The Ecrins National Park
The Massif des Écrins is one of the most spectacular mountain regions in the whole of the European Alps. Most of the area is a national park, with summits over 3000m high. The area is simply huge - the national park is the largest in France, covering an area of 92,000 hectares (227,332 acres), with a peripheral zone nearly twice that size. In simple terms it is 30 times bigger than the Chamonix Valley - and criss crossed by well over 1000Km's of well-marked trails. The vast majority of which are accessible from AlpBase. Hung about with glaciers, more than 100 peaks rise to well over 3000m and hence the reason why this area is referred to as the Hautes Alpes (High Alps) because it comprises the largest concentration of big mountain peaks in France; the Barre des Écrins, the highest mountain in the area and which gives its name to the area, is 4102m.
The Ecrins National Park has abundant wildlife. Look out for eagles, chamois, Ibex, willow grouse, marmots, black grouse, ptarmigan, blanchons, and even stoats….in all 167 rare and valuable species. The flora is equally diverse – 1,800 varieties with 387 rare species. Away from the traditional lavender fields of Provence you might find blue thistles, lilies and purple gentians and high altitude plants such as androsace, saxifrage, silene and edelweiss.
THE ECRINS VALLEYSThe six valley bases which make up this area include the following:
Vallée de la Romanche, Vallée de la Guisane, Vallée de la Vallouise, Valgaudemar, Valjouffrey and Vallée du Vénéon.