Weekend Wander: Parc Naturel Régional de Belledonne
Lyon has a wealth of National & Regional Parks on its doorstep, and I'm doing my best to make the most of them. I recently visited the Belledonne which is about 1h30 from Lyon by car (see end of post for more info).
We completed a circuit which I think took around 6 hours including a coffee break at Refuge de la Pra, picnic lunch at Lac Grand Domenon and plenty of photo stops. From the car park (1372m) we immediately picked up the GR549 route which you can find on the IGN map 3335OT and started the ascent.
Soon you reach the stunning Lac du Crozet (1974m) which, from certain angles looks like it's overflowing. We then came across hundreds of sheep and goats, and some lazy dogs guarding them, before hitting a scree slope and finally reaching the Col de la Pra (2186m).
We then descended to the Refuge de la Pra (2109m), and had a coffee before deciding where we would head next. We opted to leave the GR route, and walk up to the two nearby lakes, Lac du Petit Domenon (2380m) and Lac du Grand Domenon (2385m) where we stopped for lunch.
We passed some pretty waterfalls, went up a little scrambly bit and ascended above the clouds to a beautiful blue sky. After lunch we retraced our steps and headed back down to the car.
I'd really recommend this route on a clear day, like everywhere in France it's very well signposted and we saw lots of families on the route to the col, showing it's a fairly easy climb.
From Lyon: Head towards Grenoble and take the A43/A48 until exit 24.1 where you follow the D165, eventually becoming the D280J. Park at the second car park, Pre-Raymond-La Pliou (1372m) .
For more information:
Please comment below if you know any good day hikes which are easily accessible from Lyon!