Col des Fours from Manchet
“This hike is especially made for those fond of efforts rewarded and those who love the mountains. An encounter with the chamois remains an exception and is only more magical. To be consumed liberally!” Mylène Herrmann, Vanoise National Park Ranger
When leaving the car park of the Manchet ski lift, follow the paved road, which merges into the terrain path. Walk around the hamlet of Manchet following this path. Cross the bridge over the Fours stream. Take the trail to the left of the Park information boards. Walk 150 m to fall back on a vehicle track. Follow it to the left in order to get back to the trail that leads to the right after 300 m. Follow the direction of “Col des Fours”. 400 m after the Refuge du Fond des Fours, at the fork in the path, follow the direction of “Col des fours 1h10”. To return, walk back the opposite way.
- Departure : Manchet car park and ski lift, Val d'Isère
- Arrival : Manchet car park and ski lift, Val d'Isère
- Towns crossed : VAL D'ISERE
Catering and accommodation available at the Refuge du Fond des Fours. Catering available at the Ferme de l´Arselle.
Access and parking
From the roundabout of the Tourist Information Office of Val d´Isère follow the RD 902, in the direction of the “Vallée du Manchet”. Go past the ski-runs roundabout, cross the hamlet of Châtelard, pass in front of the restaurant ""Les Clochetons”. Continue as far as the ski lift car park of Manchet."
10 points of interest
The hamlet of ManchetThis small group of abandoned houses is the only alpine hamlet of Val d´Isère. Ÿou will notice that these buildings are built of local stone. Wood, which is a rare material at this altitude, is used only for framework and woodwork. Its use was reserved solely for the summer. Currently, it is part of the Tutel family’s mountain pasture, which they don’t use in their farming activity. The municipality of Val d´Isère has launched a project to renovate these buildings in order to bring them back to life.
The white-throated dipperAt the edge of the creek a short, shrill “zit” can be heard. A brown and white bird about the size of a blackbird shoots over the water like an arrow. The white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus) is an indicator of good water quality. It likes the pure mountain torrents where it finds numerous invertebrates at the bottom of the water. A natural in the water, it can run along the bottom of the water even against the current. The dipper also knows how to swim on the surface of the water.
The butterfly birdIn the small cliffs, take the time to watch… and with a bit of luck and mostly patience, you will see a small grey bird the size of a nuthatch climbing. When it spreads its wings, you’ll see a glimpse of red. There is no doubt about it: this is the wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), also called the “butterfly bird”. Its long, curved beak allows it to delve into every little fissure in search of the insects it feeds on.
MarmotsMarmots (Marmota marmota) are social mammals that live in small family units: a male, a female and several young from 2 to 3 generations. The day of a marmot consists of 3 main activities: feeding, napping and playing (for the young). These activities are regularly interrupted by alerts due to the appearance of an eagle or a fox, its main enemies.
The yellow gentianThis great majestic plant with yellow flowers is yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea). It is well known for the many uses of its roots. A root can reach 1 m. It is rich in sugars and therefore ferments easily. Pay special attention to this beautiful plant that flowers only after 10 years!
The ramaz"The ""ramaz"" is an old sheep pen made of dry stone walls, which was used to enclose the sheep for the night. Ÿou will notice that the vegetation consists of a single species: the alpine docks or écot for the Savoyards or monk´s rhubarb. The large thick, tough leaves were used to keep the butter cool."
The arnica montanaThe grasslands are dotted with little rays of sunshine. The arnica montana resembles a slightly dishevelled yellow daisy. Its medicinal properties have been known since antiquity. Not to be confused with the Senecio doronicum! The arnica has foliage on its plants, a rosette laid flat on the ground.
The eagleIf you want to see a royal eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), you must listen out for the marmots. These rodents form the bulk of its diet during the summer. As it appears in the sky, the alert is given by a single shrill and powerful cry. The marmots disappear in to their burrows and you must then scan the sky ... Ÿou can recognise the young or immature birds from the large white areas under the wings and on the tail. These white patches reduce with age and disappear at around 5 years.
The alpine accentorThe alpine accentor (Prunella collaris) is far from shy. It is the most easily observable of the mountain sparrows. It spends most of its time on the ground pecking at insects, or perching regularly on the stones. From afar, it looks dull in colour but draws attention with its red flanks. But close up, its plumage appears variegated with grey-brown on top, a broadly striped black back, white breast with black mottling, flanks with red sparks on a white background and two rows of white dots on the wings.
Saxifraga aizoidesThe edge of the stream is blanketed by a magnificent carpet of yellow flowers which are called the yellow mountain saxifrage, or Saxifraga aizoides. Look closely at these beautiful little yellow stars. The plant is also particular for hosting an extraordinary guest: the small Apollo (Parnassius phœbus). This small butterfly, white with two red eyespots, is protected. It only lays its eggs on these saxifrages. The fleshy leaves will then serve as a meal for the butterfly caterpillars.