Mercantour Hikes

Home to seven great valleys and stunning peaks, Mercantour National Park is an amazing location to hike. As with any location in the Alps, you are guaranteed amazing views, alpine lakes, lovely flowers, mountain villages and Rifugios to provide respite. What makes Mercantour special is the historical magic in the Valley of Wonders. Cave paintings and etchings dating back to the Bronze Age can be found here. Come to Mercantour and try to interpret their meanings!

Click ‘+MORE INFO’ below for a list of the 10 Best Hiking Trails in Mercantour National Park.

THE TOP 10 HIKING TRAILS IN MERCANTOUR NATIONAL PARK

The Valley of Wonder is everyone’s favourite hike, so of course you can’t miss that, but Mercantour is more than just that. The Authion is a historically important defensive position. The Col de Fenêtre is a remarkable site to see. Then you have a selection of beautiful alpine lakes and breathtaking valleys. This is a great hiking destination and you won’t want to miss these trails.

#1. Fontanalba – The Valley Of Wonder (13.2km, 705m, 4-5.5h): In the heart of the Mercantour National Park, “the valley of wonders” is an exceptional open archaeological site, where thousands of prehistoric engravings have been recorded. It is long, but it’s also an easier hike, where you will walk past some mountain lakes and chamois and ibex goats!

#2. The Authion (7.9km, 356m, 3.5-4h): This hike is an ideal walk for the history buff in your family. The Authion has been long considered the keystone of the defensive system for the Alpes–Maritimes: from 1388 all the way up to WW2. On your hike you can see an American tank from 1945 on display.

#3. The Col de Fenêtre (10.1km, 688m, 4.5-6h): This hike places you in the core of Mercantour National Park. The Fenêtre pass connects the Vésubie to the Italian Val Gesso. On this walk you’ll likely see ibex goats and some chamois too. We recommend extending this hike with the alternate route back.

#4. La Lac Nègre (12.7km, 823m, 5-6.5h): This hike is a classic. “La Lac Nègre” is yours to discover all 12ha of this magnificent lake surrounded by ochre granite cliffs. A well-marked and shaded trail – this walk presents no difficulties.

#5. Lac d’Allos (4.5km, 254m, 2-3h): One of the easiest and most beautiful hikes in Mercantour National Park. You’ll get superb views of the Lac d’Allos, the biggest high-mountain-lake in Europe with a size of 60ha. This is a walk you don’t want to miss.

#6. Sommets des Garrets (17.1km, 1,982m, 6-9.5h): One of the most beautiful hikes in Mercantour National Park. You have a superb view on the Lac d’Allos, very panoramic. You’ll walk on limestone rocks, through larch forests and grassy slopes, and you can find rare plants and birds: jewels for connoisseurs. But, it comes at a price: a lot of altitude gain.

#7. Le Mont Mounier (17.2km, 1,282m, 8-9.5h): Being one of the highest limestone massifs in the region, Le Mounier has some of the best scenery in the Southern Alps. Stunning views, a lunar landscape and a beautiful crest to climb, this walk has it all.

#8. Lacs de Vens (15.1km, 1,169m, 5.5-7.5h): This superb hike of the Vens Lakes and the Collet de Tortisse has interesting, unique geological structures, like a limestone bridge. Vens Lakes are among the most beautiful lakes in this area and when you reach the lakes a nice mountain hut is waiting for you.

#9. Lac de Sagnes (19.5km, 1,023m, 6-9h): Hiking to the beautiful Lac de Sagnes in the late afternoon exalts the beauty of this landscape. The Lac des Sagnes has exceptional scenery, where rocks, water and vegetation meet in harmony. It’s a gorgeous, meditative walk.

#10. Lauzanier (12.9km, 679m, 4-5h): A glacier carved the Lauzanier valley, so that ancient glacier is whom you’ll want to thank for this stunning landscape. Agriculture is popular here as well as raising sheep. You might notice them. There is said to be 7,000 sheep in this area. Your hiking companions on this walk might be four-legged and fluffy.

01. FONTANALBA: THE VALLEY OF WONDERS

01. FONTANALBA: THE VALLEY OF WONDERS

  • Difficulty
  • 13.2km
  • 705m
  • 4-5.5h

02. THE AUTHION

02. THE AUTHION

  • Difficulty
  • 7.9km
  • 356m
  • 3-4.5h

03. THE COL DE FENÊTRE

03. THE COL DE FENÊTRE

  • Difficulty
  • 10.1km
  • 688m
  • 4.5-6h

04. LA LAC NÈGRE

04. LA LAC NÈGRE

  • Difficulty
  • 12.7km
  • 823m
  • 5-6.5h

05. LAC D’ALLOS

05. LAC D’ALLOS

  • Difficulty
  • 4.5km
  • 254m
  • 2-3h

06. SOMMETS DES GARRETS

06. SOMMETS DES GARRETS

  • Difficulty
  • 17.1km
  • 1,982m
  • 7-9.5h

07. LE MONT MOUNIER

07. LE MONT MOUNIER

  • Difficulty
  • 17.2km
  • 1282m
  • 8-9.5h

08. LACS DE VENS

08. LACS DE VENS

  • Difficulty
  • 15.1km
  • 1,169m
  • 5.5-7.5h

09. LAC DE SAGNES

09. LAC DE SAGNES

  • Difficulty
  • 19.3km
  • 1,023m
  • 6-9h

10. LAUZANIER

10. LAUZANIER

  • Difficulty
  • 12.9km
  • 679m
  • 4-5h

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”

– John Muir