Far from the hustle and bustle of cities and traditional tourist circuits, the trek to Lakes Bessons offers an authentic getaway in the heart of the Mercantour National Park. A true Alpine gem, this hike is a must-do for all nature and fresh air enthusiasts. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a budding adventurer, this experience will leave its mark on you with its wild beauty and breathtaking landscapes. In this article, we’ll guide you step-by-step through this awe-inspiring route. We’ll cover everything from the necessary preparation for the trek to practical tips to maximize your experience. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and dive with us into this unforgettable adventure!
Why Choose the Trek to Lakes Bessons?
Natural Beauty of the Place
The trek to Lakes Bessons is more than just a simple hike; it’s a true immersion into a world of natural beauty. Located at an altitude of 2,545 meters within the majestic Mercantour National Park, the lakes shimmer like jewels amidst alpine panoramas. The crystal-clear waters reflect the azure sky, while the surrounding mountains offer a spectacular setting that captures the grandeur of nature in its purest form.
One of the major advantages of this trek is its accessibility. Whether you come by car, train, or even bus, multiple starting points are easily reachable. This makes it an ideal destination for a weekend escape or for a longer hike. In addition, the level of difficulty is adaptable to all profiles of hikers, making this adventure accessible even for beginners.
Diversity of Landscapes
If a diverse array of landscapes is what draws you to a hike, then the trek to Lakes Bessons will not disappoint. Between the vast pine forests, flower-filled meadows, and rockier terrains, each stage of the journey presents a new backdrop. It’s a constant visual feast that will satisfy enthusiasts of both photography and nature.
Best Time to Go
While the Lakes Bessons are stunning at any time of the year, the best season for this adventure is undoubtedly summer or fall. Summer offers a warmer climate and longer days, while fall will enchant you with its vibrant colors and comfortable temperatures. Plan ahead and be sure to check the weather conditions to maximize your experience.
Preparation for the Trek
Good preparation is essential to fully enjoy your trek to Lakes Bessons. Here are some key points to consider before embarking on this adventure.
The right equipment can make all the difference between a memorable experience and an uncomfortable outing. Make sure to bring:
- Sturdy and waterproof hiking boots
- An ergonomic backpack with a hydration system
- Technical clothing adapted to weather conditions (base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer)
- A lightweight tent and sleeping bag if you plan to camp
- A first aid kit, a topographical map, and a compass
Level of Difficulty
The trek to Lakes Bessons offers various levels of difficulty, making it accessible to a wide range of hikers. However, a minimum physical condition is recommended to fully enjoy the experience. The trails can include steep sections and high altitudes, so some physical and mental preparation is advised.
Permits and Regulations
The trek is located in the Mercantour National Park and is therefore subject to certain regulations to protect the environment. Make sure to obtain the necessary permits if you plan to camp, and always respect the park’s rules regarding fire, waste, and wildlife.
Safety and Tips
- Always inform someone of your itinerary and plans
- Avoid hiking alone if possible
- Keep a respectful distance from local wildlife
- Always have a source of potable water and means of purification
- Check the weather conditions before leaving and be prepared to adapt your route if needed
Routes and Itineraries One of the significant benefits of the trek to the Besson Lakes is the abundance of possible routes that hikers can take. Whether you start from Vacheries du Boréon, Saint-Martin-de-Vésubie, or another launching point, each path presents its own unique wonders and challenges. This variety allows nature enthusiasts of all skill levels to find a trail tailored to their capabilities and interests. Therefore, it would be limiting to present just one itinerary. Instead, we strongly encourage you to consult trail maps, guides, and online forums to choose the route that will suit you best, taking into account your physical fitness level, weather conditions, and park regulations.
Altitude and Weather Conditions The hike will lead you to altitudes reaching up to approximately 2,500 meters. Mountain weather can be unpredictable, especially in the afternoon, so it is recommended to start early in the morning and keep an eye on the weather.
Where to Camp or Stay
- Wild Camping: If you plan on trekking over two days, wild camping near the lakes is an option, but ensure you adhere to the park’s regulations.
- Refuges: There are some shelters along the way, but they typically require advance booking.
- Saint-Martin-de-Vésubie: If you prefer the comfort of a bed and a roof over your head, the village offers several lodging options ranging from hotels to hostels.
Tips and Recommendations
Preparation is key for a successful hike, especially in such a spectacular environment as the Bessons Lakes. Here are some additional tips to maximize your experience while preserving the natural beauty of the area.
Wildlife and Plants to Observe
- .Wildlife: Keep an eye out for marmots, chamois, and perhaps even a golden eagle.
- Plants: The alpine plateaus and areas around the lakes are often covered with wildflowers in season, including gentians and edelweiss.
How to Minimize Your Environmental Impact
- Leave Only Footprints: Take only photos and leave only footprints. Do not remove or add anything.
- Waste Management: Make sure to take all your waste with you. Even biodegradable materials can take time to decompose and may affect the local ecosystem.
- Use Established Trails: Avoid creating new trails or walking outside marked paths to protect flora and prevent soil erosion.
- Follow Local Regulations: Ensure you are aware of and comply with all regulations of Mercantour National Park, particularly concerning wild camping and fires.
By following these tips and recommendations, you can ensure you make the most of your adventure at Bessons Lakes while respecting the natural beauty of this exceptional area.
Useful Links and Resources
Carefully preparing for your trek to Bessons Lakes can make all the difference between a pleasant experience and a difficult day. Here are some resources to assist you in your planning.
Maps and Guides
- IGN Maps: Detailed topographic maps are available for purchase online or in specialty stores.
- Hiking Guides: Many paper guides provide detailed information on routes, difficulties, and points of interest. Look for ones that focus on the Mercantour area.
Websites for More Information
- Official website of the Mercantour National Park: For reliable and up-to-date information on regulations, trails, and weather conditions.
- Hiking Forums: Sites like Randonner-leger.org or Hikr.org where hikers share their experiences and advice.
- Travel Blogs: Search for blog articles from bloggers who have already done this hike for practical tips and feedback.
Useful Apps for Hiking
- Outdooractive: An app for trail tracking, GPS navigation, and real-time location sharing.
- WeatherPro: For accurate weather forecasts tailored to outdoor activities.
- PlantNet: Ideal for identifying local flora during your hike.
By using these resources, you’ll have all the keys to making your trek to the Bessons Lakes a memorable and safe experience.