Time: 9.5h. Up: 1170m. Down: 1910m.
Distance: 23km. Difficulty: hard.

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Stage 66: Bousiéyas (1883m) to St.-Etienne-de-Tinée (1144m)

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

Today the H2H takes a (much) longer and (much) more strenuous path than necessary in order to hike what the Michelin Guide calls "one of the most beautiful walks in the Alps". If this is out of the question for you at this point, or if the weather is poor, then there is a much shorter and easier way described in "Alternatives" below.

You start with a couple of kilometers along a road and then climb through larch woods to a high ridge with spectacular views across the Maritime Alps to Italy. After an early lunch, the trail leads down past a beautiful series of lakes, up to cross another pass, and then spends the rest of the day in a long, scenic, and at times vertiginous 1360m descent to your destination, the town of St.-Etienne-de-Tinée.

St.-Etienne is famous for its Fête de Transhumance in June, when shepherds take their sheep up to high mountain pastures for the summer. Sometime around now they will be coming back down... like you, albeit with a few differences. For example, the sheep will be fat and fleecy, but, although some of you may have beards, as for fat... at this point in the H2H... unlikely, very unlikely!

Head down and along the road from Bousiéyas to Le Pra (1700m), from which a trail climbs east to the Col du Fer (2584m). From the Col, which you do not cross, drop south to and alongside the multiple Lacs de Vens (2327m), and then back up and over the Crête des Babarottes (2515m). Shortly after fork left to traverse the hillside along the Chemin de l'Energie (2331m), before dropping on a steep zig-zag trail down a ridge into St.-Etienne-de-Tinée.

Alternatives: if you are feeling weary and/or the weather is bad, then an easier route is to follow the GR5 and the Via Alpina through St.-Dalmas-le-Selvage to St.-Etienne-de-Tinée. However, since this too goes over a 2200m pass, if the weather is stormy, take a day off. If you take this route, then from Bousiéyas head at first downhill along the main road, then south on a farm-road that becomes a trail to the Col de la Colombière (2237m). On the far side descend to St.-Dalmas-le-Selvage, then head south-east along a farm-road over the Col d'Anelle (1735m) down into St.-Etienne-de-Tinée. The total for this "easy" route is 6.5h, +720m, -1460m, 17km.
Map: IGN-3639OT Haute Tinée 1.

The House to House blog... stage 66.

<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. If taking the "easy" route you can have lunch in St.-Dalmas-le-Selvage (3h).
Dinner and overnight: there are many restaurants and places to stay in St.-Etienne-de-Tinée (for a partial list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Bousiéyas: you can take a taxi here from St.-Etienne-de-Tinée (contact information here).
St.-Etienne-de-Tinée: a twice-daily bus from here takes two hours to get to Nice, where there is a railway station and a major airport (for schedule information for the bus, see here, and for the train, see the SNCF).
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on St.-Etienne-de-Tinée.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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