Magical summits, crystal-clear lakes, lunar-like scree and green alpine pastures: the GR 55 has the best of what the Alps have to offer. For almost 60 kilometres (37 mi), you journey on a majestic high mountain route through the heart of the Vanoise National Park. Most of the hike is above 2,000 metres (6,500 ft) in altitude and takes you across high Alpine plateaus, past imposing glaciers and into the realm of marmots, chamois and ibex. It is a simply breathtaking adventure that awaits you!
I have chosen to divide the GR 55 into three stages in order for it to be possible during a long weekend. The first stage ends at the Col de la Vanoise refuge, where it’s possible to book an overnight stay or to camp. The second stage ends at the Péclet-Polset refuge, where camping is not allowed. As a general rule, wild camping is allowed in the Vanoise National Park from 7pm to 8am between 1st June and 30th September, but only near certain refuges. I advise you to book your overnight stay in a refuge or your tent pitch in advance, especially if you are hiking during the summer.
There are many refuges on the GR 55, and it is easy to divide this hike into more or less days depending on your level and your ambitions. Those who wish to take more time will find advice on how to do so in stage 2. There are no technical difficulties on the route and it is suitable for anyone in good physical shape. The only thing to bear in mind is that it is rather cool at night above 2,000 metres (6,500 ft)!
The Tour starts in Tignes Le Lac. The Altibus shuttles give you easy access from the Bourg-Saint-Maurice SNCF station. The journey takes about an hour. The GR ends in Modane, where you can depart for other destinations from the SNCF station and the bus station.
I suggest you walk the GR 55 between June and September. As most of the route is above 2,000 metres, there may be significant snow cover on the passes late in the season.
For more information on the Altibus shuttles, see: altibus.com
The art of responsible wild camping in the Vanoise (details and list of refuges near which wild camping is permitted): vanoise-parcnational.fr/en/des-decouvertes/sejourner-dans-le-parc/lart-du-bivouac-responsable-en-vanoise
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Last updated: November 4, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
A breathtaking first stage, which takes you from Tignes Le Lac to the Col de la Vanoise refuge, all while remaining above 2,000 meters in altitude.
Your day begins on the shores of Lake Tignes. Flat and great views, there's nothing like it to warm up! After Val Claret, you take a pretty mountain path…
This second stage takes you to the Péclet-Polset refuge. The scenery changes throughout the day, and once again it's a great hike that awaits you!
You start this stage by going down towards Pralognan-la-Vanoise. You take a pretty path, between rocks and glaciers, then arrive at Lac des Vaches. There is…
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Third and final stage of your GR, which brings you to the town of Modane.
You start the day by going up to the Col de Chavière. The decor is impressive: you are in a huge perrier, surrounded by glaciers. It is a mineral environment, almost lunar, completely different from the pastures of the day before…
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