Ecrins national Park
The National Park is synonymous with biodiversity. Indeed, here, the wealth is immense : what contrasts between Mediterranean south-facing slopes of Embrun and the Barre des Ecrins (4102m), between the spectacular queen of the Alps and the discrete glacier buttercup, between the Plecotus (long-eared bat) and the Golden Eagle ...
This diversity first led to the creation of the Ecrins National Park in 1973. Its duty is its protection and its development. In these places, the opportunities for the hiker, the photographer or the contemplative are numerous. Enjoy them ... in the greatest respect for this exceptional environment.
Les Hières under the Meije in Valfroide small valley © Pascal Saulay - PNE
Young Tengmalm owls © Damien Combrisson - PNE
Chamois kid © Christophe Albert - PNE
Glacier's renoncules - Champsaur © Marc Corail - PNE
A few key figures :
- Creation of the Park : 27 March 1973
- Core zone of the Park* : 91 800 ha
- Optimum partnership perimeter** : 179 581 ha
- Accommodation : 38 mountain huts and 48 lodges of hiking gîtes
- Altitude range : from 669 to 4102 m.
- Highest point : The Barre des Ecrins
- Paths : more than 700 km and 146 footbridges and bridges in the core zone of the Park
- Flora : 2500 species including 216 plants listed on the red list of rare and endangered flora and 389 species are endemic to the Alps or have an area of arctic-alpine distribution
- Fauna : 75 mammals, 233 birds, 16 reptiles, 10 amphibians, 21 fish, 56 dragonflies, 70 locusts and grasshoppers, 222 butterflies, 744 moths...
- Glaciers : 7,200 ha
- (Summer) alpine meadows : 68,800 ha
- Forest : 41,422 ha
* The core zone of the Park is the protected and unspoiled area which is subject to special rules.
** The partnership zone is governed by a charter adopted by the relevant communes.
> To find out more, visit the Park website
National Park houses
7 houses of the Park are both offices of sectoral field teams and a visitor centre to discover the area and its heritage. The hosting staff and the presents guards may help you in the preparation of hiking.
Many books, audiovisual projections, exhibitions and media specific discoveries made by the agents of the Park are to be found in these houses. They also offer a specialized nature and mountain library.
> For help in preparing your hiking trips, contact the Park Houses.
Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar house of Park © Pascal Saulay - PNE
Vallouise house of the Park © Bertrand Bodin - PNE
Park core zone rules
The core zone is an unspoiled area that is open to everyone and is governed by a code of good practice :
- No dogs, not even on a lead, so as not to disturb wildlife and livestock
- Exceptions are working dogs, such as guide dogs, sheep dogs, avalanche dogs, as part of their activities.
- No picking flowers or taking samples: animals, plants, minerals and fossils are all part of the scenery.
- No firearms : all animals in the core zone are protected.
- No hunting : here all animals are protected.
- Do not leave litter. Keep the natural world unsoiled.
- No littering. Keep the nature unsoiled.
- No fires : to avoid forest fires and soil deteriorations.
- Avoid making too much noise. Let everyone enjoy the zone in peace.
- No camping: to preserve the beautiful scenery and prevent pollution.
- "Wild camping" is only permitted between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. and at least one hour's walk from the park limits or nearest roads.
- No motorised vehicles : the area can only be explored on foot; cars are only permitted on designated roads.
- No mountain bikes : the area can only be explored on foot, and the paths are only designed for use by walkers.
- Flying at less than 1,000 meters above the ground is forbidden.
- Glidings and hang-glidings are subjects to specific regulations.
- Do not cut through paths : in certain sensitive areas, off-path hiking is forbidden. It is good practice to avoid soil erosion.
Blue-white-red flags painted on rocks marked the limits of the core zone of the Park.