Donkey hike in the Mercantour National Park
On the way to the Vallée des Merveilles, Alpes-Maritimes
Mercantour National Park
Mountain lake, Mercantour National Park

Hiking with donkeys in Mercantour National Park

Self-guided family holidays – 7 days

  • Unique family holidays with a donkey
  • Family-friendly hike suitable for children above 5
  • Beautiful landscapes in Mercantour National Park
  • Self-guided tour, customisable routes
  • Family-owned accommodation & local cuisine

Embark on a truly unique family adventure in France's beautiful Mercantour National Park! Child-friendly hikes will allow you to explore its breathtaking summits, lush green valleys, ragged canyons, gushing creeks and crystal clear mountain lakes. Your donkey will lead the way, carrying your bags, and making your kids forget they might be tired of walking. Wild mountain animals such as rabbits, groundhogs and mountain goats may also join you during your hike through Mercantour's scenic landscapes. Enjoy a once in a lifetime nature escape you and your family are unlikely to forget!

Price from 595,- €

Hiking with donkeys in Mercantour National Park

Journey Duration

7 days

Type

Self guided tour

Difficulty level

Period

Enquire now

Itinerary

Day 1: Guillaumes – Sauze
Your family's nature escape starts with a short briefing session before heading out into the “land of the red canyons” following a path overlooking the valley and crossing the beautiful red landscape until you reach your lovely country inn in Sauze Vieux.
Duration: 4hrs 30min – distance: 11km/6mi – elevation gain: 624m – elevation loss: 679m

Day 2: Sauze – Saint Martin d'Entraunes
Todays hike will take you north, across the Plateau La Lare and through the magnificent forest of Villeneuve d’Entraunes. From there, follow the path to St. Martin d'Entraunes along the river Var to your next accommodation, a priory in Philippons.
Duration: 6hrs – distance: 15km/9mi – elevation gain: 540m – elevation loss: 640m

Day 3: St Martin d'Entraunes – Sussis – La Basse Teille
Start you day by exploring St. Martin d'Entraunes and its 15th century church. Leaving the village via the Pont neuf, follow the path to the lovely bucolic village of Sussys. At the end of the ascent, enjoy a picnic and take a bath in a natural pool before settling down for the night in Les Vallières.
Duration: 2hrs 30min – distance: 7km/4mi – elevation gain: 595m – elevation loss: 255m

Day 4: Sussis – Entraunes
- Tour 1: Follow the yellow markers and the itinerary you received the day of your arrival until you reach today's accommodation in Entraunes.
Duration: 4hrs – distance: 10.5km/6mi – elevation gain: 430m – elevation loss: 580m

- Tour 2: Pra Pelet – Col des Champs – Entraunes
This wonderful hike takes you through the mountain pastures of the Col des Champs, offering an unforgettable view of the Haut-Verdon mountains. Following a historical path, you will then make your way down towards Entraunes.
Duration: 6hrs – distance: 16km/9mi – elevation gain: 730m – elevation loss: 951m

Day 5: Entraunes – Estenc
Along the river Var, between impressive rock cliffs and roaring waterfalls, your hike will take you to the ancient glacier tongue of Estenc and its amazing lake. The final stage of today's itinerary depends on your accommodation. Please refer to your individual road book provided on the day of your arrival.
Upon arrival, be sure to visit the lovely village of Estenc and its Jardin Alpin (alpine garden).
Duration: 2hrs 30min – distance: 4.5km/2mi – elevation gain: 440m

Day 6: Estenc – Col de la Cayolle
In the heart of the Mercantour park, enjoy the full range of high-mountain treasures: passes offering breathtaking views, and mineral valleys inhabited by chamois and marmots. Your hike will take you to the Col de la Cayolle and a cute mountain cottage where you will spend the night.
Duration: 3hrs 30min – distance: 7km/4 mi – elevation gain: 590m
Upon arrival, you can leave your donkey with the cottage owners and make your way up to the Tête de la Gipière (additional walking time: 1hrs 30min).

Day 7: Lac d'Allos – Estenc
Your final hike will take you to Europe's largest glacial lake, the Lac d'Allos, and the lakes of Les Garrets and La Petite Cayole. Enjoy the sparkling blue sky reflecting in the pristine waters and discover the colourful alpine flora before continuing on towards the Col de la Cayole and the Col de la Petite Cayole. The final stretch of your hike will take you through green mountain pastures and the Garrets forest to Estenc where your shuttle service will pick you up and take you back to Guillaumes.
Duration: 5hrs 30min – distance: 13km/8mi – elevation gain: 410m – elevation loss: 970m

Travel dates

  • Jun 01st, 17 – Sep 30th, 17
  • From 595,- €
  • open for reservation
  • Enquire now

This tour is offered daily between early June and late September.

Our trip starts and ends in Guillaumes – a short bus ride from Nice.
Please feel free to arrange your trip to and from Guillaumes by the means of transportation of your choice and extend your trip according to your preferences.

Please fill out our enquiry form indicating the number of your party and your preferred travel dates.

Prices from €595 per child between 5 to 12 years of age

€679 per adult

Terms of payment:

  • 20% of the total price within 7 days after receipt of the invoice
  • Full payment 21 days prior to departure without further request to pay

Payment via SEPA direct debit (Single Euro Payment Area) only.

Includes/excludes

Price includes:
6 nights in selected accommodations, half-board & lunch picnics, donkey rental and food for the donkey, luggage transfer, return trip to the point of departure.

Price excludes:
Train or airfares to/from destination, personal expenses, travel cancellation insurance.

Additional nights or hiking days can be booked upon request (additional charges apply).

Number of participants

Minimum number of participants: 2 adults, or 1 adult + 1 child above 12.

The tour operator reserves the right to cancel this trip up until 21 days prior to departure.

Accommodation

You will spend 2 nights with local hosts, 2 nights in hostels, 1 night in a small country hotel, and 1 night in a mountain cottage. Rooms are 4 to 5 bed rooms as well as one 8 bed dormitory (mountain cottage) with shared bathrooms.

Level: easy to medium depending on itinerary

Different itineraries will allow you to choose between easier and more challenging routes with daily hikes ranging from 3-5 hours to 6-8 hours respectively, and daily elevation gains/losses varying between 500-600m and 800-1200m. The easier routes are also suitable for children above the age of 5, provided that they enjoy walking for several hours. Due to safety reasons, children are not allowed to ride on the donkey's back. Map reading skills and mountain hiking experience are recommended.

How to get there

We recommend an overnight low-carbon train ride to Nice via Paris followed by an inexpensive bus ride from Nice (Nice-Gare routière) to Guillaumes (1 euro per person).

Flying into Nice airport, a shuttle service will take you to Nice train station where you can take the bus to Guillaumes.

If you're travelling by car, you may park your vehicle in a guarded parking lot in Guillaumes.

We recommend that you arrive in Guillaumes the night before you depart on your trip. This way, you will be well-rested and ready to head out early in the morning. Additional night incl. dinner and breakfast in Guillaumes-Villeplane: €55 per adult and €48 per child (payable on site).

Reviews for Hiking with donkeys in Mercantour National Park

I’m just back from the Eselwanderung Mercantour and it was fantastic. Perfectly organised, nice people in the hotels/refuges, good food and accommodations. It was a real adventure with the donkey and everything went very well. Thank you for the good organization between the fam. Kieffer and us Wanderer.

Released on 23.06.2014 by Inge Borst

Released on 26.06.2013 by Anonymous

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