Lac vert de la Valmasque
Lac vert de la Valmasque

Lac vert de la Valmasque

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In the Vallon de la Sorcière there is a pleasant refuge on the shores of a lake... maybe you will spot the saxifrage (Saxifraga florentula),a plant which is endemic in the Franco-Italian Argentera-Mercantour mountains.
A delightful itinerary in a high mountain environment in the company of marmots, chamois and ibex.

4 points of interest

  • Flora

    Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustfolium)

    A companion of the fir and the spruce, assisting their reproduction, rosebay willowherb lights up the clearings with its purple flowers from June to August. Its flowers develop in bunches at the end of a long stalk which can reach 1.2m in length, giving rise to light seeds with silky hairs, allowing them to be easily carried off by the wind which distributes them onto the northern faces of mountains and beside mountain streams up to 2000m in altitude.
  • Flora

    Mountain ash (sorbus aucuparia)

    A species of light, the mountain ash attempts, along with the larch and laburnum, to conquer the high pastures which have been abandoned by the flocks. Birds, particularly thrushes, love eating its seeds, which means that this elegant tree has spread far and wide. Its leaves provide light shade while its clusters of fruit are amusingly capped by the first snows. While the wood can be carved, the berries are rich in vitamin C and are used to make jam and, most of all, brandy.
  • Fauna

    Alpine ibex (Capra ibex)

    From 1920 to 1930, 25 ibexes from Gran Paradiso were released in the royal reserve of Valdieri. Since 1987, reintroduction operations have been jointly undertaken by the Mercantour National Park and the Parco naturale Alpi Marittime. Today, the herds live around Col de Fenestre. The males do not live with the females. The latter remain with the kids and juveniles until they are two years old.
  • Refuge

    La Valmasque refuge

    CAF Refuge

    Commune: Tende

    IGN Map: 3841 OT

    Departure: Castérino (entrance Park National du Mercantour)

    Elevation: 540 m

    Capacity: summer (54), winter (12)

    Possibility of eating and having a shower

    Warden: Mid-June – end September

    Information CAF: 04 93 62 59 99

    Out of season upon reservation: 04 92 31 91 20

    CAF website:


    Useful numbers:

    Tende Tourism Office: 04 93 04 73 71

    Park House: 04 93 04 67 00


At the end of the carpark, which is the starting point for the hike, you will find signpost 394 pointing towards “Lac Vert et refuge de Valmasque”. The itinerary begins on a track which crosses the gorges, before leading to a widening of the Valmasque Valley.
At marker 374, leave the track and take the path for Vastière des Dragons (follow the signposts for “Refuge de Valmasque”). At the Cabane Julie waterfall, the path zigzags upwards and goes over an old glacier cliff face. Subsequently, the pleasant refuge of Valmasque (meals, drinks and accommodation available, subject to reservation). it is located on a rocky outcrop rendered smooth by glaciers, between two lakes.
Chamois and ibex are often present, except during the hottest periods of the day when they disappear... could it be due to spell by the witch?
Follow the same route for the return journey.

  • Departure : Castérino (Pautamoun carpark)
  • Arrival : Castérino (Pautamoun carpark)
  • Towns crossed : Tende

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.

Information desks

Maison du Parc national du Mercantour - Tende

103 av du 16 septembre 1947, 06430 Tende

https://www.menton-riviera-merveilles.frtende-tourisme@menton-riviera-merveilles.fr04 83 93 98 82

La Maison du Parc se trouve dans les locaux de l'Office de Tourisme Menton, Riviera & Merveilles - Bureau de Tende


01/06, tous les jours de 8h30 à 17h.

Du 01/10 au 31/05.
Fermé le dimanche.
Fermetures exceptionnelles les 1er janvier, Lundi de Pâques, 1er mai, 1er novembre, 11 novembre et 25 décembre.
De 9h à 12h30 et de 14h à 17h.

Find out more


From Nice or italy, take Le Train des Merveilles to St Dalmas de Tende, then the bus to Castérino (bus no. 923) 

For more information:

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. From there, continue along the road for 2km. You will reach the carpark at Pautamoun, the starting point for several hikes.

Parking :

Pautamoun carpark

Report a problem or an error

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