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Discover France’s Cerces massif — A Tour of Mont Thabor

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Discover France’s Cerces massif — A Tour of Mont Thabor

Hiking Collection by Chloé Perceval

5

Tours

36:24 h

54.4 mi

17,075 ft

Nestled between the Vanoise, Queyras and Écrins mountains, the Cerces massif is incredibly wild. Just a step away from the Italian border, you’ll find a corner of paradise with crystal clear lakes, imposing scree slopes, flowery alpine pastures and myriad summits which culminate at more than 3,000 metres (9,840 ft). This is also a place full of history: smuggling, looting and fortifications have all left their marks in this cross-border region. The GRP Tour du Mont Thabor opens the doors to this unique universe. Are you ready for adventure?

This adventure isn’t technically difficult and is suitable for anyone in good physical condition. Here, I’ve divided the route into five stages to give you time to fully enjoy your days and all the mountain has to offer. Whether you want to enjoy a nice picnic break by a lake, admire the view from the top of a mountain or enjoy a cool drink on the terrace of a hut at the end of the day, this itinerary will give you the time.

If you wish to hike the GRP in more or fewer days, there are plenty of lodges and huts located along the route, so you can cut it up according to your needs. You’ll find the map of the overnight stops on the route here: refugesclareethabor.com/fr/il4-claree,thabor_p38-carte.aspx (in French)
I strongly advise you to book your nights in huts so you don’t miss out. If you prefer to camp, it’s tolerated along the whole route and you’ll find many beautiful (and flat!) spots to pitch a tent.

The GRP starts and ends in Névache, in the heart of the Clarée valley. You can get there by bus from Briançon train station with the RESALP shuttles. Be careful though, in summer the shuttle is only available with a 48-hour advance booking. For more information, visit the dedicated page on the Clarée tourist office website: claree-tourisme.fr/acces-rapide/acces (in French).

In order to avoid snow on the passes and summits, hiking between the beginning of June and the end of September is best.

On The Map

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GRP Tour du Mont Thabor

45.1 mi

13,925 ft

13,925 ft

Last updated: December 1, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Étape 1 : de Névache au refuge des Drayères — Le Tour du Mont Thabor

    Difficult
    06:18
    11.1 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,475 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This first stage takes you from the small village of Névache to the Drayères refuge.

    

    You leave the village quickly and follow the Clarée torrent. This section is perfect for warming up before starting a fairly physical climb towards the Biaume chalets. From there, you already overlook Névache and the

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  • Difficult
    07:37
    12.5 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,475 ft
    4,675 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The common thread of this second day is water. From the Drayères refuge to Valmeinier, you walk between lakes, torrents and streams in an absolutely superb setting.

    

    From the Drayères refuge, you will find the GRP and start this day on a narrow path, with the Cerces massif as a backdrop. You arrive at

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  • Difficult
    08:35
    11.1 mi
    1.3 mph
    5,775 ft
    2,475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This magnificent third stage takes you through passes and mountain pastures to the Mont Thabor refuge.

    

    From the village of Valmeinier, you resume your journey and arrive at the ski resort of the same name. You pass a number of ski lifts before finding yourself along the Col des Marches stream. Postcard

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  • Difficult
    07:27
    11.0 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,500 ft
    4,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is absolutely grandiose. I suggest that you deviate a little from the official GRP route to get to the top of Mont Thabor. As its name suggests, the Tour du Mont Thabor does not indeed propose to reach its highest point. The ascent of this mountain is however gradual and without difficulty

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  • Difficult
    06:26
    8.74 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,850 ft
    3,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Last day on the GRP, and it's a little shorter stage ahead. This will give you time to leave Névache if you do not want to spend the night there.

    

    You have to retrace your steps from the day before at the start of this stage. I suggest you vary the pleasures and take a different path. You walk along the

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    54.4 mi
  • Duration
    36:24 h
  • Elevation
    17,075 ft

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