Before to hike

Before to hike

Prepare your hike


The Alpi Marittime Natural Park and the Mercantour National Park are mountain areas suitable for hiking that require prior preparation before outings.

Winter and spring snow cover means that the developed trail network will open gradually from late spring to early fall. Access to the highest passes and mountain refuges sometimes remains snow-covered until July. The preparation of hikes therefore requires particular attention to the conditions of practice.

Before you leave

  • Find your route and make sure you have access to the trails in the area.
  • Make sure that the level of the route matches your physical fitness.
  • Find out about the weather conditions before you leave.
  • Take a map with you and tell someone close to you about your route.
  • Leave equipped with hiking boots and warm, waterproof clothing.
  • Don't forget to bring water, food and sun protection.
  • Book your night in the mountain refuges or "gîtes d'étape".

Levels of difficulty

  • Very easy: walks of less than 6 km and less than 2 hours with no particular difficulties, rather suitable for families with children.
  • Easy: hikes between 2h and 3h with a maximum gradient of about 400 meters. Itineraries adapted for occasional hikers and active families.
  • Medium: day itineraries, from 3h to 5h, for hikers used to hikes in steep terrain with gradients greater than 400 m.
  • Difficult: hikes of more than 5 hours, intended for experienced walkers and sportsmen over long distances and presenting strong unevenness in rough alpine ground.

Useful and emergency informations

  • Unique European emergency number : 112
  • In Italy, meteo VETTA : go     
  • Meteo VETTA is the online snow-meteorological information service of the Piedmont Région
  • In France, Méteo France :

Trail marking

Parks trails are signposted at departures and crossroads.

The sites giving access to the heart of the Parks are indicated by entrance signs consisting of: a map, a reminder of the rules and informations on the heritage.

On the trails, the boundaries of the heart of the National Park are marked by green hexagons.


Herd protection dogs

Some hikes cross pastures grazed by herds. These are often guarded by defense dogs, "the patous", against predators.

These dogs do not develop a particular aggressiveness towards humans but as their role is to defend the herd they can be "protective".

Hikers are advised not to cross a herd but to go around it.

Wildlife Watching

You have chosen to have a break in the Mercantour National Park and the Alpi Marittime Park, which offer an exceptional natural wildlife.

You enter a space of discovery, tranquility, and inspiration.

Thanks to a few common sense rules, wild animals live freely, without human intervention.

Go out to meet wild animals, observe them, in silence, take pictures of them, but stay away !

By respecting these simple tips, you will help wildlife to live better in the mountains. You could then become, with a little patience and discretion, privileged observers, satisfied photographers.

Some people get too close, driving away the animals they wanted to observe. Some even feed them ! Without meaning to, they participate in their taming by a certain dependence on man. Vulnerable, they are more likely to die.