Hiking camera-in-hand to enjoy the stunning views and wildlife from the part-sealed Col du Granon (2413 m.) the Col de l’Oule (2548 m.)
Biker on the road to the Col du Granon
The Col du Granon links the valley of the famous ski slopes of Serre-Chevalier with the relatively nature valley of the River Clarée and the village of Névache. The route is sealed only on the south side, leaving the transit route for off-road motorbikes and mountain trail bike (MTB / VTT) cyclists as well as 4x4 vehicles. I chatted with one biker from Homburg in Saarland. The altitude of the long-standing sign at the Col du Granon is 2413 m. but the up to date maps show 2404 m., the relatively large shift indicating continuing unstable geology.
As a starting point for a day hike, the Col du Granon gives access to fantastic views of the peaks and glaciers of the Écrins plus over towards the Alpes Maritimes and Cottian Alps, including Monte Visio (3841 m.); hiking onwards reveals the massifs of Mont Thabor (3062 m.) and the Aiguilles d’Arves (3510 m.).
We took our picnic lunch at about 2600 m., above the Col de l’Oule (2548 m.), facing the Crète du Pasquier (2585 m.) and Roche Gaultier (2882 m.) as well as stunning views of the peaks to the north. Savoie was clouded but the morning mist had cleared from the Col de Montgenève (1850 m.), a trunk route over the Alps since at least Roman times. We finally got to see some Marmottes within range of photography, a family basking in this Indian Summer sunshine.
After being ambushed by sheep on our return drive down the Col du Granon, we passed a number of exposures of sequences of rocks which hint at the geological explanations of the complex morphology of this area close to the boundaries of major tectonic plates. My photo shows the sequence at the Rocher-des-Gardioles at the roadside in the village of Saint-Chaffrey, famous to generations of French geography students studying the geology of the Briançonnais, the Briançon region.