A guidebook to the GR54 trek around the Écrins national park, the Tour of the Oisans. The 176km route is described clockwise from Bourg d'Oisans and is one of Europe's toughest treks. The Tour is split into 10 day stages with suggestions for a 13-day itinerary and alternative stages. For experienced Alpine trekkers, some exposure..
The scenery encountered on the Tour of the Oisans is spectacular and ever varied which, with charming villages and hamlets to visit on the way, makes the trekker’s experience both rich and rewarding. The route detailed in this guidebook follows the GR54 around the Écrins in a clockwise direction. It is described from start to finish in 10 long day stages and includes a few alternative sections to consider. At almost every stage you will gaze upon wild and rugged mountain, look down into deep valleys, stride across pastures, contemplate lakes, streams or waterfalls, and enter regions of apparent remoteness.
The Tour of the Oisans covers a distance of 176km, crosses 14 passes, and ascends a total of 12,830m in 10 or 13 days – perfect for a fortnight’s holiday. Several stages of the Oisans trek cross unprotected rocky sections, or follow narrow, exposed trails safeguarded by a fixed cable. Others slant across steep slopes of shale and grit and some of the cols are so narrow that you could sit astride the ridge with legs dangling on either side. Due to the difficulty of the Tour, a clear head and sure-footedness are prerequisites of all who set out.
The Tour of the Oisans is tougher and more demanding than most other multi-day treks in Europe, and although it is a walk that requires no technical mountaineering skills, scrambling ability, sure-footedness and a good head for heights will be called for. The Massif des Écrins is one of the most challenging of Alpine environments, and no one should accept the challenge of this route lightly. Most of the trails are clearly defined, straightforward and well maintained. But there are also numerous narrow and exposed sections on which great care should be exercised. Even the most undemanding paths can become hazardous when transformed by rain, snow or ice
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
If you're a gram counter you can easily remove sections of the book to take with you making your own ultra-lightweight guidebook with only the essential sections that you require.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsAvoid before mid-July (snow on highest cols). Accommodation busiest midJuly-end August. Sept is ideal and October can be good, though some accommodation shut in Oct
CentresBegins and ends at Bourg d'Oisins, passing through La Grave, Vallouise and La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar
DifficultyTough.... perhaps one of Europe's hardest treks. Scrambling, but no technical mountaineering skills required. High, steep and remote in places, with some uprotected exposed sections... need a good head for heights
How to Get There
When to Go
Notes for Walkers
Safety in the Mountains
The Parc National des Écrins
Alpine Flowers and Wildlife
Using the Guide
Information at a Glance
Part 1 Bourg d'Oisans to Vallouise
Stage 1 Bourg d'Oisans – Besse-en-Oisans
Stage 2 Besse-en-Oisans – La Grave
Stage 3 La Grave – Monêtier-les-Bains
Stage 4 Monêtier-les-Bains – Vallouise
Part 2 Vallouise to Bourg d'Oisans
Stage 5 Vallouise – Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette
Stage 6 Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette – La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar
Alt Stage 6 Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette – La Chapelle via Vallon d'Isola
Stage 7 La Chapelle-en-Valgaudemar – Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey
Stage 8 Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey – Valsenestre
Stage 9 Valsenestre –Refuge de la Muzelle
Alt Stage 9 Valsenestre – Bourg d'Arud
Stage 10 Refuge de la Muzelle – Bourg d'Oisans
Alt Stage 10 Bourg d'Arud – Bourg d'Oisans
Appendix A Accommodation
Appendix B Useful Addresses
Appendix C Bibliography
Appendix D French–English Glossary