Val Ferret

A true witness to biodiversity, the Val Ferret is a Special Protection Zone (ZPS) which starts from the hamlet of La Palud and extends to Col Ferret. This vast area of special protection shelters part of the great massifs of the Mont Blanc, with imposing glaciers and moraines, vast green valleys with pastures, shrublands and woods of larch, and peat-bogs on the valley floor: a true “reservoir” of biodiversity.
The ornithological fauna is appreciative of this environment and it is particularly rich: 81 species of birds, of which 63 nesting species and 9 singularly interesting for their rarity and limited presence at regional and/or national level. Of particular interest: the Golden Eagle, the Bearded Vulture, the large-headed Owl, the White Grouse, the Chough, the Forked Cock, the Black Woodpecker and the small Shrike.
From a floral point of view, the valley shelters the Narcissus Anemone (the only station in the Valle d’Aosta), the Campanula thyrsoides, with its numerous yellow flowers united in a spiked inflorescence, and many different hygrophilous species of particular importance because of their rarity. The Val Ferret houses many species of mammals, including chamois, stein-bocks belonging to the most elevated colony of Europe, roebucks, deer, hares and marmots, of which there is a small group of albinos specimens.


  • Hiking

    Many itineraries of varied duration and difficulty are available to hikers, and are also provided with eating and recreational facilities at different halting points.
    All itineraries are described in the TRAILS section.

  • Mountain biking

    There are many generic trails along the road at the bottom of the valley; marked trails are also available along the farm roads leading to the Elena, Bonatti and Bertone refuges.

  • Horseback riding

    The dirt road leading to the Elena Refuge is ideal for horseback riding.

  • Snowshoe trekking

    A trail marked for snowshoe trekking leads to the Bonatti Refuge (2.030 m), departing from Planpincieux. It is necessary to consult the regional weather and snow forecasts before your departure, as there are often avalanches in Val Ferret, some of great magnitude.

    IMPORTANT Winter is the most critical season for wild animals, and repeated disturbance can cause them serious harm. Therefore, during winter excursions, you must never leave the trails and you are requested to adopt a respectful behaviour (no yelling; keep your dogs on a leash, …)

Discover the site

From mid-July to mid-August, the flower blossoming offers a wonderful display, while autumn gives colour to its thick larch forests, and winter is full of beautiful ski tracks. The vastness of the valley and its variety of activities allow everyone to enjoy the riches of this site, from school groups – to which it is recommended to visit in small groups under the guidance of our expert personnel – to families with children, to the most demanding expert hikers. The variety of the trail network satisfies all demands. It is highly recommended to always follow the marked trails, both in summer and winter, and never leave the paths, be it on foot or especially on mountain bikes, horses or with snowshoes.

Norme comportamentali

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

visit the site on foot, 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;

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.

How to get there

By car and camper

The municipality of Courmayeur has always been actively engaged in the protection of its natural heritage, and thus invites visitors to use the bus services to visit the lateral valleys, especially during the summer season when parking is very limited. The municipality of Courmayeur can easily be reached. Take the S.S. 26 state road or the A5/E25 autoroute, Aosta - Monte Bianco direction, and exit at Courmayeur. The road leading to Val Ferret is practically completely closed during the winter season, while in summer, car traffic is regulated. In Arp Nouvaz it is possible to park your car.

By train

Many daily trains connect the stations of Pré - St. Didier and Aosta (Aosta- Pré Saint Didier line). From Pré - St. Didier, a shuttle service, corresponding with trains’ arrival and departure times, will take you to Courmayeur.

By bus

Many buses reach Courmayeur from Aosta and other cities of Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria and also France. The bus service is intensified during winter and summer touristic seasons. Please note that access to the lateral valleys of Veny and Ferret is regulated, and therefore bus trips are multiplied for these destinations, departing from Retegno Square in La Palud.
To reach Val Ferret, take the Verrand – Courmayeur – La Palud – Planpincieux – Arp Nouvaz busline.

PARKING AREAS The following public parking areas are available:
- Monte Bianco parking area (with fee; first hour free)
- Grivel parking area, in Dolonne, next to the Sports Centre (free; no parking on Wednesday mornings)
- Retegno parking area, in La Palud, next to the Mont Blanc Cableway and at the entrance of Val Ferret (free)
- Volpi parking area, at the autoroute’s exit and in front of the cableways (free)
- Val Veny parking area in Entrèves (free)

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.

Val Ferret

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%) 1
Trail width (min 90cm) 1
Road surface 1
Resting areas approx every 10 m 1
Safety and protection of trails 2
Periodic maintenance 2

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:

Short path

Rifugio Bonatti

  • Elevation gain : 344 m
  • Travel time: 50 min
  • Signposting: 27-28-42-AV1

What to see:


Long path

Mont de La Saxe, Testa Bernarda

  • Elevation gain : 930 m
  • Travel time: 5h30
  • Signposting: 29-30-31-42-AV1-TMB

What to see:


Average path

Col Petit e Grand Ferret

  • Elevation gain : 765 m
  • Travel time: 4 h
  • Signposting: 22-23-24-25 -TMB

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 Val Ferret

SIC ZPS IT1204030

Municipality: Courmayeur

Surface: 9.079 ha

Altitude: 1.360 ÷ 4.201 m s.l.m.

Responsible forest station:


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