This post is a guest-article about a 3-day hike through the Vercors‘ Natural Reserve. It presents some key features to help you prepare this great adventure in autonomy.
A North-South itinerary through the Vercors
The chosen itinerary starts in Corrençon-en-Vercors and ends in Chatillon-en-Diois. It is inspired by the GTV (Great crossing of the Vercors). We first follow the GR91 to the South (day 1, red and white markings), before heading west at Jasse de la Chau to climb to Grand Veymont (2341 m). Once on the Grand Veymont, the path climbs to the summit, heads south again, passes through the Plaine de la Queyrie and connect to the GR91 at Pré Peyret (day 2). Then the path continues to the South and arrives in Chatillon-en-Diois after a steep descent (day 3).
Access by public transportation
Departure from Grenoble
At first, we planned to stay overnight in the gite d’étape des Hauts-Plateaux located in Corrençon-en-Vercors. However, our train for Grenoble broke down and we missed the last bus to Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors. We stayed overnight near the train station in Grenoble and took the first bus the next day.
Grenoble is the main access gate for our itinerary. It is well connected to Paris and Lyon by train.
You have three main options to start the trek:
- Start hiking from Grenoble and climb to Villard-de-Lans via Saint-Nizier-du Moucherotte, in approximately 2 days
- Take the bus 5100 (schedule) from Grenoble main station and start hiking from Villard-de-Lans
- The bus 5100 continues to Corrençon-en-Vercors on-demand the day before 12 am. Call 0820 08 38 38 to make your booking. As for us, someone else in the bus made the booking so that we could benefit of the service to Corrençon-en-Vercors.
Arrival in Chatillon-en-Diois
Once in Chatillon-en-Diois, you can stay overnight in one of the camp site or guest house or choose to leave. Then you have several options to connect to the train station of the town of Die. Die is located along the line Briançon-Valence. From Valence, frequent connections to Marseille, Lyon and Paris.
- Take a public bus to Die by bus 29, but the frequency is low (schedule)
- Hitch-hike to Die
- Call the Transdrome public service (0810 26 26 07) to book a taxi (book in advance, not working on Sundays). It will cost you 5 € per person and drop you at the train station. The condition is that you have a train connection in Die. We book this service on Wednesday for the Saturday and were happy with that, despite the fact that the taxi was slightly late.
Step by step
We took the bus 5100 in Grenoble at 7.40 and arrived in Corrençon-en-Vercors around 9.00. After a coffee and water refill at the golf club house, we started hiking near the golf course and passed by the biathlon stadium. We stopped after Darbounousse for lunch. The path then climbs in the canyon des Erges before reaching the cabane de Jasse du Play. As we carry our tent, we choose to continue our route, refill water at the Fontaine du Playe and stayed overnight near the Fontaine de la Chau, at the foot of the Grand Veymont, where we arrived around 17.30
The second day, we started hiking around 8.30 and left the GR91 markings to turn left and start the ascent of the Grand Veymont. We arrived at the top around 10.30. After a steep descent, we stopped for lunch in the lovely Plaine de la Queyrie. We refilled our bottles in Pré Peyret at the Fontaine des Endettés and continues to stay overnight near Les Quatre Maisons de la Ville.
Leaving around 8.30, we started the day climbing to Laval d’Aix, an area covered with many strange holes of all sizes. We reached the cabanes de Chatillon for lunch, witnessing a group of alpine ibex. After lunch we started the challenging descent to Chatillon-en-Diois, where we arrived around 3.30 pm.
Some issues on the GTV
In the Vercors, the cabane are a kind of non-guarded refuges with very little comfort : one table and a wooden floor to sleep, sometimes a fireplace. No booking, so that you may not find a place available if you arrive too late.
Should you decide not to camp, you can spend the night the first day at the cabane de Jasse du Play, which can host up to 10 persons. on the second day, you can stay at the cabane de Pré Peyret (up to 10 persons) at the crossing of the GR91 and GR93. Alternatively, head to the cabane des Chaumailloux, a picturesque refuge on the way to the Pas de l’Aiguille. The third day, you can stay at the cabane de Chatillon or in the village of Chatillon-en-Diois.
If you decide to camp, as we did, be aware that pitching your tent is only tolerated from dusk to dawn.
During these three days, you will not encounter any village. Get your meals with you. Water may be rare, especially during summer. That is why peak season for this trip is May and June. We brought 2 bottles of 1 liter per person and it was enough, as most of the sources were not dried up. But fill up your bottles as often as you can.
A guide book is edited by the Vercors Natural Regional Park and available in most local libraries and tourist information centers.
Even if the markings are clear and frequent, you may need a compass and maps. Two IGN maps are required for the entire trek:
- Top 25 – 3236 : Villard-de-Lans, Mont Aiguille, PNR du Vercors
- Top 25 – 3237 : Glandasse, Col de la Croix Haute