All experiences Discovery

10 unmissable natural sites to see and photograph in Serre-Ponçon


Nature is everywhere in Serre-Ponçon, and in some places offers simply spectacular moments. High-altitude lakes, vertiginous waterfalls and unusual discoveries are sure to delight your camera and fill your Instagram account... Here's a quick overview of unmissable natural sites to photograph from every angle!

1. The Bois Vieux hanging oak

Close to the dam, near Bois Vieux beach, lies a small, isolated and wild cove. Access to it is by water only, by boat, canoe or paddle... Well-known to the locals, it was only after bitter negotiations that we obtained permission to include it on this list. That's why we won't be giving any further details on its location - you'll just have to set off on your own adventure to discover it. One clue, however: a distinctive oak tree hanging over the turquoise waters marks the entrance to the cove...

2. Lake St Apollinaire

This small natural lake nestled in a green setting is the ideal spot for family walks or picnics. It's also a favourite with fly-fishermen... In summer, it's directly accessible by car, but in winter, you'll have to put on your snowshoes to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Pic du Morgon.–C7jZ_b/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

3. Lake Siguret

It's a cousin of Lac de St Apollinaire. This natural lake of glacial origin is just as easy to get to, but this time offers a panoramic view of the Ecrins massif and the peaks overlooking Embrun and the Durance valley, from Mont Guillaume to Tête de l'Hivernet.

4. The Aiguilles de Chabrières

A mountain like no other in the region. At an altitude of 2403m, the Aiguilles de Chabrières dominate the Serre-Ponçon lake and the Réallon ski resort. With their Dolomite-like appearance, they offer a high-mountain landscape at your fingertips. In summer, the panoramic chairlifts at Réallon take you right up to the Aiguilles de Chabrières and around to the Brèche de Chabrières, where you can discover the Oucanes (limestone crevasses) on the opposite side...

5. La cascade de la Pisse

The most beautiful and majestic waterfall around Lac de Serre-Ponçon. At the entrance to the Parc National des Ecrins, in the Rabioux valley at Chateauroux-les-Alpes, the torrent du Distroit cascades down huge cliffs over 100 metres high. And all this less than 30 minutes from the parking lot. Ideal for an easy, family-friendly walk in the heart of unspoilt nature.


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6. The Liou riparian forest

The Liou wetland at the northern end of Lac de Serre-Ponçon is home toa rich and varied fauna. Its pedestrian walkway on stilts invites you into the heart of this alpine mangrove to observe wildlife and aquatic life at close quarters.

Discover the interactive Liou discovery trail!
At the start of the trail, at the parking lot, let your cell phone guide you (connect your phone to the DNS marker on the map, having activated the DNS option in your mobile's settings).

The "" page is dedicated to this area of the Liou and, in conjunction with the signposting on site, will inform you about the rich biodiversity that surrounds you: fauna and flora, birdsong. A fun, educational tool for a remarkable area!

7. Le Viaduc de Chanteloube : Témoin Immergé de l’Histoire.

Le Viaduc de Chanteloube, situé sur la commune de Chorges dans les Hautes-Alpes, émerge tel un vestige silencieux d’une époque révolue. Commencé au début des années 1900, le Viaduc de Chanteloube devait initialement servir à relier Chorges à Barcelonnette par le rail. Le projet fut finalement abandonné dans les années 1930, faisant profiter la ligne Veynes/Briançon de cet aménagement.

Cependant, le destin en a décidé autrement. À l’avènement du projet titanesque de construction du Barrage de Serre-Ponçon, le Viaduc de Chanteloube fut condamné à un sort inattendu. La mise en œuvre du barrage, nécessaire pour réguler les crues de la Durance et pour répondre aux besoins en énergie croissants de la nation, donna naissance à un lac artificiel gigantesque, engloutissant irrémédiablement le viaduc sous ses eaux.

Ainsi, chaque année, au printemps, lorsque les neiges fondent et que les pluies saisonnières gonflent les flots du lac de Serre-Ponçon, le Viaduc de Chanteloube disparaît sous les eaux, se fondant dans le paysage aquatique environnant. Cependant, pendant les mois d’hiver, lorsque le niveau du lac baisse, le viaduc ressurgit de sa léthargie aquatique, révélant ses arches majestueuses et ses piliers solides.

Cette dualité saisonnière confère une aura mystique à cet ouvrage, transformant le Viaduc de Chanteloube en un lieu unique où passé et présent se rencontrent, où la fonction initiale est éclipsée par les caprices de la nature et les impératifs de l’ingénierie hydraulique moderne.

Aujourd’hui, le Viaduc de Chanteloube reste un lieu emblématique de Serre-Ponçon, offrant aux promeneurs et aux cyclistes une occasion unique de traverser le lac de Serre-Ponçon à pied ou à vélo pendant les mois d’hiver, une expérience qui témoigne à la fois de la grandeur et de la fragilité de l’interaction entre l’homme et son environnement.



8. The Giants' cooking pot

The hamlet of Les Gourniers in Réallon is one of those valley bottoms with an end-of-the-world atmosphere, where time seems to stand still... Here you are at the entrance to the Parc National des Écrins. From the parking lot, an interpretation trail takes you on a 30-minute discovery tour of the area. It's an opportunity to marvel at the power of the water that has been eroding the rock for thousands of years, to the point of creating bubbling whitewater pools. It's a phenomenon that can be found throughout the various valleys of the Ecrins massif.

Before the pot, make a quick detour to the Casade de la Pissarotte, which flows over beautiful slabs of colored rock...

9. Le Tunnel du Parpaillon

This astonishing tunnel, perched at an altitude of over 2600m, is one of the region's most remarkable curiosities. Almost 500m long, it can be crossed by all-terrain vehicle, motorized or not, or on foot. Whether on foot or mountain bike, a reflective vest and a headlamp are essential for facing up to this strange moment. Dating back to the late 1800s, the structure is very basic, and you walk along the exposed stones of the mountain's bowels by the light of your own headlamp. As it is not cleared of snow, it is rare to gain access before mid-July, and late in the season, the walls are covered in ice and stalactites. Welcome to another world...


Watching the sun set over the lake

No specific recommendation for the last selection on the list. It's one of Serre-Ponçon's great classics, and every local has his or her own favorite place to enjoy this magical moment. It's up to you to discover yours... A few words of advice before you set off on your adventure: look out for the various belvederes on the maps of the area, and favour the left bank of the lake, from Embrun to Sauze du Lac, to watch the sky blaze westwards. If a few clouds linger in the sky, the colors will be all the more vivid!