Les Grandes Têtes (no. 14)

Les Grandes Têtes (no. 14)

Embed this item to access it offline
A panoramic circuit taking you through forest and extensive clearings.
You first have to go through the ski resort of Puy Saint-Vincent to reach the pastoral surroundings of the Tournoux plateau and on to the Col de la Pousterle. From here, set out on the panoramic tour of the peak of Les Têtes. An absolute joy!


The route starts at the entrance to the « RECOUMERE » car park in the Puy Saint-Vincent 1800 resort near the Résidence Le Parc Aux Étoiles. It starts on the road, then straight on at the hairpin along a track above the buildings.

  1. Turn off this track onto another track leading left towards the Escapade chairlift ("Télésiège de l'Escapade") and the start of the summer toboggan run
  2. At the Chalet de Pré Loubet, turn right onto another track and after 200 metres, turn left which brings you to a sharp bend
  3. Take the narrow track on the left and then turn left again towards Le Laus. After this chalet, carry straight on, continue along the upper edge of the Tournoux plateau and on towards the Col de la Pousterle along a track which runs along the foot of a rock bar. It comes out on the plateau of the Col de la Pousterle
  4. Turn left and, after a short distance, right. The track leads away along a balcony route
  5. Turn right off the track towards the Lac des Sagnes
  6. As you approach the Lac des Sagnes, head left onto a track overlooking the Lac des Charbonnières and the Lac des Lauzes, which can be difficult to make out, and which comes out on the L'Argentière-la-Bessée side
  7. Drop back downhill to the Lac des Sagnes, and then turn left towards the Col de la Pousterle. This then brings you back to the plateau and Les Tournoux
  8. At Les Tournoux, head right onto a track which leads past some chalets and brings you back to Le Pré Loubet, and then on to your starting point
  • Departure : Car park near the Résidence Le Parc Aux Étoiles at the 1800 resort, Puy Saint-Vincent
  • Arrival : Car park near the Résidence Le Parc Aux Étoiles at the 1800 resort, Puy Saint-Vincent
  • Towns crossed : Puy-Saint-Vincent, Les Vigneaux, and L'Argentière-la-Bessée

7 points of interest

  • Fauna

    The clouded Apollo

    White, almost translucent in places, with just a few black spots, this butterfly is a cousin of the better-known mountain Apollo. It lives in clearings in open woods where the plant on which the female lays her eggs grows, and on which its caterpillars feed: the corydalis. It is a mountain butterfly.
  • Vernacular heritage

    Le Laus

    A number of old alpine pasture chalets or hamlets, often renovated, are dotted across the Puy-Saint-Vincent resort. These are the Chalets du Laus. Le Laus is a place name designating a lake. In fact, just after the chalets, although not a lake, there is a flat, marshy area which is no doubt a small filled-in lake. So no point in bringing your pedalo!
  • Pass

    The Col de la Pousterle

    A pousterle (in the local high-alpine Occitan language) is a small gate, a postern. It comes from the Latin posterula which means back door. This place name is sometimes given to a pass, which could be described as a gateway between two valleys! The glaciers carved out this gateway through which an arm stretched between the glacier occupying the Fournel valley and the glacier flowing down the Vallouise valley.

  • Flora

    The larch

    The symbol of the Southern Alps, this softwood tree loses its leaves in winter, and is swathed with gold and lights up the mountains in autumn. The larch forests are maintained by the grazing of flocks. Without them, other trees like the fir or other pine trees could grow, creating a different kind of forest. A pioneer species, the larch establishes freely in light conditions. Its solid rot-proof wood has always been used in the construction of houses. 

  • Fauna

    The common raven

    A hollow "caw" makes you lift up your head (careful not to trip!). A pair of common ravens is nesting near here (they pair for life), on a cliff face. Although bigger than its cousins the carrion crow and the rook, it can be identified by its rather lozenge-shaped tail. It almost became extinct due to persecution Yet it's an omnivore and, more particularly, a scavenger which plays an important role by cleaning up disease-prone carcasses.
  • Panorama


    The Tournoux plateau is a small paradise with its cool meadows, its occasional renovated chalets made from stone and larch wood and its view over the Tête d'Aval, an imposing limestone peak forming part of the Montbrison massif. Whether on a mountain bike, on foot or on cross-country skis in the winter, this spot is always an invitation to stop for a break!

  • Flora

    The martagon lily

    In cooler spots, the path is edged by large plants such as the wood cranesbill, which has purple flowers, and the martagon lily. This superb plant has large hanging flowers with curved-back petals, which are pink speckled with purple and exposed orangey stamens. Its leaves are elongated and whorled. It grows in meadows and cool woods. Although common here, it is rare in many French regions. In fact, picking it is prohibited or regulated.  


Altimetric profile

Sensitive areas

Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.

Short-toed snake eagle

Impacted practices:
Sensitivity periods:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron

Peregrine falcon

Impacted practices:
Aerial, Vertical
Sensitivity periods:
Parc National des Écrins
Julien Charron


Rescue services contact details: Secours Montagne (Mountain Rescue): +33 (0)4 92 22 22 22 or 112

Show consideration for the work of farmers, livestock keepers and owners

Take your litter home

Do not take shortcuts across pastureland

Information desks

Vallouise Park house

, 05290 Vallouise

http://www.ecrins-parcnational.fr/vallouise@ecrins-parcnational.fr04 92 23 58 08

Information, documentation, models, exhibitions, screenings, product sales and works of the Park. Guided tours for school, reservation required. The new Park House opened in Vallouise since June 1, and offers visitors an interactive permanent exhibition inviting to explore the area and its heritage. A temporary exhibition space will allow a renewed offer. Finally, the device is completed by an audiovisual room to organize screenings and conferences Free admission. All animations of the Park are free unless otherwise stated.

Find out more

Les Alberts, 05290 Puy Saint Vincent 1400 m

https://www.paysdesecrins.com/contact@paysdesecrins.com+33(0)4 92 23 35 80


Public transports >> www.pacamobilite.fr
Consider car-sharing >> www.blablacar.fr

For more information, ask at the Tourist Information Office nearest to the trail starting point >> www.paysdesecrins.com

Access and parking

14.7 km from L'Argentière-la-Bessée, take the D994E, D4 and D804.

Parking :

Car park near the Résidence Le Parc Aux Étoiles at the 1800 resort, Puy Saint-Vincent

More information


Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here:

Trail news