The Estrop Valley
Alpine ibex (Capra ibex)
A symbol of the high mountains and their giddying peaks, this ungulate disappeared from this region more than 150 years ago.
Since 1987, reintroduction operations have been jointly undertaken by the Mercantour National Park and the Parco naturale Alpi Marittime.
A group of fifty or so have settled at Roche Grande.
To allow them to be identified, the animals are given coloured ear tags. The park staff regularly monitor the development of the species.
Siberian cricket (Aeropus sibericus)
The Estrop lakes
White-tailed ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)
From the entrance to the National Park, follow the itinerary signposted "Col de Gialorgues". Cross the Sanguinière valley and follow the canal until marker 282.
A gentle descent through a larch forest leads to the bottom of the Estrop valley, marker 283.
After going over a huge scree, head left at the first intersection.
A zigzagging climb leads to a flatter grassy section populated by Siberian grasshoppers. On the right, the peak of Roche Grande (2752m) where the Alpine ibex can be observed.
The path then climbs to the location named “L'Entonnoir”, a spectacular place for erosion. Follow the path which snakes away on the left of a waterfall; there, huddled at the base of a rocky ridge, a hut recalls the pastoral use of this area.
The slope is much less pronounced now, making way for a succession of rounded rises and falls. A delightful path bordered by peat bogs leads to a knoll, whence military fortifications can be seen.
You will finally reach the highpoint of the hike in terms of altitude: the Col de Gialorgues. On the right, the Rocher du Pigeon is home to rock ptarmigans.
A variation on the right allows you to explore two small mountain lakes hidden behind a grassy knoll.
Follow the same route on the return journey.
Access and parking
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