The Mont Mars Natural Reserve

A typical setting for Alpine mountains: forests, meadows, heaps of stones and many lakes. The first lake to welcome the visitor is Lake of Vargno with its typical environment; subsequently you will find Lake Bonel, Lake Long and Lake of Barme. A famous religious procession, which has taken place for over four centuries through the Balma d’Oropa Pass, serves as a guide to the historical mule track of Fontainemore – Oropa.
The Mont Mars Natural Reserve, established in 1993, consists of an area gathered within the gorge of the Pacoulla torrent; it welcomes a diversified vegetation of forests, shrublands, and pastures which are speckled with mauve, yellow and pink Lily. It is also possible to encounter the Primrose, particularly rare in the Valle d’Aosta, the Arnica montana, the Purple Gentian, the Vanilla Orchid (Nigritella) and, on its steep and sunny slopes, the Orange Lily . Even the fauna offers many species typical of the Alpine area, like the Marmot, the Variegated Hare and the Chamois. The Mountain Pheasant is sure to be found, as are the White Grouse and the Alpine Chaffinch, while the Dipper can be seen along the torrent.


  • Hiking

    All itineraries are described in the TRAILS section.

  • Mountain biking

    Thanks to the presence of dirt roads, bikers can reach the Lake of Vargno.

  • Horseback riding

    As can bikers, riders can reach the Lake of Vargno taking the dirt road from Coumarial.

  • Snowshoe trekking

    C'è un percorso fruibile con le racchette da neve, che entra solo per un breve tratto nella Riserva. È consigliabile consultare sempre il bollettino nivo-meteorologico prima di partire.

Respect the environment

The best months to appreciate the blossoming are July and August, while nice autumn days offer beautiful contrasts of colours, when they are not hidden among the fog… The best way to walk along the trails and discover the beauty of the landscape is to do so in small groups, in order to respect and fully appreciate the environment. At the Visitors Centre, located in Fontainemore a few meters from the S.R. 44 for Gressoney, it is possible to view films, photographs and other documentation, as well as to receive information on the Reserve and its local traditions.

Behavioural conduct rules

We remind you that you can contribute to the preservation of these sites by following these simple rules:

visit the natural reserve on foot, with skis or snowshoes; avoid using motorized vehicles; mountain bikes and horseback riding are permitted only in specific authorized areas (external to the site): please respect hikers;

please stay within the marked trails, as trampling can ruin the fragile grass and undergrowth areas; in winter, please follow the recommended trails so as not to disturb animals which are fighting against hunger and cold;

please observe wild animals from a distance, do not capture them, do not disturb them nor feed them, and do not photograph occupied nests;

keep your dog on a leash and on the marked trails;

do not pick minerals or flowers;

do not make fires;

please bring your garbage, where you will find many recyclable waste-collection points.

camping is permitted only for nightly bivouacs at an altitude of over 2500 meters; take care not to wash your dishware in springs or stagnant ponds of water; campers and trailers must be parked outside of the park, in specific authorized areas.

How to get there

By car

Per giungere a Fontainemore da Pont-Saint-Martin si seguono le indicazioni per Gressoney (Strada Regionale 44). Arrivati a Fontainemore, dopo circa 1 km si svolta a destra, si attraversa il torrente Lys e si sale lungo il versante sinistro per 8 Km raggiungendo la località Pian Dou Coumarial, dove è possibile parcheggiare l'automobile e proseguire a piedi.

By bus

Dalla stazione ferroviaria di Pont-Saint-Martin partono 12 corse nei giorni feriali e 9 corse nei giorni festivi.

Accessibility codification of sites

VIVA has chosen to supply everyone – youngsters, adults, the elderly and the disabled – with all the sites’ information so as to allow the visitor to choose a destination in an autonomous way.
An “Accessibility Codification”has thus been defined.

The Mont Mars Natural Reserve

Information to reach the site 1
Accessibility from main roads 2
Parking for the disabled 2
Accessible restrooms 1
Information panels 0
Slopes (max 8%) 0
Trail width (min 90cm) 0
Road surface 0
Resting areas approx every 10 m 0
Safety and protection of trails 0
Periodic maintenance 0

0 corresponds to ABSENCE of the indicated parameter;
3 corresponds to the PRESENCE of the indicated parameter, in optimal condition;
1 – 2 are INTERMEDIATE VALUES: in general, they indicate the presence of the parameter which must however be improved (1 = sufficient, 2 = close to optimal)


More paths :

VIVA suggests:

Long path

Tour Mont Mars

  • Elevation gain : 1.190 m
  • Travel time: 8 h 30 m
  • Signposting: 1-2-2B-3-3A-AV1

What to see:


Average path

Percorso tra i laghi

  • Elevation gain : 645 mm
  • Travel time: 3h
  • Signposting: 2-2B-AV1

What to see:


Easy trails: routes that present no major technical difficulties or too challenging slopes. They can be covered in full or in small sections, allowing in both cases to come into contact with unspoilt nature, discovering its pace and balance …

Medium difficult trails: routes that can be covered in a day, varying considerably in terms of height differences and technical difficulty; the benefit is in being able to reach wildlife destinations of great impact.

Long trails: excursions lasting several days which provide for stopover places and catering along the route.

cartina The Mont Mars Natural Reserve

SIC SIC IT1203070

Municipality: Fontainemore

Surface: 380 ha

Altitude: 1.675 ÷ 2.600 m s.l.m.

Responsible forest station:


Alle porte del Mont Mars

Alle porte del Mont Mars

Cicloescursione con mountain bike a pedalata assistita

In cammino verso Roma

In cammino verso Roma
La via Franchigena, un itinerario di grande fascino, dichiarato dal Consiglio d'Europa “Grande Itinerario Culturale Europeo”.

Nordic Nature

Nordic Nature

Nordic Walking, the right way in the midst of living Nature.

Five rare gems

Five rare gems
Five days of hikes through the most significant and interesting protected areas in the region.

Objective: park

Objective: park
How can a passion for photography and nature be merged? By becoming news photographers for a day.

VIVA recommends the premises belonging to the network “Saveurs du Val d’Aoste

Saveurs du Val d'Aoste