Time: 6h. Up: 880m. Down: 1040m.
Distance: 13km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 58: Les Granges de la Vallée Étroite (1765m) to Névache (1600m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Unusually for the H2H (normally a most efficient hike), you start the day off by retracing 2km of the previous stage. However, by doing so you then get to take a much more scenic trail -- over a high pass and then down a wild valley -- to Névache, the isolated village where you'll spend the night.

Névache and its surrounding hamlets in the 35km long Clarée valley are today a thriving community of 300, mostly involved in tourism one way or another. The population was higher before the mid-19th Century, but the arrival of the modern world led to such a precipitous decline that by 1962 only 74 inhabitants remained to eke out a meager existence through near-subsistence farming.

If it weren’t for tourism, the valley would probably be empty today. When there was little or no free education, and travel and communication were difficult, young people in such villages had little alternative but to stay (and frequently inbreed... one of the factors – another being iodine deficiency – that hiostorically led to high levels of birth defects in many Alpine villages, luckily now a thing of the past)... but as soon as other options became available, they left.

In the midst of the modern tourist-driven boom, it is worth remembering from time to time that life in the Alps used to be very hard... there is no such thing as the good old days here.

Head back up the valley the way you came in the previous stage and then, after a couple of kilometers, fork left to go over the Col du Vallon (2645m) and descend by the valley of the same name to Névache.

Alternatives: if the weather is bad, or you want a short day, follow the GR5 from Les Granges up the west side of the Vallée Étroite over the Col des Thures (2194m) then down to the Chapelle des Ames in Sallé (1610m). From here walk up-valley along the road for 2km to Névache (totals 3.75h, +450m, -610m, 9.5km).
Map: IGN-3535OT Névache.

The House to House blog... stage 58.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: there are several places to stay at and eat in Névache (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Les Granges de la Vallée Étroite: there is reputed to be a minibus service to here from Bardonecchia, where there is a railway station (on the main TGV route from Paris to Turin), but I have not been able to find any more information about it other than a passing mention on the I Re Magi website. If it should happen to not exist, or if it does not run at a convenient time, then you can take a taxi the 12km or so to Les Granges (note that Vallée Étroite is Valle Stretta in Italian). For train schedule information you can use either SNCF or Trenitalia.
Névache: there are regular buses to Briançon, where there is a railway station (for bus information see here, and for train schedule information, see the SNCF).
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Les Granges de la Vallée Étroite, centered on Névache.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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