Isère Tourism

8 unique staffed mountain huts

Mountain huts are restful pitstops at remote, high-altitude locations, many accessible on foot only. Some of Isère’s 30-plus cabins are basic shelters; others are staffed by attentive, welcoming caretakers whose mission is to provide memorable mountain experiences. Escape the crowds and breathe in fresh air by staying in one of Isère’s unique staffed mountain huts surrounded by majestic peaks.

 

Opening dates for mountain huts vary for the summer depending on location, altitude and the depth of any remaining winter snow, but generally refuges are open from late June until the end of September. Remember that even in summer, it can be chilly at altitude, so pack warm clothing.

OISANS

Refuge des Clots

A superb panoramic balcony path scented with wild lavender above the Romanche river and Lac du Chambon leads you to this charming refuge in the foothills of the Emparis plateau. Easily accessible at an altitude of 1,515 m in the hamlet of Les Clots in Mizoën, the mountain hut is an ideal place to experience your first night in a refuge and enjoy the silence. A stage on the Grand Tour des Ecrins GR®54 (a challenging alternative to the Tour de l'Oisans), it is also the starting point for several hikes on the Emparis plateau. Nearby is a cabin converted into an eco-museum, a via ferrata and a climbing course where the Cascade de la Pisse waterfall emerges from a petrified fountain, creating tufa formations. Depending on the time of year, you might also see marmots, chamois or butterflies. The refuge is also an ideal place for a celebration and get-together with friends or family, as the whole place can be reserved for you alone!

WWW.LEREFUGEDESCLOTS.FR

Refuge de la Fare

The oldest hut in the Oisans, the snug Refuge de la Fare was built in 1887 by the STD (Société des Touristes du Dauphiné). The 12-person shelter is known for being family-friendly, authentic, intimate and easily accessible. At an altitude of 2,280 m, surrounded by alpine pastures facing the Belledonne massif, the stone-built hut is a fairly easy 2-hour hike from Lac Besson in Alpe d’Huez or a 1-hour walk with an elevation of 280 m from the top of the Alpette gondola from Oz-en-Oisans or the Vaujany cable car, so a good place to stop for lunch on a short half-day hike. With a magnificent, remote setting, the former makeshift WWII hospital is also a stopover for hikers and mountaineers on the GR®549 from Le Bessay, Oz-en-Oisans keen to explore the foothill trails between lakes and peaks. Discover the geological and botanical wealth of the area and stories of the hut, as told by an enthusiast during one of the evening events. 

REFUGEDELAFARE.FR

Refuge du Promontoire

One of the more legendary mountain huts in Isère, the Refuge du Promontoire perches high up at a colossal 3,082 m on the Promontory Ridge below the south face of La Meije. A demanding 5-hour hike from La Bérarde with 1,380 m altitude gain, the shelter is mostly a resting place for mountaineers who acclimatise here before tackling one of the most beautiful climbs in the Alps. The refuge overlooks the Étançons valley with a breathtaking view over the entire southern part of the Écrins massif.
WWW.REFUGEDUPROMONTOIRE.COM

Refuge de l'Oisans en Isère
 

VERCORS

Refuge de Geve

Once used as a hideaway for the French resistance in the Vercors Regional Park, this refuge is a stopover on the Grande Traversée du Vercors (GTV). Many hikers visit on a 4.5-hour hike to the Bec de l’Orient, taking in a detour via the ‘L’Avion’ memorial site to commemorate the RAF Halifax that crashed in 1944 doing an airdrop for the resistance. Arriving at Bec de l’Orient, walkers are rewarded with far-reaching views over Grenoble and the Isère valley, and a well-deserved dip in the outdoor Nordic bath. The caretakers prepare typical mountain dishes for overnight guests staying in one of three log cabins (sleeping up to 7 in each) or the 12-bed dormitory. Kids enjoy pony rides, while horses are welcome with grazing and secure paddocks available.
REFUGEDEGEVE.COM

Refuge La Soldanelle

Ideal for families, the Refuge La Soldanelle in the Vercors Regional Natural Park lies at an altitude of 1,500 m at the foot of the Deux Soeurs rock on the eastern balcony of the Vercors plateau. A gentle 2-km (45-minute) hike with 330 m elevation, the hut overlooks woodlands and alpine meadows and is accessible on foot from the Parking du Mauret near the Col de l'Arzelier. With two 2-person yurts and an 18-bed dorm, the refuge was built in 1968 to attract nature lovers to the outstanding Vercors Natural Park. On summer evenings, the friendly hosts put on activities to keep kids and adults entertained with music, photo courses and astronomy nights.

WWW.LASOLDANELLE.COM

Refuges dans le Vercors en Isère
 

BELLEDONNE

Habert d’Aiguebelle

A two-hour walk from Prapoutel-Les 7 Laux resort, the Habert d’Aiguebelle (habert means shepherd’s shelter) is a cosy place to spend a night in the heart of the Belledonne massif. Staffed in summer and sleeping up to 26 people, the recently renovated refuge is a well-known stop on the new GR®738 Haute Traversée de Belledonne hiking trail. From here, beautiful itineraries take hikers past the Lac de Crop lake, and on route to the Pas de la Coche, Lac du Vénétier and Cime de la Jasse.

REFUGEDAIGUEBELLE.FR

Refuge de la Pierre du Carre

Surrounded by mountain pastures, this humble, stone-built refuge was once a shepherd’s hut. A 1h 15 min-hike from the Super Collet car park, the hut is also a stopover for hikers on the tough 130-km GR®738 Haute Traversée de Belledonne or the shorter Tour du Pays d’Allevard, and for trail runners on the Echappée Belle race. During the summer, the spot is also popular with nature lovers who forage for alpine strawberries and blueberries, search for wild orchids and keep an ear out for marmots whistling. The hosts treat visitors to home-cooked meals and, after dark, share their astronomical telescope to gaze at the stars. The shelter sleeps up to sixteen people in bunk beds.

WWW.ALLEVARD-LES-BAINS.COM

Refuges dans le massif de Belledonne en Isère


Refuge de la Pra

At the foot of the prestigious Grand Pic de Belledonne, the highest mountain in the Belledonne massif, the Refuge de la Pra is a comfy shelter at 2,109 m accessible only on foot. With a large terrace overlooking mountain marshland and a bubbling stream, the two rustic huts have three cabins for six people sleeping in bunk beds. Popular with hikers and anglers, it's a 2-km walk from Lake Crozet, one of the most beautiful glacial lakes in the Belledonne with glistening infinity views over the Grésivaudan Valley.

WWW.REFUGEDELAPRA.COM


Discover Isère’s mountain refuges with the Isère Refuge Guidemap

Published by the Refuge Caretakers Association (Association des Gardiens de Refuge - AFRAT), the Isère Refuge Guidemap describes the 30 staffed mountain huts in the Belledonne, Vercors and Oisans-Ecrins mountains. Pick up a free guide map from tourist offices throughout Isère and in the huts.

 

Refuge Isère

 

For more staffed and non-staffed mountain huts, see

ACCOMMODATION