Ecrins trekking

Tour of Vieux Chaillol - Stage 1 out of 5

5 h
Multi-days trek
Multi-days trek
21.5 km
Total Length
1110 m
  • By walk
  • Flora
  • History and architecture

Departure : Hameau des Paris, Saint-Jacques-en-Valgaudemar → Arrival : La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar

Walking along the Herbeys canal and then the Séveraisse stream, this first leg will take you up the Valgaudemar valley, whilst admiring the Olan from several different angles.

The Valgaudemar area will fascinate you with its alpine character and glacial sites. Although life is sometimes difficult here, it expresses the deep attachment the inhabitants have for their valley. Meeting with them will be enough to persuade you.

After crossing Les Paris, take the first wooded trail to the left. Follow it for 200 m before crossing the main road. The trail soon splits in two, take the left route that leads to the trail along the Costes canal. Follow this trail in a north-easterly direction. A surfaced road 300 m away leads to Saint-Jacques-en Valgaudemar. Leave the road after a fountain, cross the Herbeys canal and follow it for 800 m. An earth trail then a surfaced road (700 m) will take you to Séchier. Carry on up on the right and cross the village until you link up with the canal and follow it along the cool shady banks for 2 km. Leave it before La Chaup. Almost directly, at the bottom of the steep slope, cross the Chasserand stream before arriving at Lubac. After the Prentiq bridge, turn left, then right where a path, bordered by a stone walls leads to the hamlet of Garets. Continue through the hamlet and further on into the undergrowth to link up to the GR54 after the campsite at the Villar-Loubière bridge. At Les Andrieux, head up towards the Pétarel lakes for roughly an hour and a half. Where the route separates, take to the left down to the hamlet of Portes, then continue towards la Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar.


On the Grenoble-Gap bus route, stop at Saint-Firmin (2 km from Paris)


From the N85, take the D16 towards Lallée where you will follow the D16a and the D316. Take the first road on the right after Entrepierre.

Information desks

Tourisme Office of Champsaur & Valgaudemar

Open all year: Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm.

Les Barraques
05500 La Fare en Champsaur

Website - 04 92 49 09 35

Lat: 44.67429, Lng: 6.06485

Valgaudemar Park house

Information, documentation and a reception area with permanent and temporary exhibitions. La Maison du Parc is labeled "Tourism and Disability". Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

Ancien Asile Saint-Paul
05800 La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar

Website - Email - 04 92 55 25 19

Lat: 44.81836, Lng: 6.19371

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

Clic for map interaction

On the way...
Vernacular heritage
Herbeys canal

Inhabitants of Valgaudemar have long tried to control water to compensate for dry summers. The Herbeys canal still functions and is well used. With more than 600 litres per second, it waters 289 ha in the districts of Chauffayer and St-Jacques. It is 28km long and was started and finished on the initiative of François Dupont de Poncharra des Herbeys'. It is maintained every year by the members of the users' union who spend several days cleaning out the canal as well as consolidating the vaults.

Saint Maurice parish churc

This church that was built by Cluniac monks, is the oldest in the Champsaur and Valgaudemar valleys. There is proof of its existence at the end of the 11th century. Its square bell tower is of typical Lombard tradition. The simple interior is composed of three naves with ridged vaults and a flat apse. Spared by the religious wars of the 16th century, its first restoration dates back to 1668.

The Olan 'summits'

The Olan is one of the main summits of the Ecrins massif. It culminates at 3564 m and is made up of three summits the highest of which is the north summit. The central summit of the Olan was climbed for the first time on 8th July 1875, and the northern one on the 29th June 1877 by the renowned W.B.A. Coolidge and his guide Almer.  With a guide, or good climbing abilities, this would be a good choice for climbing a summit in the Valgaudemar starting from the Olan hut.

Omelette des Andrieux

The Andrieux (Villar-Loubière), hamlet does not see any sun for ... roughly 110 days. It is said that on the 10th February, the inhabitants would go to the bridge to celebrate the reappearance of the sun after months of absence. Each person would place an omelette on the bridge parapet and headed to the nearby prairie where a farandole would take place whilst waiting for the sun to appear. Then, the inhabitants would return to take their omelette, which they presented to the Sun, before returning home to eat it.

Yellow Figwort

There are plants that are like no others. That is the case of the Yellow Figwort. Its tall size (30 à 80 cm), its hairyness, its square stalk with large indented leaves and its yellow-green colour form a combination that catches the eye. A very rare plant in the Hautes-Alpes, its distribution area covers all of central and Southern Europe, the Pyrenees and Russia. It flowers between April and July. It probably escaped from Medieval medicinal gardens  cultivated by monks. Its habitat is particular: in ruins and old walls. Please do not pick it since it is interesting simply to observe it.

Boreal Owl

The Boreal Owl is a typical species from the conifer forests.  It is present throughout the year in the mountainous areas of France. In this forest, there live several individuals who are hard to spot.. Easily recognizable, the Boreal Owl has golden-yellow coloured eyes, circled with black topped with clear coloured eyebrows. It most often nests in holes bored by the Black Woodpecker or in natural cavities in old trees.It feeds on small mammals : field mice or voles that it hunts at night.


The blueberry shrub is a bushy shrub whose angular twigs have small tender, oval leaves that are finely serrated. It has single wine-coloured, bell-type flowers. As of August, they will give way to edible purple-fleshed berries that are also known as "black mouth".  At high altitude, it accompanies bilberries. When autumn sets in, entire mountainsides are covered in bright red that is highly visible in the landscape. Blueberries are an additional food source for fauna that is baccivore (berry eating), frugivore or herbivore, hence its scientific name vaccinium, from the Latin vacca (cow).

Oules du diable

The word "oule" is from the Latin olla, which means CAULDRON The Devil's Oules are made up of a series of waterfalls in a narrow gorge. Over time, the water and the pebbles of the Séveraisse river have eroded the hard rock. Spectacularly shaped, polished cavities have been created by the swirling movement. Barriers have been put up following mortal accidents.


Altitude profile

Altitude (m)

Min : 906 m - Max : 1562 m

Distance (m)



In rainy conditions, it is advised to go to La Chapelle en Valgaudemar by road.