If you’re in the Haute Tarentaise in summer, perhaps based in Saint-Foy Tarentaise, Tignes or Val d’Isère, you’ll have access to a network of footpaths whose well-signed routes will take you away from the man-made landscapes of the resorts and into some truly magnificent mountain scenery. In these wild places there’s a strong possibility that along the way you’ll see wildlife, and in the height of summer there are spectacular displays of wild flowers.
La Sassière lake lies at the head of a wide valley which is a popular destination for walkers who can reach it easily on foot via the main path (about 40 minutes walk) from the car park. However, there’s a more interesting higher footpath with much better views making a more satisfying circular route (allow 2 hours). From the lake, there’s a possibility of continuing on a footpath to the foot of the glacier. Protected as a natural reserve, the valley is an area being used to study the Marmotte – in summer you will almost certainly have sightings of these creatures or hear their calls.
To reach the start of the valley, turn left off the D902 just after Tignes on a road signed to Le Franchet and La Sassière. It’s a long climb with splendid views back to Tignes. Eventually you reach the Barrage de Saut where there’s ample parking. To follow the upper path, ascend to the right above the barrage (you’ll need good walking boots and plenty to drink). This footpath is narrow and often rocky, with some steep sections. If this sounds difficult, follow the main path – an easy walk suitable for all ages though the track steepens towards the lake.