Ecrins trekking

Valestrèche and Le Gourette from Les Beaumes

2 h 30
Duration
Easy
Easy
Return trip
Return trip
5.7 km
Total Length
544 m
Ascent
Uses
  • By walk
Thematic
  • Fauna
  • Flora

Departure : Hameau des Beaumes, Champoléon

An easy, short, steady route that leads to a wild valley. Larch forests and green meadows create an environment that is ideal for observing chamois.

On a mound of grass and rocks, the small hamlet of Beaumes and its tightly packed houses guard the entrance to the valley. Overlooked from one side or the other by the rocky summits and staggering rock faces, the larch forest slowly gives way to meadows and scree. It is here, in a secluded, wild environment that you might be lucky enough to see your first chamois or take your first photograph of an ibex.

From the car park, take the road 150 m towards the hamlet, where three National Park information boards form a symbolic entrance. Stay on the footpath to the right. After two bends above the hamlet, in the gneiss scree, leave the Crupillouse lakes footpath and turn left towards the Valestrèche valley. For roughly three hundred metres, the footpath follows the blue-white-red boundary of the National Park, which is to the right of the path. A few sections of bends followed by sections of straight path along the slope gradually lead to the larch forest. On the right bank, you will see the rocky slopes of Puy des Pourroy and its red border (volcanic rock) and the Mourre la Mine pillar. The route continues and ends at the foot of a very steep, volcanic rock, glacial cross-cliff called "La Gourette" (approx. 1850 m).

Transport

Regular bus service to Champoleon. Shuttle service in the summer from Gap to Les Alberts with a stop at Beaumes (do not forget to reserve 36h in advance at 05voyageurs or by calling 04 92 502 505).
 

Access

From the N85, take the D944 up to the Corbières bridge and turn left. In the Champoleon valley (D944a), drive to the hamlet of Beaumes (approx. 4 km)

Information desks

House of Champsaur

Information and documentation, temporary exhibitions. Sale of products and works of the Park. In the same space, home office Tourist High Champsaur. Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.


05260 Pont-du-Fossé

Website - Email - 04 92 55 95 44

Lat: 44.6672, Lng: 6.22795

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

Clic for map interaction

On the way...
Fauna
Common chaffinch

All day long, during the summer, a clear and determined "pink" sometimes followed by an escalating tune, indicates the presence of the common chaffinch in the clear mountain forests. It is easy to recognise and to watch, not shy and often perches at the top of the trees. The male has a white stripe on its wings, its tail is fringed with white, its head is a grey-blue colour and it has an orange chest. The female is not as colourful but when on the ground the white on its wings and tail give it away.

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Fauna
Common chiffchaff

"Chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff" from the start of the track you will be aware of a bird that we often hear but rarely see. Its song reminds us of the sound made by coins as they are counted and dropped into a till one by one. It is a migratory bird and arrives in the Ecrins at the end of March, beginning of April and nests in the bushy trees. It feeds on insects all summer then goes back to the Mediterranean region in the autumn.

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Fauna
Western bonelli warbler

On this route, you could learn to distinguish its song from that of its cousin, the chiffchaff. Two seconds of ten or so identical sounds, a warble from its vibrating throat comes out of its open beak. The male sings almost all day long from April to June, and only in the morning in July. At the end of August males and females leave for the tree-lined African savannah.

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Flora
Larch

With its wide array of colours that change with the seasons, the larch has been designated tree of light. In the spring, it has tender green needles that are so soft you can stroke them. Female red current-coloured catkins and pale yellow male catkins adorn the branches. Like an autumn colour chart, it marvels us with its numerous golden shades. However, when winter comes, it is the only European conifer to lose its needles, consequently letting light through to the undergrowth. 

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Fauna
Chamois

You are likely to see it right from the start of the walk (especially if you leave early) either on the opposite slope, or maybe in the scree just above you. Sometimes there is only one, sometimes a group, When you come across one and your sole wish is to get even closer, do not forget that your discretion and restraint are a guarantee of its peace and even its survival.

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Fauna
Ibex

Ghost of the rocks, the ibex, or "rock goat" is stocky and plump. Its coat varies from beige to chocolate brown depending on the season and its sex. Its pliable hooves enable it to latch perfectly onto the rock. Males and females have horns with ornamental rings that grow throughout their lives. The male's horns can reach up to a metre in length, whereas the female (étagne) has shorter, almost straight horns.

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Altitude profile

Altitude (m)

Min : 1351 m - Max : 1843 m

Distance (m)

 

Advice

Do not stay too long at the foot of the Gourette corridor: rock falls are more common here than elsewhere.
Take photos and observe without disturbing.