Vars: Hike around Peynier Mountain

Peynier (2273 m) attracts walkers because of an easy access along a dirt road from Refuge Napoleon, and of course a super panorama from the mountain top.  Most of the mountain’s flanks are forest-covered.

Hiking and trail-running paths circle Peynier. We wanted to explore these, and hike around the mountain.

Peynier southern slope
Vars and Point de l'Eyssina(L)
Dirt track in Bois Noir Vars
Peynier ski run facing north

We started from Vars les Claux, and walked towards Refuge Napoleon as far as to the dirt track which connects the Refuge and Peynier. We forked left and ascended gently along it as far as to a crossroads and a signpost where we took the left-hand trail (also a dirt track, see image+arrow) which continued straight and almost horizontally to Bois Noir, the forest covering Peynier’s western flank.

A clearing in Bois Noir Peynier
Bridge over Torrent du Vallon
Ascending east of Torrent du Vallon
Crête de Vars in background

We walked past a few ski runs and gradually turned to the east, descending simultaneously. The dirt track ended, and we continued along a path that descended to Pont d’Entraigues (1865 m; the lowest point of this hike). We crossed Torrent du Vallon, forked left (north) and soon reached another crossroads with a wide dirt track. We forked sharply right (south) and ascended along the eastern side of Torrent du Vallon, first in the woods. We left the dirt track and continued along a path (yellow markings).  There was a menacing thunderstorm approaching the valley. Fortunately, we got just a few drops as the main storm changed its direction. We now had Peynier’s eastern flank on our right-hand side, and the telecom mast on the summit came visible.

Crossing Torrent du Vallon higher up
Ascending to Peynier
Climbing to Crête de la Mayt Peynier
Almost at Crête de la Mayt Peynier

We reached a clearing and a crossroads signposted “Peynier”. We forked right, crossed the torrent again (not a bridge, just two tree trunks over the water). We climbed a bit more before we reached the ridge at 2213 m elev. (Crête de la Mayt) south of Peynier. We circled around a water reservoir, then reached the main dirt road from the summit. We descended along it all the way to the crossroads to Vars, and took the hiking path back to the village.

Images are displayed in chronological order.

Distance: 14 km

Climb: 530 m

Duration: 4h45       

Map: 3537 ET “Guillestre Vars Risoul”

Peynier loop hike
Peynier loop hike


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