Tour Du Viso 2Tour Du Viso 2

Tour du Viso

Around the

Did you like the GR58, the Tour du Queyras? You’ll love the Tour du Mont Viso and its many variations. At 3,841 m, this immense lighthouse towers over all its close neighbors by more than 500 meters, and is an Alpine universe in itself. The best way to discover it is really to walk around it!

Mount Viso

a lighthouse on the edge of the Queyras

Get around this delicious must-have

To do the “Tour du Viso” on foot is a fascinating experience. Its dense network of marked trails, mountain passes and huts makes countless treks lasting from 2 to 10 days. The classic starting point is the Roche Ecroulée above Ristolas. But you can also start from Abriès, La Monta or even Saint-Véran! At Viso, the rule is simple: the further you get, the wider and easier the trails are, but, the longer the route, the closer and the steeper you get and more technical the passes are; which is faster. So, whether you’re a beginner hiker or a mountaineer who loves vertigo, whether you’re setting off with a group of solid friends or a family with resourceful kids aged 8 and over, the Viso will always have something to suit you with.

The Tour du Viso, what a story!

Vesulus, the mountain you can see from afar

From the Queyras, the Viso makes a timid appearance. You have to climb the ridges to admire the Roi de Pierre. The unique Grand Belvédère road was even specially designed for this purpose by the Touring Club de France. So why was Viso, which means “face” in Italian, originally christened Vesulus, “the visible”, by the Romans? Because it’s the only mountain you can see from the Turin plain. As a result, it was the first Alpine peak to leave its mark on literature (Virgil, Dante). In the 19th century, for the young Italian nation, the triangular summit, reputed to be invincible, became the object of bitter competition with the English, attracted by the sporting and military stakes involved. And it was during the very first “recreational” tour of the peak, in 1839, that James Forbes discovered the route to the summit via the discreet south face.

The 4-day Tour du Viso

The Viso is a mountain range in itself, with 14 refuges and mountain huts. As a result, the itineraries are infinitely varied, even if the clockwise Classique remains a very good start.


From Roche Ecroulée 1,780 m to the Viso refuge 2,460 m

A short ascent on an old road, then alpine paths lead you to the Viso refuge for a gentle start. The West Face greets you all (half) day long.

Ascending elevation : + 700 m; – 10 m

Walking time : 2 h 30 à 3 h

From the Viso refuge to rifugio Quintino Sella 2650 m

It’s getting serious, so let’s get up early! Between the la Traversette Pass(and its tunnel!), 2,974 m, the Po springs and several grandiose lakes, the entrance to Italy is a real treat.

Ascending elevation : + 1150 m; – 950 m

Walking time : 6 to 7 hours

From the rif. Quintino Sella to rif. Vallanta 2,450 m

You take advantage of the altitude gained the day before. On the other hand, it’s a long way up to the Galarino Pass and downhill to an extraordinary valley, before tackling the final ascent to Valante and its modern architecture.

Ascending elevation : + 700 m; – 900 m

Walking time : 4 to 5 hours

From rif. Vallanta to Roche Ecroulée

You finish your tour in style, winding your way down the west face to the Guil at Lac Lestio springs. But before that, one last push to get over the spectacular 2,811 m Valante Pass and down its scree slopes.

Ascending elevation : + 350 m; – 1050 m

Walking time : 3 h 30 à 4 h

A rich and natural heritage

A protected area

Even if this mountain range is happy to be an infinite playground for climbing and trail running, it’s first a biodiversity hotspot. The Parco Monviso on one side (I’ll let you guess which one), and the National Reserve on the other, protect its treasures. Whether ptarmigans, chamois, wolves or the endemic Lanza salamanders, the species that inhabit the headwaters of the Guil and Po rivers live with each other in their ability to survive in the harsh realm of high altitude. And do you know? When the Alps were formed, the rocks at the summit of the Viso would have been formed 50 kilometers deep in the Earth. Which has some Italian geologists whispering that il Re di Pietra is the highest mountain in the world. But be quiet, it could make some of the 4,000 of the Alps jealous, lets keep it between us? Find out more about the Ristolas reserve

Lanza's salamander

The tiny Viso dragon

When it’s raining or on dewy mornings during your Tour du Viso, watch your step carefully. It’s not every day you run the risk of crushing a 10 cm dragon! This all-black salamander was born around here and has never strayed far from the Viso, because it madly loves its homeland – or maybe its legs are too short… Jokes aside, the salamandra lanzaï is a fascinating creature. Although it doesn’t spit fire and can’t rely on its top speed to defend itself, it produces venom through the blisters on its alabaster skin. It sometimes takes to the trails to gain a few centimeters per hour and catch small insects between the damp grasses. Hyper-rare and hyper-protected, Lanzaïs live up to 25 years and reproduces very slowly: it carries one or two babies in its belly for 4 years, who feed on the other embryos! Sedentary, it never strays more than a few dozen meters from her nest under a stone. So, contemplate it (you’ve got plenty of time) but don’t touch it, and above all: no kissing it!

Topo guide “Tous les tours du Viso”!

Topo guide edited by a Queyrassin who reveals its secrets, its many variants, stories and shortcuts, to get close to THE summit, the one from which, on a clear day, as the legend says, you can see all the way to the Mediterranean.