Engravings and lakes of the Fontanalbe Valley
>>
Home
>
Hiking
>
Engravings and lakes of the Fontanalbe Valley
Tende

Engravings and lakes of the Fontanalbe Valley

Archeology and history
Flora
Lake
Embed this item to access it offline
Walk along the Sacred Way of Fontanalbe and discover the rock engravings (-5000 years old) of the Sacred Way, at the foot of Mont Bégo (2872m). A genuine open-air museum and one of the Park’s essential sites.
A contrasting landscape of chaos but also of serenity and the beauty of the Green Lake of Fontanalbe... the fountain of dawn, the grave of a shepherd who was in love with the sunrise.

4 points of interest
Flora

Mugho pine (pinus mugo)

This is one of the first stations where the Mugho pine managed to sustain a population. On screes nourished by the distressed ledges of dolomitic limestone, the Mugho pine, a dwarf tree which is frugal and resilient, acts as a “pioneer”. It has an original aspect, with its trunk split into several branches and this tree is a cousin of the Mountain pine. You can tell them apart with certainty by looking at their cones: those of the Mugho pine are asymmetrical.

Indigenous the Mercantour mountains, the Mugho pine is an ancient tree which dates back prior to the glacial periods of the quaternary era, which it survived by clinging stubbornly onto the cliffs.
read more
Flora

Swiss pine (Pinus cembra)

Held in place by its roots which have been petrified by freezing weather, whose colour has faded due to water and which allow it to grow on bare rock, the Swiss pine bends towards the waters of the lake

Coming from the Carpathians thanks to the glacial periods of the quaternary era, the Swiss pine reaches the southern and western limits of its domain in the Mercantour. It is stock and has adapted to the excesses of the Alpine climate, surviving its temperatures of under -40°C, while the acidic and cold ground is good for the Swiss pine’s seeds to germinate in. Its biological rhythm is slow: it flowers for the first time when it is 60/70 years old and then every 6/10 years. It can reach 1000 years of age.
read more
Geology

The writing tables

260 million years ago, in the depths of the Permian Sea, beds of very fine silt were being compressed, preparing the material which makes up certain mountains today. The huge pressure caused by the Alpine tectonic uplift and the internal heat of the mineral world metamorphosed the silt, forming “writing tables” upon which the glaciers of the quaternary era and then humans wrote their stories.
read more
Archeology

The Sacred Path of Fontanalbe

The Sacred Path is bordered by more than 280 engravings, the most well-known of which depict a pair of oxen pulling a scratch plough, guided by a peasant.

In the area reserved for guided visits, close to the green lake, you can see the “Roche des Peaux”, covered in full geometrical figures engraved in circular fashion. On the “rocher des Guerriers”, you will see a unique scene: there are two people bearing arms, one of whom is an archer firing an arrow.
read more

Description

The hike begins on foot – at marker 391 – on a non-driveable track. Head towards “Lac Vert”. When you reach the halfway point, you will be in the heart of the National Parc (marker 390).
Take the path towards “Refuge de Fontanalbe”. If it takes your fancy, you can make a detour to the Lac des Grenouilles (Lake of Frogs). To do so, take the other path.

 At the refuge, marker 389 indicates the direction of “Lac Vert”. At marker 387, follow the sign for “Lacs Jumeaux”. The path comes to a bridge, still heading towards “Lacs Jumeaux”. Continue along the paths until you reach the lakes.
This is also where you enter the archaeological zone: a discovery course provides free access to the protohistoric carvings of the Sacred Way and of the Cathedral. Just before the “Gias des Pasteurs”, a sign indicates two possible directions; one directly to Lacs Jumeaux and the other towards the Sacred Way (via a loop which ends with an orientation table followed by Lacs Jumeaux).
For the return journey, follow the path which runs alongside Lacs Jumeaux, with a peat bog down below, until you reach a sign showing two directions; one towards Lac Vert and the other towards the end of the discovery course. In either case, take the path you used for the upwards journey and head downhill to return to Castérino.

Departure : Castérino, marker 391
Arrival : The Green Lake of Fontanalbe
Towns crossed : Tende

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

A guided visit with one of the National Park’s guides will allow you to view the most interesting engraved rocks and to obtain accurate information about their meaning. You will also receive a presentation of the Park’s exceptional fauna, flora and geology.

For more information about visits: http://www.vallee-merveilles.com/

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.

Information desks

103 av du 16 septembre 1947, 06430 Tende

https://www.menton-riviera-merveilles.fr

tende-tourisme@menton-riviera-merveilles.fr

04 83 93 98 82

Find out more

Transport

From Nice or Italy, take the Train des Merveilles to St Dalmas de Tende, then a bus to Castérino (No. 923) 

For more information: : http://www.tendemerveilles.com/component/content/article/2-non-categorise/111-acces.html

Tel.: 00 33 (0) 4 93 04 73 71


Access and parking

At Saint-Dalmas de Tende, take the fork (RD91) to the hamlet of Castérino.

Park your vehicle as you come into Castérino.

Parking :

Hamlet of Castérino, Tende

Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: