GTM - Stage 05 : Ferrière - Refuge de Vens

5. GTM - Stage 05 : Ferrière - Refuge de Vens

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This stage will be the opportunity to discover the magnificent Italian valley of Forneris up to the Col de Fer, border pass which opens on the plateau of Tortisse. From here, the landscapes of Haute Tinée to the refuge of Vens are revealed.
The string of lakes of Vens, nestled in their green setting, is one of the highlights of the Great Mercantour hike.

1 point of interest

  • Refuge

    Lac de Vens and refuge

    The Vens refuge only has a warden during the summer months. In winter, only one room is open to allow hikers to shelter. The Vens refuge overlooks a series of lakes of the same name. These lakes are of glacial origin, they are the result of a long erosion process by glaciers. The lake below the refuge (the biggest) is 31 metres deep. Ibex, chamois, mouflons and golden eagles can often be seen at the site. Very close to the refuge, you can see the endemic plant which was for a long time the symbol of the Mercantour National Park: Saxifraga florulenta.

    Club Alpin Français: Capacity: 45 in summer and 30 in winter (no warden)

    Reservations only be e-mail in summer:

    No shower, meal included


Cross the hamlet of Ferrière (1880 m), by the main street leading to the riou de Ferrière. Cross it by the footbridge and go up again in the middle of old meadows of mowing bordered of larch trees. To join by a beautiful path marrying at best the slope, a cross which marks the passage.

The path goes down slightly to go up again parallel to the riou of Forneris which is drawn below in the middle of a vast meadow. Pass by a private hunting hut "gias del Bal" and take advantage of this opportunity to refuel at the fountain. Continue the ascent and cross several streams from the northern foothills of Mount Bal and Lake Gorgion Lungo.

Pass at the foot of an imposing rocky massif that you go around to the left (east). Reach a flat and cross the high valley of Forneris then join by the path the last valley to the plumb of the Col du Fer.

The slope of the path increases but allows to reach without difficulty the Iron pass (2584 m - b 35). Take to the left and by a short ascending crossing, join the wide Tortisse pass (2591m-b.35a), at the foot of the homonymous needles. Shortly after starting the descent, suddenly discover the string of lakes that occupy the bottom of the glacial cirque of Vens, the refuge of the French Alpine Club sheltering on a small rocky bar east of the large upper lake. Descend towards the refuge and pass near a geological curiosity "the Ark of Tortisse". Reach the refuge (b24-25) with large shoelaces, the end of this fifth stage.
  • Departure : Ferrière
  • Arrival : Refuge de Vens
  • Towns crossed : Argentera and Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée

Altimetric profile


Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.

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