The glacial valley of the Séveraisse are located deep into the Écrins massif, at the base of majestic peaks over 3000 meters above sea level. It is the most famous place to go mountaineering in the Southern Alps. Valgaudemar’s wildness, (sometimes spelled Valgodemard), attract nature lovers looking for a preserved and authentic place.

A wild and deep valley

At the gates of the Écrins National Natural Park, Valgaudemar is an essentially vertical territory home to a great diversity of flora and fauna. The natural environments are determined by the exposure, between south and north-facing slopes, and by the altitude. The few cultivated fields are located at the bottom of the valley, while the coniferous forests are located on the steep slopes with the rocky chaos. Little by little, fir and larch trees give way to the low vegetation of the high altitudes. At the bottom of the valley, the high peaks crowned by glaciers offer a majestic, almost unreal landscape.

During your stay in the Valgaudemar, you will be able to observe chamois, mouflons, ibexes, marmots and other animals. If you look up, you may be able to observe golden eagle, another bird of prey or a black grouse. When spring comes, there are flowers everywhere. Endemic species such as columbine or valerian, carnations, narcissus, white poppies, primroses, edelweiss…

The natural reserve of the Haute-Vallée of Séveraisse (High Valley of Séveraisse) protects this priceless fauna and flora.

Authentic towns and villages

Discover Valgaudemar’s mountain culture. In Saint-Firmin, Le Séchier, Saint-Maurice, La Chapelle or Villar Loubière, you will find people very attached to this land, at the end of the world.

The religious buildings testify to the fervor of populations subjected to a harsh climate and sometimes difficult living conditions. Discover churches, chapels and oratories with their simple and austere architecture. Old chalets, fountains and wash houses testify to a past that is still very much alive. In the town of Saint-Firmin, the ruins of the castle show a particularly rich local history.

Discover Valgaudemar’s gastronomy: the “tourtons”, the oreilles d’âne (donkey ears), the “ravioles”. You can buy many local specialties from the local producers such as cheese, cold meat, honey and jam.

Hikers’ paradise

Hiking enthusiasts appreciate Valgaudemar. Numerous marked trails give access to the natural treasures of this wild territory: lakes, passes and peaks. Will you prefer “Lac du Lauzon” or “Lac Bleu”? Vallonpierre lake or the Col des Chevrettes pass? The itineraries follow one another, and each time they will amaze you.

You can also go on a multi-day tour including a night in a halt or in a refuge. You can take the GR® de Pays which makes a loop around Vieux Chaillol “ Tour du Vieux Chaillol”. It will take you five days.

To discover the main marked trails of Valgaudemar, you can get the IGN 3437OT (Champsaur / Vieux-Chaillol / Ecrins national Park) and 3436ET – Meije / Pelvoux / Ecrins national park) maps. Many websites and hiking guides offer hikes for all levels.


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The place to go mountaineering

The Gioberney chalet is the starting point for some of the most beautiful mountain races in the Écrins massif. You can stay at the Refuge du Pigeonnier, and then go climbing mythical peaks such as Les Rouies, Mount Gioberney and the Vaccivier peaks.

Starting from La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar, climbers can climb the Olan and sleep in the Olan refuge. Further down in the valley, the town of Villar-Loubière is crossed by the GR® 54: you can spend a night at the Souffles refuge before starting a major hike to summits and passes that are located 3,000 meters above sea level or more.

Nature lovers

Many other outdoor activities can be practiced in Valgaudemar. The Champsaur and the Séveraisse valley have many climbing spots and a via ferrata. You can also practice white water sports such as kayaking, rafting or canyoning, or go horseback riding in the heart of the Champsaur.

Road biking and mountain biking can also be practiced in the region. For example, you can cycle to the Sanctuaire de la Salette. Perched at 1,800 meters, it awaits you 25 kilometers away from Saint-Firmin. It is 820 meters difference in level and 14,4 kilometers away from the village of Corps.

Valgaudemar in winter

The Séveraisse valley is not home to any winter sports resorts. Ski lovers will go to the Champsaur resorts: Ancelle, Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes, Saint-Michel-de-Chaillol or Orcières-Merlette.

The presence of high peaks and a high altitude ensure a great snow cover, ideal for cross-country skiing or long snowshoe walks. It also attracts ski touring amateurs. The climatic conditions and the relief require a good physical preparation and a good knowledge of the mountain: you can get in touch with the guides’ office to hire an experienced guide.

You can also try climbing an ice waterfall with a guide. Experienced sportsmen and women can also enjoy vertiginous routes.

Practical information

From Aix-en-Provence, Valgaudemar is easily accessible by the A51 freeway and the N85 (following Gap and then Grenoble).

From Grenoble, you can take the national road N85 toward Gap.

Discover a selection of hotels, bed and breakfast, and camping sites in our accommodation section or on the Champsaur Valgaudemar Tourist Office website, which also offers many ideas of activities. The website of the Guides Office also presents many activities.

Selection of natural areas in the Hautes-Alpes :


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