Lacs de Vens

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
6-8.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
15.1 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,169 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Read Reviews
Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Lacs de Vens hike in Mercantour National Park, France''

This superb hike of the Vens Lakes and the Collet de Tortisse has interesting, unique geological structures, like a limestone bridge. Vens Lakes are among the most beautiful lakes in this area and when you reach the lakes a nice mountain hut is waiting for you.

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Route Description for Lacs de Vens

From parking you’ll take the road at signal n°20. After less than 1km the road ends and the path reaches a bridge on the little Vens River.

At the signal n° 21 take the path going to Lacs de Vens. The path goes up in a larch forest, through some rocky areas and over some prairies.

You’ll pass the river another time. After that, you’ll switchback up a rocky slope and, eventually arrive at signal n°22.

From here you’ll have to make a choice. The path on the left takes you directly to the hut, passing over lakes. On the right, towards the Pass des Pecheurs (the pass of fishermen, 2,350 m), the path will take you up to the coast of the Lac de Vens Inferieure and, after that, Lac de Vens Superieure. This will then ultimately lead up to the Refuge de Vens (2,366 m).

The hut is built on a cliff and has a nice view to the west and of the Mounier peak region.

From the refuge you can return on the same path back to your car (this is where our map ends); although, if you have the energy, you can continue onto the Collet de Tortisse (2,593 m), to see the Arc de Tortisse. From that pass you can go until the Col du Fer (2,584 m) and take the path that goes down into the Vallon de Tortisse. After half of an hour or so you’ll arrive at the Forestry hut of Tortisse (2,252 m). You’ll then want to take the path on the left, in the direction of Lacs de Vens. You’ll reach the pass at 2,422 m and then go down, crossing the path going uphill. From this point, the return to your car is on the same path.

Insider Hints for Lacs de Vens

  • From the Col du Fer you can go down on the Italian side, until Ferriere (1,900 m), a very nice and ancient hamlet, recently restructured. You can sleep here in the GTA refuge.
  • From the Col du Fer you can go down to the D2205 by the Vallon de Tortisse, reaching the D2205 to Le Prà (1,700 m). If you walk 2.0 km up you’ll reach your car.
  • From the Collet de Tortisse you can go ahead on the right until you reach the Italian side and the Colletto di Panieris (2,600 m). From there, go down until Prati del Vallone, where you can sleep in the Rifugio Talarico (1,700 m).
  • From Saint Etienne de Tinée, by car, you can go up to the Col de la Bonnette (2,715 m), one of the highest passes in the Alps. From here you’ll have a nice view of the Western Alps. You can continue until Jausiers, in the Ubaye Valley (see hikes 9 and 10).
  • Try staying at Rifugio Talarico while you’re in the area. It isn’t a fully stagged hut like some of the others in the are, but in the summer a nearby Holiday House does offer catering and hot showers.

Getting to the Lacs de Vens Trailhead

Take the RM2205 in the direction Saint Etienne de Tinée. From Saint Etienne you continue on the D2205 in the direction of Col de la Bonnette; after almost 9km, after you’ve passed two bends, you’ll find parking on the left, and a dirt road on your right. Leave the car here and take the road at the signal n°20.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June to end of October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    In Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée or from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. on site

  • Toilets

    Yes, in the Refuge de Vens

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Lacs de Vens Elevation Graph

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Lacs de Vens Reviews

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