Mercantour National Park - Col de la Cayolle

Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur  >  France

More than 150 bird species can be seen in the surroundings of this beautiful mountain pass in Parc National du Mercantour.

Added by Thierry Martin


Col de la Cayolle (2326 m) is a high mountain pass in the Parc National du Mercantour. Without question this is the most beautiful and unspoiled route through the Mercantour, linking the upper Var valley to the valley of L’Ubaye. On the pass there is a parking from where you can explore the area which is characterised by open fields and mountain slopes, rocks, grassland and low vegetation. You can take the trail leading, after a short walk, to a superb viewing point over the Lac d’Allos, the largest high-altitude lake in Europe (2220 m). Along the way you can observe alpine fauna like chamois, ibex, marmots and of course many birds. Among the birds you can see are Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Common Raven, Citril Finch, White-winged Snowfinch, Rock Bunting, Black Redstart, Northern Wheatear and Ring Ouzel as well as large birds of prey such as Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Snake Eagle and Golden Eagle. If you are lucky you can see Bearded Vulture that is gradually reintroduced in the area.


Français: Le col de la Cayolle est situé à 2 326 mètres d'altitude. Le col fait partie du Parc National du Mercantour. Sur ce même territoire, 153 espèces d’oiseaux permettent des rencontres inattendues : la chouette de Tengmalm habituée aux basses températures côtoie le hibou petit-duc d’Afrique du Nord. Dans les airs ou sur terre, il est également possible d'observer le gypaète barbu (réintroduit dans le parc depuis 1993), l'aigle royal, le tétras lyre, le lagopède, mais aussi chocard à bec jaune ou crave à bec rouge en altitude.



On the pass there is a parking from where you can explore the area. On the other side of the road from the parking you can take the trail to the viewpoint (2,5 km one way) over the Lac d’Allos.


Français: Sur le col, il y a un parking d'où vous pouvez explorer la région. De l'autre côté de la route à partir du parking, vous pouvez emprunter le sentier jusqu'au point de vue (2,5 km aller) sur le lac d'Allos.

Terrain and Habitat

Mountain, Canyon/cliff, Scattered trees and bushes, Grassland, Plateau


Open landscape, Mountainous, Rocky

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

Spring, Summer

Best time to visit



Paved road, Wide path

Difficulty walking trail


Accessible by

Foot, Car

Birdwatching hide / platform


View birdingplaces in the area that are published on Birdingplaces.eu


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here


Click on the bee eater icon () to insert bird names in your own language. The birdnames will automatically be translated for other users!