3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
This is one of the stages of the mammoth, trans-national Via Alpina route.
It can be undertaken as an out-and-back route on its own, added to another route for a longer itinerary, or completed as part of the Via Alpina network in either direction. Starting from Tignes Lake, the route follows the GR55 trail across the Val Claret valley ski slopes.
The initial section of the route round Tignes Lake is flat and easy.
The easy-to-follow trail climbs steadily to the Fresse pass where it enters the core zone of the Vanoise National Park.
From here you'll tackle another climb—steeper this time—up the rocks to reach the Lesse pass.
You'll pass several glacial lakes before arriving at the Leisse refuge, overlooked by the Grande-Motte glaciers. Perched at 2,487m, the Leisse refuge is located in the heart of the Park.
Its small lake, pastures, and wildlife make it the ideal place for a relaxing stopover—either for the night if hiking onward, or for lunch if turning around to return. You can expect mostly rocky singletrack that gets rougher and more barren the higher the trail climbs.
At times the effort required to step up/over rocky parts is moderate to hard (no scrambling required), but these sections are dispersed along the route so you can catch your breath and recover.
For Park regulations see www.vanoise-parcnational.fr