Ecrins trekking

Le lac du Fangeas

3 h
Return trip
Return trip
6.6 km
Total Length
564 m
  • By walk
  • Flora
  • History and architecture
  • Lake and glacier

Departure : Cascades Car Park, Fressinières

A cool and bucolic hike towards the Fangeas lake, a blue jewel in a haven of green. 

"One fine sunny day towards the footbridge that crosses the stream, upstream from the lake, two ducks flew just above our heads. This pair of mallards landed on the Fangeas lake. Barely ruffled by the walkers, it was busy rummaging in the silt, with its rump in the air. " 

Blandine Delenatte and Jean-Philippe Telmon, wardens

Park at the Cascades car park, at the end of the road to the bottom of the Fressinières valley. Take the path to the left, where you will find the entrance to the National Park, indicated by three explanatory panels (Leave the bridge that leads to the winter trail to the right). Cross the footbridge over the Oules stream and follow bends in the path along a large waterfall before crossing a zone of scree. As this 'summer' trail crosses an avalanche zone, it is not used in the winter. It has a gentle slope and is wide, enabling the inhabitants of Dormillouse to restock with the help of tracked wheelbarrows. At the following crossing, take the footpath to the left "lac du Fangeas, col des Terres Blanches" and follow the trail along the Oules stream that leads to the Fangeas lake.  
The return trip will be by the same path. 


Nearest SNCF train station : l'Argentière les Ecrins - then taxi. (Taxi Pellegrin 06 98 88 17 78 / Taxi Billau 06 08 03 45 90)


From the main RN94 road north of la Roche de Rame, follow the D38 then D38B roads until you reach Fressinières. Go through Fressinières and follow the D238 road, which heads right up to the Cascades Car Park on the valley floor. This is the end of the road in the bottom of the Fressinières valley. In the snowy season, the road is closed. 

Information desks

Vallouise Park house

Information, documentation, models, exhibitions, screenings, product sales and works of the Park. Guided tours for school, reservation required. The new Park House opened in Vallouise since June 1, and offers visitors an interactive permanent exhibition inviting to explore the area and its heritage. A temporary exhibition space will allow a renewed offer. Finally, the device is completed by an audiovisual room to organize screenings and conferences Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

05290 Vallouise

Website - Email - 04 92 23 58 08

Lat: 44.84641, Lng: 6.48839

This trek is within park center, please read access rules.

Clic for map interaction

On the way...

A few remains of the exploitation of the ancient mine are disseminated around the sector of Fangeas. These mines go back to the Middle Ages, a period during which we exploited silver-lead and copper.  It was a small exploitation, no doubt associated with the mines at Fournel. The metal mined was used to mint feudal currency. The mine works are now filled in and flooded, which has enabled us to find well preserved remains: scaffolding, turned wooden bowls, the sole of a shoe. Archeologists have been excavating the mine for the last ten years they started by siphoning off the flood water from the tunnels. The mines are not accessible to the public and we have deliberately not communicated their exact location. For more information about this heritage, contact the mining museum at l'Argentière la Bessée.

The Oules stream

It has a series of waterfalls and natural basins that make it one of the most difficult streams to descend for those who like canyoning. The footpath that leads to the Fangeas lake follows it for most of the route and the sound of rushing water in the spring and the beginning of the summer, accompany the hiker.

View of the village of Dormillouse

The village of Dormillouse is unique in that it is levelled into several hamlets, each of which has a public amenity. Enflous, at the bottom of the village, has the mill, Escleyers has the temple, the school and the fountain, and Romans, at the top of the village, has the oven. The stone and wood houses are typical of mountain architecture in an isolated area.

Itinéraire du Fangeas
Eurasian wren

This small 10 cm ball of feathers, with a white band across its eyes, is the “pétabouillou” ou la “pétouse” that lets out its powerful song from the branch it is on, tail oriented vertically. It fidgets continually in the clutter of vegetation, elusive.

Troglodyte mignon
Pouillot véloce

Ce petit passereau commun est rarement vu mais si souvent entendu. « Tchiff-tchaff, tchiff-tchaff, chiff-tchaff... ». Son chant évoque le bruit des pièces d'or qui tombent dans une caissette une par une. Les anglais le nomment Chiffchaff, les allemand Zilpzalp. C'est dire si ce chant retient l'attention ! Migrateur, il arrive dans les Ecrins fin mars-début avril et niche dans les forêts buissonnantes. Il se nourrit d'insectes tout l'été avant de rejoindre le pourtour méditerranéen dès l'automne.

Pouillot véloce
Eutrophic Tall herb fringe

This is a plant formation of tall grass that grows on damp ground. Along the Fangeas footpath on the edge of the Oules, this tall grass brushes calves and thighs.

Large flowered foxglove

It would be difficult to miss this large flower with its bunched yellow corolla. It gets its name from the resemblance of its flower with thimbles in which you put your finger ("digitale" referring to finger in French). In colloquial language, it is called "witch's glove" as it is a very toxic plant.

Digitale à grandes fleurs

This large member of the umbelliferae family can grow up to 160 cm and likes rich damp soil. It gives off a smell of mandarin when it is handled. In the spring, the flower buds are hidden in a sheath of leaves and when they blossom, the umbels attract many insects. 

Berce commune

There is little chance that you will come across this animal but it is likely you will see evidence of unearthing (overturned top layer of earth) or  rooting (when it digs deeper into the soil). Boar root the soil with their snout in search of worms, beetle larvae, roots and tubers.

Trace de sanglier
Roe deer

Hidden in the larch forest, the roe deer will occasionally show its fine head at dusk or dawn. It is not always easy to spot this reserved animal but traces betray its presence by the print of its frail heart-shaped hooves, shrubs stripped of their bark by yearlings rubbing the last shreds of velvet from their antlers, or scratching at the ground to mark their territory during the mating season. Sometimes a throaty barking sound may be heard.

 	Un brocard ou chevreuil mâle à pas feutré
White hellebore

Without its flowers, it would be easy to mistake it for a yellow gentian. However, the white hellebore has alternating leaves on its stem whereas those of the gentian are opposite (forming a cup). The gentian makes a well-known aperitif, whereas the hellebore is poisonous.

Vératre blanc
Sheep pastoralism

At the beginning of the summer, a flock grazes at the edge of the Fangeas lake. It best to keep a distance to respect the shepherd's work.

Alpine bartsia

It can be seen from afar in the green grass due to its purplish bracts that almost hide its small flowers. It is an artic-alpine species living high in the Alps and in northern Europe.

Bartsie des Alpes

The Fangeas lake is surrounded by wetlands. Its name comes from "fange", which is a marshy area.

Zones humides

At the beginning of August, the Felwort's violet stars open up in the sun. At the base of each of the five petals, two shiny dimples filled with nectar attract insects. It is part of the gentian family and is a beautiful, hardy flower that resists the winter season thanks to its winter bud.

Swertie vivace
Large mountain grasshopper

From the middle of the summer, this grasshopper rubs its dark, staggered, ribbed elytra with its back legs and fills the air with the resulting repetitive sh-trrrrrrr sh-trrrrrrrr sh-trrrrrrrr...sound. When we disturb it as we walk, it flies off noisily as if it was not happy.

Criquet jacasseur

Its light green, almost yellow leaves enable us to identify it on the soggy earth. The sticky surface of its leaves are a real trap for the gnats that venture onto them. The plant is carnivorous in order to compensate for the lack of nitrogen in the wetlands.

La grasette commune
Broad-bodied chaser

It get its French name, 'Libellule déprimée' not because it is "depressed" in a psychological way, but due to its flat abdomen. The male with its blue abdomen can often be seen flying above wet areas.

Siberian grasshopper

In the grass around the Fangeas lake, in August, several grasshoppers blend into the grass. Among them, the Siberian grasshopper has a peculiarity; it has butch arms, like Popeye. In fact, it is just that its front legs that are shaped like bulbs. Without this detail and its long steady song "creh-creh-creh-creh", it might easily go unnoticed with its green-brown colour.

Gomphocère des alpages
Common frog

Sometimes a frog will jump in the wetlands that surround the Fangeas lake and more specifically in the rivulets that meander through the grass. Young or adult, it is the common frog, the most common in the mountains. It can live up to an altitude of 2800 m, a record! It hibernates in the ground or in the silt at the bottom of the water. In the spring, its eggs float on the surface of the water in compact clusters.

Grenouilles rousse

Altitude profile

Altitude (m)

Min : 1439 m - Max : 1978 m

Distance (m)



No camping in the Cascades Car Park, bivouac permitted at least an hour's walk away from the park boundaries. No camp fires in the heart of the Park. 

See also

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