Best time to go: Mid June to mid-July & late August to late September
Price from USD 3800 PP
Accompanied by mules, embark on a uniquely-designed journey through the French Haute-Alpes to discover the old 'escarton' of Queyras: a land of spectacular summits, serene larch-covered valleys, and a wild natural backdrop marked by the return of the wolf.
Imagine if you will, traversing the French 'Dolomites' on a caravan-style adventure through some of the most magical scenery in Europe. Supported by a trusted team of mules, you will be accompanied by our good friend Luc; an experienced guide steeped in these spectacular landscapes since childhood, and crucially, never to be found traveling without his cookbook and spice bag! And so at candle-lit dusk, as another day of hiking fades into the balmy sunset, we'll have you relaxing with a glass of organic tonic wine, and perhaps reflecting on a sighting of chamois or ibex as dinner is prepared from fresh regional produce around a glowing campfire. So think of this characteristically Gallic adventure as a combination of wonderful, well-supported hiking (on the hoof), comfortable camping, and haute bivouac cuisine!
The terrain on this adventure, while wildly beautiful, is only moderately challenging, and so while off-the-beaten-trail, this trip is suitable for most reasonably fit guests (and indeed their families).
The following is only the outline of a provisional daily plan. Each trip can be customised to suit your private group, and can be individually designed to include anywhere between 4 to 6 days of actual hiking. This particular 9 day trip template includes our classic late summer 5 day caravan.
You have the option of arriving in Marseilles, Grenoble or Turin. Pick up from the airport and transfer to Saint Veran (the highest, and one of the most beautiful villages in Europe). Dinner and overnight in local hotel (the best in town).
Today you will set off on a lovely morning hike (to get the legs moving a bit) before enjoying a nice leisurely lunch. In the afternoon you will have time to explore the village and it's surroundings, including a visit to a local farmstead and the fort of Mont-Dauphin. Overnight in local hotel.
Today you will transfer to the trailhead to meet your mule team, and begin the 5 day traverse of Queyras. Each evening we will set up a comfortable campsite in each of of our favourite locations.
The hiking is relatively easy (only being moderately difficult in parts), and passes through beautiful mountain landscapes. In Autumn these are ablaze with spectacularly golden-coloured foliage.
Every day we would aim to hike at a leisurely pace and arrive at our designated camping spot by mid-afternoon, so everyone has plenty of time to relax and enjoy the wonderful sunny climate.
We have deliberately avoided highlighting our exact route to prevent copy-cats, but needless to say, we have spent days scouring this region to work out the optimal routes.
Today you will hike to the end of the trail, and transfer back to the hotel in Saint-Veran. Spend the late afternoon relaxing over a nice cold beer, before enjoying a hearty dinner.
Today you have a number of options to choose from including the ascent of a nearby (non-technical) 3000m summit, a visit to a local wood carver's studio, and at night exploring the local astronomical observatory.
After breakfast, transfer to your airport of choice, and fly onwards to your next destination. See you next time.