Exploring the highland pastures of Nâves Valley
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Exploring the highland pastures of Nâves Valley
LA LECHERE

Exploring the highland pastures of Nâves Valley

Fauna
Flora
History
Pastoralism
Viewpoint
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This route takes you past the most striking summits of Beaufortain as you cycle through the highland pastures. Keep a close eye out for marmots, you might just spot one!
This route takes you up from Naves as far as the Nant du Beurre Refuge along roads and woodland trails. On the way, you'll cycle through a few mountain pastures where agriculture is practised alongside livestock grazing. On arrival at the Nant du Beurre Refuge you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view, taking in the Quermoz (2,297m) and Dzonfié (2,455m) peaks. Keep a close eye out for marmots, you might just spot one! You can go back down the way you came or go an alternative way back along a section of the GR long-distance hiking route, which is a bit more technical for 400 metres, but more enjoyable.

6 points of interest
Small heritage

Village of Grand Naves

Typical village of the Beaufortain foothills with large buildings where local heritage is prominent (old dairy, small chapels and the mill-lined route). It is south-facing with a sweeping view over the Col de la Madeleine mountain pass and La Lauzière mountain range. There are myriad religious buildings in this valley, each one steeped in historical detail. In Grand-Nâves, there are two oratory chapels: one dedicated to Notre-Dame de Lourde, at the foot of a walnut tree, on the road to  Fontaine, and the other to St Guarinus (patron saint of cattle) closer to Fontaine.
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Flora

La Léchère-Naves municipal forest

This forest is managed by the National Forestry Office (ONF) and extends over an altitude of 1,300m and 1,700m.
This municipal forest is used for timber production. Different species grow here, including European spruce, silver fir and Scots pine. The finest quality timber will be used for building frameworks. Inferior quality pallet stock lumber will be used to make crates, packaging and transport pallets. Last but not least, fuelwood is used in contemporary boiler rooms. Wooded areas also play a key protection role on slopes of varying steepness. They protect the soil and the snow mantle as the trees form a natural barrier. Footpaths have already been laid out in this forest for the public to use, and the trees also play a vital ecological role by naturally releasing oxygen and absorbing CO2. Today the forest is reaching its mature stages not least because of global warming. Increasing numbers of trees are drying out and attracting the European spruce bark beetle. It lays its eggs between the bark and the wood, cutting off sap circulation. This very worrying phenomenon is tied in with hot, dry spells - a resurgence of infestations has been spotted only since 2017. Below an altitude of 1,500m, the future of the spruce tree is endangered. The forest is also under threat from the many species of deer (chamois, stags and hinds) that flock to the wood and eat young saplings.

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Pastoralism

Former Beaufort cheese maturing dairy

Between Le Forclaz and La Vieille Cave is an old Beaufort cheese maturing dairy which the mountain pasture dwellers used in times gone by. Buried between 1952 and 1954, it could not be reached by track back then. A military tracked vehicle removed the sand and gravel. The Beaufort produced in this dairy was taken down the mountain by sledge. Each worker had to bring down a number of cheese rounds based on the number of cows they had in the pasture. Nowadays, the milk is collected daily and brought down to the valley to be turned into cheese at the Coopérative de Beaufort de Moûtiers.
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Fauna

Black grouse at La Forclaz

After admiring the stunning view over the Quermoz (2,297m) peak, Roc Marchand (2,098m) and La Lauzière mountain range, lower your gaze. For the patchwork of blueberry heathland, grasslands and thickets of green alders is home to the black grouse. Nicknamed the "little heather cock", this is a symbolic bird of upland areas, a surviving species from the ice ages. Sedentary and unsociable, the black grouse is famous for its expressive courting displays, when the males challenge each other through birdsong. Its numbers are unfortunately in decline, so please make sure you stay on the footpaths so as not to disturb them.
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Refuge

Nant du Beurre Refuge

This refuge is staffed and serves refreshments, so treat yourself to a break on arrival! The stunning view from outside takes in La Lauzière, Le Cheval Noir and the Vanoise peaks with, in the background, La Meige and Les Ecrins mountain range. Marmots are commonly sighted around here and, if you're lucky, you might even spot a Golden Eagle!
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Pastoralism

Alpage de plan Bernard (alternative return route)

If you decide to head back along the alternative route suggested, why not stop off at this farm for a tour and taste of the delicious cheese made from goat's or cow's milk. You can also buy the farmhouse produce directly from there, and find out about farming life in the mountains while you're at it! And here again, keep an eye out for marmots!
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Description

This route takes you up from Naves as far as the Nant du Beurre Refuge along roads and woodland trails. On the way, you'll go through a few highland pastures with cows grazing and dairies where Beaufort cheese is made. On arrival at the Nant du Beurre Refuge you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view, taking in the Quermoz (2,297m) and Dzonfié (2,455m) peaks. This is a popular habitat for marmots, keep your eyes peeled! You can go back down the way you came or go an alternative way back along a section of the GR long-distance hiking route, which is a bit more technical for 400 metres, but more enjoyable.

Follow the blue waymarks: Vallée de Naves.

E-bike rental shop: 
Sport 2000 Mottet Sports :
333 rue de la petite prairie - Face Super U
73260 AIGUEBLANCHE
+33 (0)4 79 24 53 17
Departure : Maison de Nâves 73260 Grand-Nâves
Arrival : Maison de Nâves 73260 Grand-Nâves
Towns crossed : LA LECHERE

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

Rando Vanoise has been designed to help you pick and choose your outings, but cannot be held liable where they are concerned. The mountain offers up a wide range of routes and trails for cyclists of all levels, but remember, it is a living, unpredictable environment and it is important that you head out suitably equipped. Ask advice from cycle rental operators.
If in doubt, you can take an introductory lesson in how to ride an electric bike with an instructor.

If you see a herd ahead, slow down and go round it. If there is a patou, a guard dog, climb down from your bike and walk, pushing it alongside you. Avoid making any sudden or aggressive gestures towards the dog and move away from the herd slowly and calmly. The dog will only be checking that you do not pose a threat to its herd. Respect the parkland and close gates behind you after you've gone through them.

The mountain is living, please respect it by staying on the paths and tracks.

Information desks

Immeuble les Eaux Claires<br>Station thermale<br>73260 La Léchère-les-Bains,

http://www.lalecherelesbains.fr

info@lalecherelesbains.com

0479225160


Find out more

Transport

"Train services run as far as Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-Les-Bains
Find out more at: www.oui.sncf.com
You can then get a coach to Aigueblanche
Find out more at: www.transavoie.com

Train services run as far as Albertville
Find out more at: www.oui.sncf.com
You can then get a coach to Feissons sur Isère
Find out more at: www.arlysere.fr/

Taxi services are also available to Naves.
Have you thought about car sharing too?

Access and parking

From Moûtiers or Albertville, take the RN 90 road and come off at junction 37 signposted for La Léchère, then continue along the RD93 as far as Naves.

Parking :

Maison de Nâves car park, Grand Naves

Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: