The Valsenestre valley
This trail winds its way through a large valley, inhabited by large number of chamois in the Alpine zone and by Alpine ibex in the mountain cliffs. The valley ends with a pleasant sloping ledge featuring a recently restored and authentic shepherd’s cabin.
Vincent Nobili; Valbonnais Park Keeper
3 points of interest
Alpine gardenMore than fifty years ago, a botany lover, who is now elderly, created a small alpine garden in the centre of the village. Although it is less well kept nowadays, it still presents a stunning array of colour and a collection of spectacular plants belonging to alpine flora.
Viewpoint over the hamlet of VasenestreIn the 19th century, the hamlet of Valsenestre had roughly one hundred inhabitants. The main activity was breeding. In 1851, a marble quarry opened in the bottom of the valley on the way up to the Muzelle pass. This was an opportunity for the village. It welcomed the quarry workers and benefitted from an improved road. Marble production stopped in 1905. Up until 1926, children laughing and shouting could still be heard in the village. The school had about thirty pupils. It was closed a few years later and the last permanent inhabitant of the village left in 1948.
Restored villageValsenestre is a flower-filled village that has been superbly restored and is now made up of holiday homes The road is not cleared of snow in the winter. When the village had one hundred or so inhabitants it had a school (that has since been changed into a gîte d'étape (bed and breakfast halt), that closed in 1936. It was entirely buried by an avalanche in the 19th century. The main activity was still breeding but the opening of a marble quarry from 1840 brought complimentary resources to workers in the village. The last permanent inhabitant left Valsenestre in 1959.
From the village of Valsenestre, after the stopover gîte, follow the path to the left. It heads due north through a few bends over fairly low-lying vegetation. From here, you can see the Béranger valley, before you arrive at a large plateau (Le Clos), where you cross the torrent over a small footbridge. From here on, in summer, you can see sheep grazing in the mountain pastures. Follow the valley along a winding path around a large rocky bar to arrive at the Valsenestre valley. Here there is a shepherd’s cabin where you can watch the chamois and Alpine ibex that are attracted by the salt lick put out for the sheep. Behind the cabin, you can see a waterfall that is the source for the stream.
The peaks surrounding this valley reach the high point of 3126 m at the Pic du Clapier du Peyron. To its left are the Brèche de Valsenestre 2,598 m, the Brèche du Lauvitel 2,855 m and lastly the Pas de l'Aiguille 2,354 m. To its right, the Col and the Tête de Ramu (2,760 m).
Take the same route on the way back.
- Departure : Valsenestre
- Towns crossed : Valjouffrey
- Impacted practices:
- Aerial, , Vertical
- Sensitivity periods:
- Parc National des Écrins
In winter, the access road to the car park is closed.
When you arrive at the cabin, you will see the flocks guarded by Pyrenean Mountain dogs, whose role is to defend the sheep. Don’t go too near them - although the dogs seem friendly, they might see you as a threat and become aggressive.
In mountain pastures, protection dogs are there to protect the herds from predators (wolves, etc.).
When I hike I adapt my behavior by going around the herd and pausing for the dog to identify me.
Find out more about the actions to adopt with the article "Protection dogs: a context and actions to adopt".
Tell us about your meeting by answering this survey.
Maison du Parc du Valbonnais
Place du Docteur Eyraud, 38740 Entraigues
04 76 30 20 61
Reception, information, temporary exhibition room, reading room and video-projection on demand. Shop: products and works of the Park. Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.
Bus from La Mure to Entraigues (Transisere - line 4120). Change at "Entraigues Place" for the local Valjouffrey service (local bus for 8 passengers) to Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey.
Access and parking
D 26 from La Mure
D 526 from Pont du Prêtre
D 117 from Entraigues to La Chapelle and Valsenestre
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