Tour du Rateau d'Aussois
Walking hike
Tour du Rateau d'Aussois

Tour du Rateau d'Aussois

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This hike will allow you to discover the high mountains before gradually bringing you back to your starting point by a long panoramic trail through the alpine pastures and forest.
After zigzagging through the alpine pastures, you will be surprised to meet a mineral landscape specific to the high altitude. Ÿet by venturing further into these places, you will discover all the riches of the bright shimmering flowers and a discreet but ubiquitous fauna. This itinerary is filled with opportunities to see the fauna, perhaps leading you to encounter the ibex, surprise a ptarmigan or a mountain hare or see a bearded vulture.


"Park at the Orgère car park, end of the road. Then take the old EDF track, located at the bottom of the car park. Follow the route for “Col de la Masse”. Pass a concrete bridge that straddles the Povaret stream to reach the foot of the Aiguille Doran. Continue along the trail, cross a wooden footbridge to cross the Masse stream, then continue on this winding trail until you reach a crossing. Turn left as indicated by the sign ""Col de la Masse"". At the pass, you can descend by the same route and shorten the journey time. The more adept can also reach the summit of the Rateau d’Aussois by a sparsely marked and steep path. Otherwise, continue the circuit by a relatively marked descent path and reach a vast sloping ledge: the Plateau du Mauvais Berger Then follow the sign for ""Col du Barbier"" and continue through a terraced path, passing through the Col du Barbier and chalets. Then go back down through the forest, then after a sloping ledge still in the forest go up slightly to return to the Orgère valley. Pass in the vicinity of the restored chalets, come to a stone bridge allowing you to cross the Povaret stream. Continue on, then cross a group of buildings, including a chapel on your left. Follow the markers for the discovery trail and climb through a Scots pine forest by a winding path. Come out on to a road, climbing back up to reach the car park where you departed."
  • Departure : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
  • Arrival : Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget
  • Towns crossed : VILLARODIN-BOURGET and AUSSOIS

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 Cantonale, 9 Place Sommeiller, 73500 Modane

https://www.cchautemaurienne.cominfo@cchmv.fr04 79 05 26 67

43 route des Barrages, 73500 Aussois

https://www.aussois.cominfo@hautemaurienne.com04 79 05 99 06

Maison de La Norma, 73500 La Norma 79 05 99 06


Rail connection to Modane. Information:
No public transport between Modane and Orgère car park.
Suggested hitchhiking organised in the Haute-Maurienne valley. Information:

Access and parking

From the exit of the A43 motorway, take the direction of Modane. At the Freney roundabout, take the RD 106 towards the Refuge de l´Orgère which is signposted. After a 30 minute drive, pass the Refuge on your right to access the car park.

Parking :

Orgère car park, Villarodin-Bourget


Two disabled parking spaces, certified “Accessible Tourism” for the 4 types of disability.
Emergency number :114

More information

10 points of interest

  • Fauna

    The red deer

    As a result of hunting and logging, the deer had all but disappeared from the Savoy forests. Reintroduced between 1958 and 1973, it has adapted remarkably well to the mountain environment to form a fine population. In autumn the mating season gives rise to spectacular fighting between males, but it is the raucous and powerful cries of the deer that bring the valley to life. Taking advantage of the peacefulness of the place, the animals bellow practically all day long.
  • Architecture

    The chalets

    "When most of the flat areas, more suitable for building chalets, were occupied, it was necessary to build on the slope, in areas more exposed to avalanches. Some chalets therefore had to be built with a specific architecture in order to resist avalanches: semi-buried, oriented in the direction of the slope and protected by a protective promontory called a ""tourne""."
  • History

    The Orgère valley

    Orgère, where barley was grown. In past centuries, the need for pastures, hayfields and cultivated land on flat or slightly hilly areas forced man to deforest, even at high altitude. The right bank of the valley, presenting a gentler profile, was the most exploited. The rocks which clutter the plots are regularly placed in heaps, to form mounds of stones which still remain in the valley. Used during the summer, the valley was brought to life by about fifteen families and their little flock.
  • Fauna

    The small tortoiseshell

    The small tortoiseshell is the first butterfly to land on the flowers which are barely out of the snow. The caterpillars feed only on nettles. They can be seen on their leaves piled into bundles with their two yellow bands on their backs. The butterfly, on the other hand, is orange in colour, inlaid with ebony and hemmed with a ring of blue spots around the edge of the wings.
  • Flora

    The colours of autumn

    If you get the chance, do this hike in the autumn. The mélézin is adorned by beautiful golden hues. The large-fruit fireweed opens up to release a multitude of seeds surmounted by silky-white snow like threads. And higher up the ubac, the bilberry moors take on a beautiful red hue. Under the effect of the first frosts the alpine pastures are adorned with pretty warm colours that contrast sharply with the white of the first snows covering the summits.
  • Flora

    Mountain arnica

    A true burst of sunshine, this yellow flower, daisy-like in appearance is rather common in the sub-alpine moorlands and grasslands. Best known for its medicinal properties, used in anointing, arnica is very effective in the resorption of haematomas. But be careful not to ingest this pretty flower as it is dangerously poisonous, even fatal.
  • Fauna

    The alpine ibex, a survivor

    It is the Vanoise National Park’s signature species, which was at the very heart of its creation. Having practically disappeared from the entire Alps region, only a very few small population clusters remain in France in Maurienne, including one at the foothills of the Aiguille Doran. Thanks to the creation of the National Park and then the long-term endeavours to protect and reintroduce this species, the ibex has managed to recolonise many of the mountain ranges in the French Alps.
  • Fauna

    The rock ptarmigan

    The rock ptarmigan, a relic of a bygone glacial age is perfectly suited to life in the high mountains. Its plumage changes completely over the seasons so it can blend in perfectly with its environment. From an almost pristine white in the winter, it gradually turns a grey-brown in the summer much like the screes it inhabits. Its confidence in its ability to remain invisible makes it a fierce animal. As a mainly flightless bird, evolution has covered its talons in feathers to prevent heat loss, allowing it to move over snow without sinking.
  • Pass

    Col de la Masse

    At the summit of the track, the Col de la Masse offers a 360° panoramic view with the Écrins, the Meige and the Pelvoux to the south, the Pointe de l´Échelle to the north, the Vanoise glaciers and the Dent Parrachée to the north-east, and right at the bottom, to the east, the Albaron!
  • Flora

    The Silene acaulis

    This high-altitude plant, easily recognisable by its violet colour, is particular for its cushion-like shape. This feature is particular to several high-mountain species and highly useful in resisting the cold and wind. This cushion-like flower, the oldest of which can reach more than 50 years, contributes to the creation of a micro-ecosystem which will then be exploited by other plant species, thereby contributing to plant colonisation.