Aurore à Chaumailloux, VercorsAurore à Chaumailloux, Vercors
©Aurore à Chaumailloux, Vercors|©S et M BOOTH

Hauts Plateaux Nature Reserve

Vercors is home to the largest nature reserve in metropolitan France, known as “Les Hauts Plateaux du Vercors”. Within this natural space, spanning 17,000 hectares, between Alpine pastures, forests and limestone cliffs, hikers and protected species come together in perfect harmony.

What is the Nature Reserve?

Often referred to as the green lung or wild heart, the nature reserve has no roads or housing. 💚

Only a few unguarded huts (without water or electricity) bear witness to the presence of man. Among them, the Carette shelter marks the northern entrance to the reserve. Beyond, this space is the refuge of numerous animal species, such as the black grouse, and plant species such as the wild tulip. Both are the emblems of the regional natural park. It is also possible to meet marmots, chamois, golden eagles… In turn, ibexes, griffon vultures, and more recently bearded vultures have been reintroduced and participate in the restoration of biodiversity.

Once the capital of the resistance, the nature reserve is today a hot spot for hiking. By following the GR-91, lovers of adventure can set off on the Vercors Great Crossing route. Two to three days in total autonomy make the challenge a little tougher – a guaranteed way to disconnect from the rest of the world! Some will even take the chance to climb the highest summit of Vercors, the Grand Veymont.

This limestone giant culminates in an altitude of 2,341 m.

Our tip:

to enjoy all the pleasure of a journey into the reserve without too much effort, a return trip to the Drabounouse plain offers a beautiful day outing with a fantastic change of scenery.

These are things that belong to no one, and whose use is shared by all

(article 714 of the French Civil Code)

To preserve the tranquility of the wildlife present, the nature reserve is permanently monitored by sworn rangers. Here are the fundamental rules that must be followed in order to make the most of this space:

• Camping is authorised from 17:00 to 09:00.
• Mountain biking is only permitted on the three routes (the GTV mountain-biking variation, the La Coinchette loop or the Col de Papavet track).
• Some practices may disturb the plants and wildlife and are forbidden (collecting plants, leaving rubbish, fires, etc.)

All that’s left to do is explore this site where nature meets magic!


  • Can we go into the reserve with a dog on a leash? 🦮

    No, our animal friends are not permitted within the nature reserve. However, you can walk with them outside of the reserve – don’t hesitate to download our walking guide!

  • Where to sleep ? 💤

    On the first part of the crossing (Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte to Corrençon-en-Vercors), you can sleep in the guarded lodges and village accomodation on offer (Lans en Vercors, Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors). You can also camp on this section.

    On the second part of the crossing (Corrençon-en-Vercors to Châtillon en Diois), you’ll discover total freedom, with the option to settle down for the night in the plateau’s unguarded huts. You can also pitch your tent to camp for the night; please respect our camping instructions.

    Find the list of unguarded huts here:

  • Where to find water in the reserve ? 💧

    There are springs along the GR-91, but we recommend that you check their condition before setting off. To do so, visit this dedicated site, updated by the park rangers throughout the summer season:

  • What to do with patous (sheepdogs)? 🐕

    You may encounter sheepdogs on your hike. They are there to protect their herds from any external attack. Stay calm and follow these recommended actions: signal your arrival, keep a safe distance, face up to the dog and do not appear aggressive nor attempt to run away.

  • Can we go into the reserve with an electric ATV? 🚴‍♂️

    Like the classic mountain bike, electric mountain bikes may only be used on three routes: the GTV mountain-biking variation, the Coinchette loop or the Col de Papavet track.