Vars: La Mayt hike

View to southwest from La Mayt

Hiking during the summer season in ski resorts has its advantages. The trails are usually easy to follow, the markings satisfactory and the start of the trails can be easily accessed either by foot or by car. In spite of all the ski lifts etc you’ll almost always find pristine nature a bit further away. The added bonus is that sometimes hikers can take a lift to reach a higher elevation.

La Mayt (2577 m) is a mountaintop above Vars, with two ski lift upper stations and a meteorological radar on the summit.

Lac de Peyrol
Start from Peyrol to La Mayt
View to east from trail to La Mayt
Vars seen from trail to La Mayt
Track to La Mayt higher up
Vars Valley seen from trail to La Mayt
Razis seen from La Mayt
L'Alpet between Razis and La Mayt



Some ski lifts were running in summer. We drove to the village of Vars Ste-Marie (1638 m) and took the chair lift (Telesiège de Ste-Marie/Peyrol) as far as to Peyrol (2142 m). The second ski lift went as far as La Mayt. The lake, Lac de Peyrol, is artificial, built to supply water for the snow cannons. The lake is also used for trout farming.

From Peyrol, we started along a track that passed some larches, then continued to southwest in open terrain, with alpine meadows on both sides. The ascent was quite steep in some parts. We passed the Lièvre ski lift upper station, then continued along the track under La Mayt, forked sharply right (east). We walked under La Mayt ski lift, turned left and climbed near the summit, behind the upper Peyrol ski lift.

We were quite near Razis (2575 m) in Risoul. Further away, the panorama included Les Ecrins massif, Font Sancte, the Chambeyron massif and many other peaks in the Southern Alps.

We started the descent from Col du Vallon and eventually came to a wide piste which ran in a larch forest as far as to our starting point.

We decided to hike all the way back to Ste-Marie along the ski runs. In places there was a path, but some parts were quite overgrown and steep. Poles were useful.

Duration: 3h 30

Distance: 8,5 km

Climb: 400 m (descent about 900 m)

Map:  3537 ET “Guillestre Vars Risoul”

La Mayt loop track
La Mayt loop track

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