Southern Alps, the only one in the Alps to have 5 needles!


Day 7

Hiking Mileage: 9 mi (14 km)
Elevation Gain: 3580 ft (1090 m)
Elevation Loss: 3280 ft (1000 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


This morning we'll visit of the village of Chiazale (near last night's refuge). Old stone houses covered with stone slates, wooden balconies under the eaves sometimes filled with bundles of sticks, paved or cobbled streets ... it exudes the charm of an ancient setting. Some religiously inspired frescoes or sundials enliven the facades. Some homes also reveal a very ancient past with their mullioned or arched windows and sometimes decorated with stone faces. Today's hike is an ascent to the pass of Bondormire, 2651m high, and then a descent to the charming valleys of Fiutrusa and Ponte Chianale. Then finally we arrive back at the beautiful stone village of Chianale where we spent our first night on this trip. We'll spend another night in the first night's guesthouse (4 person bedrooms), again enjoying wonderful French cuisine in a breathtaking setting.


Day 8

After breakfast at our guesthouse we will say goodbye to the Alps for now and Transfer to Turin Airport for everyone's outbound flights.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
  • Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
  • Mountain hut lodging during the trekking portion of the trip
  • Hotel and guesthouse accommodations before and after the trekking portion of the trip
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on the last day
  • Professional, knowledgeable, certified Alps hiking guides (U.S.-based guides)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Turin, Italy
  • Beverages and personal expenses
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (strongly encouraged)
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-15% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

This Alps hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guide. Most lunches and some breakfasts are prepared on the trail by your guides.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Backpacks
  • Trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at Turin Airport on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel (included), where we'll conduct an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM (your flight needs to arrive before 3PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 4 weeks before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. This trek is led by professional hiking guides (U.S.-based) along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.

In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.


Guides

Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals (U.S.-based, click here to learn more) with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is 10 guests and 2-3 guides, with a minimum of 4 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Alps

The location of the Alps and their tremendous elevation variations, lead to significant and sometimes unpredictable temperatures and weather patterns, both in different ranges and in a particular range itself. Due to the Alps' location in central Europe, they are influenced by moist air off the Atlantic, cold polar air from northern Europe, fluctuating air masses; and warm Mediterranean air flows northward.

Due to these extraordinary forces acting on the Alps' weather, we recommend following our clothing list closely, as guests are best served by being prepared for a broad range of possible temperatures and weather conditions.

The average temperatures and precipitation in Alps are:

Average Alps Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month Hi Low Wet Days
May 45° F 55° F 6 days
June 50° F 61° F 6 days
July 55° F 66° F 5 days
August 54° F 66° F 5 days
September 50° F 61° F 6 days