Discover vast fields of pristine virgin snow, incredible frozen lakes, and magical icicled forests as you explore the wild, winter wilderness of the Southern French Alps on a week-long snowshoeing adventure. This guided snowshoeing holiday takes you through the Ecrins National Parks, one of the most beautiful and dramatic alpine national parks and a little-known paradise of winter beauty. Here, the only tracks you’ll see belong to the wild chamois, ibex and deer that roam the area – shortly followed by the imprints of your own snowshoes! This is a great chance to get away from the crowds that flock to the bigger ski resorts, and to discover the mountains as nature intended them to be.
Accompanied by expert and highly qualified mountain guides, you’ll spend five days snowshoeing through stunning alpine scenery, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, ice gullies and imposing rocky cliffs. You’ll reach summits, cross ridges and cols, and have fun sliding and jumping through open snowy meadows! You can expect to ascend between 300-800 metres per day, spending around 4-6 hours walking – with plenty of stops for hot chocolates, mountain picnics and of course, photos! With a free day part way through your tour, you’ll have the chance to rest and relax on the sun terrace of your boutique guesthouse, or indulge in a pampering spa treatment. If you’re in the mood for more adventure, set out into the wilderness for some exhilarating ice climbing, cross-country skiing, or dog sledging!
(Please note that the itinerary listed below is an example, and may be adapted depending on conditions and the groups' needs.)
Undiscovered Alps aim to provide a more ecologically conscious alternative to your usual skiing holiday. A trip to one of the Alps’ larger, more populous ski resorts is not always the most environmentally friendly option – snowshoeing, however, gives travellers the chance to visit some of the lesser-developed parts of the Alps, with minimal impact on the natural environment. No mechanised infrastructure is required to facilitate a snowshoeing trip, making it a great way to explore the mountains in an unobtrusive, low-impact manner.
Accompanied by expert guides, you’ll learn more about the fragility of alpine environments, and about how animals survive the harsh conditions. Some of your snowshoe walks will take you into the Ecrins National Park, a protected area that has been used for the reintroduction of ibex, and for the protection of other species that might otherwise come under threat in more developed alpine areas. Snowshoeing through this special habitat will give you a greater insight into the importance of both alpine and global conservation. Undiscovered Alps also helps to support and protect local communities, providing local guides and accommodation provides with an alternative income and a way to make a living outside of the seasonal ski industry.
Arrival: Depending on your arrival time, you might decide to explore your new surroundings with a short walk of the area, or a visit to the local village. Alternatively, simply relax in your accommodation and admire the stunning views! At some point Undiscovered Alps’ staff will meet you at your accommodation to go through the various snowshoeing options. This is also a great time to try your snowshoes on!
Plateau of La Coche: The wild Champoleon valley, enclosed by 3,000 metre peaks, is frequented by chamois and ibex. A river winds along the valley floor, surrounded by scattered alpine villages and trees. Today, you’ll depart from here to make your way up through the woods to the plateau of La Coche. As you arrive on the plateau, your efforts will be rewarded as you drink in the beautiful panoramic views over the valley. Take some time to explore the vast snowy meadows before heading back down into the valley. A gentle start to the week, today will get you used to wearing the snowshoes and warm up your legs ready for the rest of your adventure!
Through the Larches in St Leger Les Melezes: Situated half-way up the mountain, St Leger Les Melezes is a quaint ski village. A network of forest trails and tracks criss-cross the mountainside, and there are some inspiring views to enjoy along the way. At the top of the forest, you’ll emerge onto a dramatic ridge, with the possibility of continuing up to the summit. Today’s snowshoe walk can be as strenuous or relaxing as you like, depending on whether you choose to follow steep paths or gentle traverses through the forest. At the end of the day, enjoy a well-earned glass of mulled wine or a steaming hot chocolate at a high-altitude chalet, hidden away in the forest!
Summit of La Palastre: Today’s gradual ascent takes you through vast snowy fields and past rocky outcrops, to bring you to the summit of La Palastre (2,278m). You’ll see woods, rock formations and ice falls, and there are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities! Once you’ve reached the col, you’ll enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch in the sun, before continuing to the summit for that ‘top of the world’ feeling. It’s all downhill from here, and you’ll have lots of fun sliding, running and jumping your way down the mountain.
Rest day/optional extra activities: If you need some rest and relaxation time, let your legs recover with a day spent chilling out at your accommodation. Admire the views, rejuvenate in the pool and Jacuzzi complex, or indulge in a pampering spa session. If you’re still feeling energetic, explore the wilderness of white with some alternative activities like ice-climbing, dog sledging or cross-country skiing. (Please note that any extra activities or ski passes needed for this day are not included in the price.)
Remote Alpine Village of Prapic: Begin today’s snowshoe walk in Prapic, an old farming village that boasts classic alpine architecture. A treat for the eyes! After the village visit you’ll head into the Ecrins National Park, through a beautiful U-shaped valley. Whether you decide to follow the river or head up onto the plateau, you’ll enjoy stunning scenery at every turn. On your way back, you’ll pass a remote chapel, standing alone in the winter wilderness. You might even decide to start today’s walk a bit later, so that it ends at sunset – the red and orange glow of the sunset illuminating the mountains makes for a truly magical scene.
Summit of La Piolit: Conclude your tour with a climactic ascent to the 2,484m summit of La Piolit. Your day begins in the Rouanne Valley, from where you’ll begin to ascend, zig-zagging through forests and past a dramatic cliff face. As the woods begin to thin out, you’ll emerge into open snowy fields, with sprawling alpine views all around you. Follow the most popular route to the summit, passing by the col de la Pourachrere for a picnic lunch before continuing to the top (if you have the energy!) Admire the views of Europe’s biggest dammed lake, the Lac du Serre Poncon, from the summit, before making your descent. Again, this is the really fun part, so enjoy it!
8: Departure: This is the sad day when you’ll conclude your alpine adventure. However, hopefully it will be more a case of ‘bientot’ than ‘au revoir’!
- Rate shown is a guide 'from' price per person, based on double occupancy
- A single supplement applies
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to chat to the operator directly and enquire about this tour's rates, availability and departure dates
- It is possible to book an additional activity for your free day, such as ice climbing, husky sledding, cross country skiing or other
- 7 nights half board accommodation (evening meal and breakfast)
- 5 picnic lunches
- 5 full days guided snowshoeing with qualified UIAGM high mountain guide
- Snowshoes and poles
- Snow security pack including avalanche tranceiver, spade and probe where necessary
- One free day with options to try out other winter activities
- Transport to and from snowshoeing
- Anything else not mentioned in inclusions