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Vercors Crossing

Highlights

  • Guides Choice trip in the French Alps
  • Remote hiking in the French Alps
  • Mix of backpacking and guesthouse accommodations
  • Charming mountain villages
  • Unique Alps plant and animal life
  • Wonderful French cuisine

Description

Between Alps an Provence, the Vercors is a limestone range of towering plateaus and stunning mountain scenery. It offers solitude, an amazing diversity of landscapes, and wonderful plant and animal life ranging from ibex and vultures to protected orchids, Edelweiss and numerous other gorgeous wildflowers. Hiking across the high plateaus of the Vercors - the largest nature preserve in France - to the Archiane Cirque, and around famous and gorgeous Mont Aiguille (litteraly 'Needle Mountain'), this trip is a world class trek. Mont Aiguille is also an iconic feature in European mountaineering history as it is where mountaineering officially started, with a first ascent by Antoine de Ville in 1492!!!
The first part of our hike is across high plateaus in a splendid, pristine wilderness. Then we drop into several lush, rural valleys with a taste of Provence and discover pastoral France where people's lives and activities are still dramatically dictated by geography and nature. From architecture to farming we will witness how these small villages are adapted to their unique mountain climates.

The Vercors is known for its rock-climbing, caving, canyoneering, wildlife viewing and of course, hiking. But it's also famous for some delicious cheeses and other gourmet products, for being a place of Resistance during the Second World War where locals came to hide and plan rebellions, as well as for being the homeland of a number of famous outdoor adventurers.
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 begin with guests' arrival in Lyon Saint Exupery airport, landing before 2 pm, and transfer to Correncon en Vercors (approx 2 hours). We will check in to tonight's hotel, and after getting settled meet for an orientation meeting and then dinner at our hotel.

Note: your hotel tonight has a swimming pool so feel free to bring your swim suit!


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 8 mi (13.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1600 ft (487 m)
Elevation Loss: 700 ft (213 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


We start our hiking adventure with the crossing of the Vercors' high plateaus. From Correncon, where we spent the night, we hike along a fantastic trail to Carette, and the Darbounouze plain. In the summer, large sheep herds graze in these beautiful pastures. Our hike takes us alternatingly through meadows with fields of wildflowers, then through fir and beech forests until finally we reach our day's end at Tiolache du Bas. Here we set up our camp for the night. After a stove-cooked dinner, the stars will take you to dreamland. If the sky is clear, you are weclome to sleep directly under the stars, to enjoy the show!


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 8 mi (13.5 km)
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft (396 m)
Elevation Loss: 800 ft (244 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


After breakfast and packing up camp, we hike up a small drainage towards the former Bergerie du Play - an old sheep-fold sometimes used as a shelter. We cross the plateau under the Grand Veymont, highest summit of the Vercors range (2341m or 7680 ft). In this area it is not uncommon to see ibex, a type of mountain goat native to the Alps, reminiscent of North America's Big Horn Sheep. We continue hiking West to reach the Pas de Chabrinel, an access point to the high plateau from the Diois (Dee-wa) Valley , which we can see in a distance. We'll have great views of the 'Dent de Die' - a prominent rock pinnacle - jutting out from the top of the mountain.

We will set up camp with amazing views as our backdrop and enjoy another backcountry dinner, and another starry night!


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 7 mi (12 km)
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft (396 km)
Elevation Loss: 3000 ft (914 m)
Trekking Duration: 5 hours


This morning we start with a great outdoor breakfast, afterwhich we break camp and hike up the Queyrie Valley to a famous feature known as "The Tree", and check out a series of gallo-romanic ancient quarries. Then it's back on the trail towards the Pas de la Selle, one of the entry points onto the high plateaus, in a spectacular mineral environment. With any luck we will spot the famous Edelweiss, the most emblematic flower of the Alps. After traversing a plateau we hike down a scree slope, and around the corner the towering Mont-Aiguille appears! Literally translated as "Needle Mountain", this striking geological feature is locally famous. We'll snap some photos and soak up the views before continuing on. Beyond the l'Aupet saddle, we drop down to La Richardière, a small hamlet of the Chichilianne village.

Dinner and lodging tonight are in a small hotel where the simple comforts will be welcome after 3 days of backpacking!


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 9 mi (15 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 ft (762 m)
Elevation Loss: 3200 ft (975 m)
Trekking Duration: 6 hours


We leave our small hotel and village to hike back up onto the Plateaus, through the Pas de l’Aiguille ('Needle pass'), and start hiking across the Southern plateaus. During the Second World War, this was a hub of the French Resistence where war area refugees planned ways to rebel against the Nazis. Eventually we reach the Jardins du Roy ('gardens of the King') which is where Henry the 4th used to come bear hunting long ago!

We then drop down into the Cirque d'Archiane, where towering limestone cliffs encircle a small valley and the charming, isolated village of Archiane. We will enjoy a hearty meal and deserved night of sleep at a guesthouse in Archiane.


Day 6

Hiking Mileage: 9 mi (15 km)
Elevation Gain: 4300 ft (1310 m)
Elevation Loss: 1800 ft (548 m)
Trekking Duration: 7 hours


After breakfast at our guesthouse, we set off for another amazing hike, but today through changing ecosystems. Mediterranean plants like lavender, oak, pines and box trees - the vegetation of Southern France (Provence) are more abundant. The villages on the Southern end of the Vercors also have more of a Provence feel, which becomes more obvious as we hike farther south. Our hike takes us to the small villages of Benevise and Les Nonnieres - even the architecture is different from where we started the hike, adapted to the local materials and climate. We hike up to a couple of small mountain passes, to reach the Combeau Valley, a green alpine oasis after the somewhat dryer provencal Southern slopes. This valley is locally famous for its wildflowers in the spring, a blooming carpet of crocus, orchids and lillies.

We'll set up camp tonight near the Essaure shelter, and enjoy another hearty backcountry dinner, before a good night's rest under the stars.


Day 7

Hiking Mileage: 13 mi (21 km)
Elevation Gain: 2500 ft (762 m)
Elevation Loss: 4000 ft (1219 m)
Trekking Duration: 6-8 hours


Our longest hiking day starts with an ascent up to the Pas de l'Essaure, another of those access points connecting the high plateaus with a nearby inhabited valley. We'll hike past stunning views overlooking the Chichilianne village before crossing in front of the Mont Aiguille. We will at first see only its longest side, before ascending to the Papavet Pass, where its narrowest and most spectacular face is right in front of us. After snapping photos and having a snack, we'll descend to the village of Bathie. Then we ascend one more small mountain pass, Allimas, before arriving at our journey's end in Gresse en Vercors village, under the Grand Veymont cliffs.

Dinner and lodging tonight are in a small, charming guesthouse with double rooms in Gresse en Vercors.


Day 8

Time to say goodbye, after breakfast we get on a private shuttle to head out to the Lyon Saint Exupery Airport. All flights should be schedule for after 3 pm.


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
  • All backpacking gear including backpack, sleeping bag, pad, tent...etc.
  • Vehicle transport of extra belonging to Day 7 guesthouse
  • Use 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 Lyon, France
  • 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. During the backpacking portions of the trip, all meals, including dinners, will be prepared 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
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags and pads
  • Trekking poles
  • Cooking equipment
  • Water filters and treatment
  • 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 Lyon Saint Exupery 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 2PM). 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