The Mercantour National Park, full of contrasts
Few destinations offer contrasts as striking as the Mercantour National Park. For centuries it has been a crossroads and land of exchange with Italy, and it is the last headland before the Alps plunge abruptly into the Mediterranean. These extraordinary landscapes and its unique biodiversity will delight lovers of mountain treks.
Hikers in the Mercantour National Park won’t know what boredom is! Situated at the western end of the Alpine Arch, the Mercantour harbours a diversity of species and landscapes that is unique worldwide. The proximity of the Mediterranean, together with its mountainous terrain, has created reservoirs of biodiversity combining Alpine, Provençal, Mediterranean and Ligurian influences inhabited by exceptional fauna and flora.
Infinite hiking possibilities
Come and explore some of our 550 kilometres of trails! Hiking with overnight stays is the best way to discover our wild and well-conserved natural surroundings. For the most adventurous, the Grande Traversée du Mercantour trail will take you from the highest peaks to the coast at Menton. This 17-day experience combines horse riding along the ridges forming the frontier between France and Italy with nights spent in high-mountain refuges. All this in a sustainable-tourism framework.
The Cians and Daluis Gorges, an Alpine Colorado
Century after century, the Cians and Var rivers have carved the Cians and Daluis Gorges through a thick massif of Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks called “pelites”. Today, the gorges offer a grandiose spectacle of warm colours and shapes sculpted in red rock. Their wine-red colour is due to oxidation of the iron they contain. These breath-taking landscapes, which feel like they come straight out of the vast expanses of North America, vary with the seasons, constantly changing the contrasts between mineral and plant, water and rock, surprising the hiker even more every time.
Brave the Cime du Diable
With a height of 2685 metres, the Cime du Diable is the southernmost major peak in the Mercantour National Park, watching over the Cirque des Merveilles, in the Roya Valley to its north. Legend recounts that it was occupied by the Devil who, from on high, robbed the villages of the Bévéra and Paillon Valleys 2000 metres below. For seasoned hikers who are not scared away by these stories, the ascent of the Cime du Diable offers a trail of elevated ridges and one of the finest views over the Mediterranean.
Relish the view from the top of Mont Clapier
Rising to 3045 metres, Mont Clapier is one of the nine 3000-metre plus summits in the Mercantour National Park. For athletic hikers looking for a peak that is accessible without climbing gear, it is one of the “easier” 3000s. Once up there, you will be able to relish a magnificent 360° view of the neighbouring summits. At your feet is the Nice Mountain-Refuge where you can spend the night in the majestic surroundings of the Mercantour National Park or share a well-deserved meal after the ascent.