Refuge de l'Alpe de Villar d'Arène from Villar d'Arène
Country - France
Region - Haute Alpes (05) - La Grave & La Meije - Ecrins NP
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 16.0 km / 10 miles
Ascent - 410 metres / 1353 feet
Descent - 410 metres / 1353 feet
Time - 5.00 hours
This walk follows the River Romanche upstream from the village of Villar d'Arène to a refuge that offers superb views of the surrounding mountains including La Grande Ruine.
Start & End - The village of Villar d'Arène located just off the N91 a few kilometres east of La Grave.
At Villar d'Arène parking is available in the village square by the church. From the square take the signed path by the side of the Auberge Aux Trois Frênes down to the bridge across the River Romanche. Cross the bridge and go left following the river upstream. You are now on GR54.
Reaching the trail junction for the Refuge du Pas de l'Aigle, turn left across the Pont des Brebis and turn right to continue following the river upstream. Pass the camping site of Pont d'Arsine where refreshments are usually available. Continue along a broad track to reach a parking area. GR54 continues ahead with the river entering a narrowing gorge.
The path starts to climb, crosses a small footbridge and then climbs more steeply using zigzags to gain height easily. Nearing the top the path reaches a junction. Bear left here (the return route joins here from the right). The path is signed to Refuge de l'Alpe and Col d'Arsine. After the junction the path continues to climb to reach open pastures. Continue through this wonderful valley to reach a further junction ( 2057m.). Bear right here and soon you will see the Refuge ahead.
Rather than return by the same route, leave the refuge and descend southwest into the valley to reach the main path to the Sources de la Romanche. Reaching this path continue in a south westerly direction with la Grande Ruine filling the view ahead. Soon you reach a small lake, Lac Pers, and this makes a fine place to take in the view before starting the return.
Stay on the main valley path, bearing left at the junction for the Refuge de l'Alpe. This path leads you easily back along the valley before starting an interesting descent down to reach the main trail above the zigzags. Continue along GR54 back to Villar d'Arène.
- IGN Carte de Randonnée - Meije Pelvoux - Parc National des Ecrins - 1:25000 Sheet 3436ET
French IGN mapping is available in digital format by area and 'cut your own' maps. For more information and availabilty go to the Anquet website.
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