Natural Reserve of the Côte of Gargantua

“You are on the giant’s little finger” counts the legend… A rocky spur of elongated shape, born from deposits of glacial origin, sparked popular imagination and generated the legend to which the name of this very special area is given: the Côte would be the little finger of the giant Gargantua, a character invented by Rabelais, buried under cumulated debris. An ancient story which follows another: that of the unique and variegated animal and plant species among the many that live in this typical example of steppe vegetation. Amongst the most representative of the floristic world: theVallesiaca Wormwood, a rare aromatic plant, and the Tree Orpine (Telephium imperati ), a species of Meditarranean origin. An ideal environment for small rodents, rapacious birds, Passeriformes, reptiles and invertebrates. This landscape is much beloved by inquiring tourists who can encounter the Rocky Lizard, the Green Lizard, the Coluber, and many species of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera.


  • Hiking

    The Natural Reserve can be reached from different locations. All itineraries are described in the TRAILS section.

  • Mountain Biking

    The trails are not accessible to mountain bikes. It is possible to reach the parking lot with your bike and then to continue on foot.

Discover the site

Due to the slope’s excellent exposure, snow does not stay long and the site can be visited safely even during the winter. Spring and autumn remain the best seasons to fully enjoy the mildness of the weather and the splendour of the colours.
Because of its modest dimensions, the protected site is better suited to visitors in small groups. In the case of school outings, we request a maximum of 30 persons in order to discover the environment without disturbing its naturalness. Adequate equipment for the physically-disabled is available at the station of Barral.
The tour of the Côte of Gargantua lasts half a day and can be undertaken only on foot.

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, 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;

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

The Côte of Gargantua is clearly visible from the road of Envers (liaison route between the hamlets located on the right-hand orographic slope). Taking the road towards Pila, from the municipality of Gressan, you will find the first indication for the Reserve after only a few meters, at the junction for Cort. Then proceed until you reach a road which runs along the Côte of Gargantua, and after a few meters, you will find the first information panel of the Reserve; if you wish to know more about the map of all trails, you can go back to the road for Pila and take the detour for Clapey: you will walk along a very narrow dead-end road, at the end of which are located a small parking (max 3 cars) and the map of all trails.

By bus

The no. 5 busline, Jovençan - Gressan - Aosta

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.

Natural Reserve of the Côte of Gargantua

Information to reach the site 1
Accessibility from main roads 3
Parking for the disabled 1
Accessible restrooms 0
Information panels 2
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 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

Côte de Gargantua

  • Elevation gain : 166 m
  • Travel time: 1 h
  • Signposting: -

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 Natural Reserve of the Côte of Gargantua

SIC SIC IT1203030

Municipality: Gressan

Surface: 19 ha

Altitude: 607 ÷ 776 m s.l.m.

Responsible forest station:


The route of a drop of water down ...

The route of a drop of water down  ...
Follow the experience of a drop of water as it falls onto a glacier.

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

Saveurs du Val d'Aoste