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Ski-ing conditions :
Orientation :
  • Département: 06 Alpes-Maritimes
  • Carte IGN: 3639 OT
  • Coordonnées géographiques: 
    • GPS (UTM WGS84):  32T 338629 4903678
    • Coordonnées GPS décimales:  44.268460 N / 6.978122 E
  • Access: Parking at the Park House of St Etienne de Tinée Accessible in RandoBus: see the "Tourism information" tab


Road access Road access in winter Transport en commun
  • GPS (UTM WGS84):  32T 334300 4902611
  • Coordonnées GPS décimales:  44.257887 N - 6.924260 E
1,148 m

Par la route

In Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée, park in the parking lot of the park house next to the Tinée bridge

Transports en commun

Access by public transport: railway station SNCF of Nice, joining corridor bus avenue Thiers, line 740 direction St-Etienne de Tinée-Auron, get off at St-Etienne de Tinée, see also hiking-Bus Express tel.0 800 06 01 06. Tourist Office of St Etienne 04 93 02 41 96

Hors enneigement
8.10 km
1380 m
06:00 h
From the park car park in Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée (1144 m), cross the bridge on theTinée river and follow the pathway (b.100) which goes up into the forest. Do not take the tiny pathways but stay on the marked trail and pass the beacon 101 and 102. The vertical uneven drop will subside from the beacon 103 (2382 m) for a traverse on the Chemin de l'Energie. At the beacon 104, do not take the pathway that descends to the right. Continue the last meters of ascent that lead to the lake of Rabuons (b.105) and the mountain hut (2523 m)
From the mountain hut of Rabuons (2523 m), go to the beacon 105 and to the Chemin de l'Energie. At the beacon 104, do not take the path that descends to the left. Continue crossing to the beacon 103 (2382 m). At this point, leave the Chemin de l'Energie. Take the pathway that goes down to the left and goes into the forest. Pass the beacons 102 and 101 while remaining on the marked trail and ignoring the tiny trails. When you reach the road (b.100), take the bridge that crosses the Tinée river and reach the parking lot of the Maison du Parc on the right (1144 m).
05:00 h

The refuge et its site

Located on the edge of the Mercantour National Park, Rabuons refuge, perched on its rocky outcrop, dominates the large Rabuons lake. On its terrace, the visitor can enjoy the view over the Tinée valley, Auron, and the neighboring peaks.

The climb from Saint Etienne de Tinée is in itself a beautiful hike. We cross first the forest of broadleaves, then the melezin, and finally the alpine lawn, where one arrives on the famous "Chemin de l'Energie". This path, dug in the rock, is in balcony over the valley and leads us just below the refuge.

Numerous climbs to nearby summits exceeding 3000 meters of altitude are possible from the refuge.

You will be able in this wild site to discover a rich and varied mountain environment: fauna (ibex, chamois, mouflons, ...), flora, geology, ...

In the heart of the Alps, in the immediate vicinity of Italy and the Mediterranean, the valley of Rabuons and its many lakes is an exceptional place for all lovers of mountain and nature


Access to St Etienne la Tinée

By car

From Ubaye valley

Take the Col de la Bonette and go down to Saint Etienne de Tinée.

From Nice :

Take direction Dignes-Vallée Vésubie-Tinée Valley, then follow the Tinée Valley to Saint Etienne de Tinée.


By bus

Take line 740 (Nice - Auron) from Nice SNCF railway station. Stop at Saint Etienne de Tinée.

For timetables, click here




Walking access to the refuge

From the car park of the Mercantour National Park of Saint Etienne de Tinée, cross the bridge (on the road) to arrive on the left bank of the Tinée.

The path leading to the Rabuons starts from the crossing just after the bridge, to the wooden beacon.

You enter a dense hardwood forest, on a beautiful paved trail, which runs between scattered houses. Then begins a long ascent, but the slope being regular, the altitude increases fairly quickly.

After the source (drinkable), the trail crosses a larch forest lighted and pleasantly cool, then the alpine lawn.

After about 3 hours of climbing from Saint Etienne de Tinée, you will arrive at the famous Chemin de l'Energie (beacon 103), built at the beginning of the 20th century to collect the waters of the different valleys of the site. This road is flat for about 2 km, until the EDF hut, where you have a last climb to reach the refuge (about 1 hour from the 103 beacon).