Panorama from the Lacs de Vens hike in Mercantour National Park, France''
Panorama from the Lacs de Vens hike in Mercantour National Park, France''

Lacs de Vens hike

Mercantour National Park
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The Tortisse Valley from the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe Arc de Tortisse on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe Lac de Vence from the refuge on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe Vence hut on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceTrail to the hut on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceViews of the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe bridge on the Vence river on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe crossroad to the direct path on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, FranceThe crossroad to the Lacs de Vence trail on the left on the Lacs de Vens Hike in Mercantour National Park, France

Lacs de Vens hike

Distance: 9.4mi
Elevation: 3,835ft
Time: 5.5-7.5h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.5 Overall Rating
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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.

Lacs de Vens hike Map

Getting there

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.

I’ve done this 37 people have done this
I want to do this 53 want to do this route

About

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


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, 7710ft), 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 (7762ft).

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 (8507ft), to see the Arc de Tortisse. From that pass you can go until the Col du Fer (8478ft) 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 (7388ft). You’ll then want to take the path on the left, in the direction of Lacs de Vens. You’ll reach the pass at 7946ft and then go down, crossing the path going uphill. From this point, the return to your car is on the same path.

Insider Hints

  • From the Col du Fer you can go down on the Italian side, until Ferriere (6234ft), 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 (5577ft). If you walk 1.2mi 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 (8530ft). From there, go down until Prati del Vallone, where you can sleep in the Rifugio Talarico (5577ft).

  • From Saint Etienne de Tinée, by car, you can go up to the Col de la Bonnette (8907ft), 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.

Comments

Antoanette Lavroutte 11 months ago

Worth the effort and good for my health, I don't recommend you bring your children as it is a challenging hike.

9.0 Overall Rating
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6h 00m Time Taken
Felix Legrand 12 months ago

All of these lakes are beautiful, Recommended it!!

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Vincent V. 1 year ago

Fantastic hike but be aware it's hard work but well worth it in the end. It is a paradise on earth.

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Dolores S. 1 year ago

It was a plesant hike! It would be nice to be physically prepared before doing this hike to avoid altitude sickness.

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Lorde P. 2 years ago

Superb hike! It has interesting, unique geological structures, like the limestone bridge. Fantastic view of the lake.

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Arnie Q. 2 years ago

Fantastic hike with challenges along the way. The view of the lake was amazing. Great for photography.

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Karen S. 2 years ago

The view is just mesmerizing. I can't wait to go back again.

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Villon H. 2 years ago

Stunning hike. Takes a lot of effort to get to the summit. We'll take Johny here next year on his birthday!

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Dayton M. 2 years ago

Perfect day hike in spring! Aside from the perfect weather, there are tons of colors to see.

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Rowena D. 2 years ago

Awe-inspiring scenery awaits at the top. The mountain looks splendid.

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16 Comments Show all

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