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Day 1 Vercors Circular - Villard de Lans

Hiking trail · Rhône-Alpes
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Day 1 of an 8 day circular around the Vercors. From St-Nizier-du-Moucherotte to Villard-de-Lans
difficult
Distance 23.6 km
8:16 h
1,278 m
1,443 m
1,910 m
990 m
Day 1 Diary

Fantastic when a plan comes together and today’s nearly did. Today was slightly flawed perfection. The bus, which I had found out about in the UK, really existed, took us effortlessly up to top of the cliffs which tower thousands of feet above Grenoble, cliffs which I had walked down from after an impossibly long day last year on my E4 walk, and dropped us right in the middle of St Nizier du Moucherotte and close to the start of the walk. The walk was also exactly where it was supposed to be although ominously, longer than anticipated. The only flaw was the location of the hotel, the Hotel Taiga, which was well to the south of Villard-de-Vans, not the thing you want after a long day.

We started the walk at about 11, and were in Villard-de-Vans at about 6.15. We had stayed overnight in Grenoble and perhaps, with hind-site, we should have caught the earlier 9 o’clock bus to the top.  It was a tough first day's walk, about 1,200 metres of climb, involving a 600 metre climb up to Moucherotte and another 600 metre climb later on up to Pic St Michel.  Apart from a little bit of road walking at the bottom of the ski lifts at La Sierre the route went along off-road trail often along dry limestone uplands.We were a bit unlucky with the weather on top of le Moucherotte, low cloud completely obscured the view, but things got better as the day went on.  We stopped off for a break at the mountain restaurant at les Allieres and the climbed up to Pic St-Michel.  The views were huge, intimidating, a sheer drop of nearly 400 metres and views along the cliff to le Moucherotte, the top of which was still covered in cloud. The cliffs really are sheer and if you had the nerve you could sit with feet dangling over the side and watch the hustle and bustle of Grenoble which fills the floor of the valley below.

It was fairly cold at the top and we didn't hang about but crashed our way down to Villard-de-Lans, a much bigger town than I had expected.   Couldn't remember why I had chosen the particular hotel, a Tripadvisor review I expect, but the address wasn't on the town map near tourist information. Christine got directions from a man in a shop but after wandering increasingly aimlessly into the countryside we started to loose confidence.  For once I had the hotel phone number and the really helpful owner was happy to come and pick us up.

Staying in town would have an option but La Taiga is excellent value and the owner really knows his local walks. Over dinner he suggested a change to our plan next day and offered to take us to the start.
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Highest point
1,910 m
Lowest point
990 m

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Coordinates:
DD
45.171116, 5.631451
DMS
45°10'16.0"N 5°37'53.2"E
UTM
31T 706780 5005328
w3w 
///care.history.outpost
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Coordinates

DD
45.171116, 5.631451
DMS
45°10'16.0"N 5°37'53.2"E
UTM
31T 706780 5005328
w3w 
///care.history.outpost
Show on Map
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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
23.6 km
Duration
8:16 h
Ascent
1,278 m
Descent
1,443 m
Highest point
1,910 m
Lowest point
990 m

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