A guide to the 10 best family activities to do in the Écrins, Briançon and Queyras.
This part of the Hautes Alpes is one of the adventure capitals of the world, the perfect place for a family adventure. This Guide to the 10 best family actvities will look at a range of the best thing to do with kids on a holiday here in the alps. Some of the actvities are free and some are adventurous actvities than unless you have the skills and knowledge to lead these safely then it's advised to get an instructor.
1) White Water Rafting
This part of the Hautes Alpes is famous for its white water rivers, and draws white water kayakers from all over the world. Join in the fun with a white water rafting experience, with 100's of river sections and grades to choose from there is something for everyone.
We recommend rafting on the Durance, a section of river known as the sun run, it's a great experience suitable for 8 year olds and older.
2) Rock Climbing
The Alps are famous for the climbing, and this part of the alps is a mecca for rock climbers, there are thousands of routes and lots of different venues to climb at. Quite a lot of the venues are perfect for families with easy access and a range of climbs at a grade to suit everyone.
We recommend Rocher Barron as a venue which is great for families, if you need some instruction for climbing check out the courses pages or drop me a line.
3) See The Marmots
Marmots can be found all over the Alps. The little rodent like creature are really cute, you will often see them when out walking and if you don't see them you will probably hear them, they make a whistling sound to tell other members of their group that there is a danger present. On some of the more popular walking routes they have become used to humans and will sit quite happily a few meters from you. Although they look cute they do have sharp teeth so take care when near them.
We recommend the marmot road below mont dauphin fort, this a small meadow below the fort with marked paths. A whole troop of marmots live there and they are very used to humans so often sit out right next to the path. Beware in the past people fed the marmots and some irresponsible people fed them stuff like chocolate and now some of the are diabetic (really) so please don't feed them.
4) Via Ferrata
Via ferrata means iron way and it was developed for moving solders around the mountains in1915, it now is a great way for people to explore the mountains. There is a cable that runs from the bottom to the top and you clip to this for safety, and then climb metal rungs or the rock itself, some via ferrata have rope/wire bridges. There are 26 via ferrata in this area and quite a few are suitable for families, you do need important safey equipment and the knowledge to use it, we highly recommend hiring a guide if this is new to you.
We recommend the via ferrata at PSV les combes (in our via ferrata guide) it is perfect for families, going over bridges and rope ladders, with some steep sections that you can walk around if you prefer.
5) visit a fort
Were lucky to have quite a few forts in the region and they make a great place to visit. Many of the forts have shows and events on throughout the summer. The biggest is the old town in Briançon which is free to go in and full amazing historical features (information boards are available or you can book a tour), as well as cafe, restaurants and the odd gift shop. Near Guillestre is Mont Dauphin fort again free to enter with infomation sites and tours available to tell you about the place. Then there is Chateau Queyras another Vauban fort high in the Queyras park, this is a pay to visit fort but that means they often have events and actvities taking place inside.
6) Paddle Boarding
One of the fastest growing sports paddle boarding is a great way to explore the many lakes in the Hautes Alpes. Whether it is undertaking a journey on Lac Serre Ponçon, or practising games and balance tricks on one of the smaller lakes, its a great fun time on the water and getting wet is a great way to avoid the summer heat.
7) Mountain Trek
With a national and regional park all within an hour of each other, this area is perfect for walking in the mountains. Whether that is a 1/2 a day walk or an over night adventure using the mountain refuges there is somthing for everyone. There are lots of hikes suitable for families which make a great way of enjoying the mountains streams and waterfalls plus seeing some of the amazing wildlife.
One for the brave, follow the water down the canyon jumping into plunge pool, or abseiling down cliff faces this high adrenalin sport is perfect for your adventure junkie. We have lots of canyons in the area across all different levels, including some that are kid friendly. BUT you do need to know what you are doing, fast flowing water and some drops its safe to jump and others not, its important to be experienced, if not be safe and use a guide.
9) Local Féte's
Throughout summer most of the villages and towns have Fete's, and they are great to visit as a family, often combined with a local market they have music, actvities (many of them free) and entertainment. It can be quite hard to find which village is having its fete's so keep your eyes out for signs or ask in your local tourist office.
We recommend the Fete de guides in Ailefroide this is a friendly event with actvities and food in a stunning setting.
10) Zip Wires
In the Durance Gorge is a small actvitiy base offering access to 4 via ferrata which are all very good. They also have 2 zip wires that run above the top of the gorge, 500m across and 200m above the river in the gorge this is not for the faint hearted, but if your brave enough it's a great experience for all the family.
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