Wolf tracking is a once in a lifetime wilderness adventure! During this guided walking holiday in the French Alps you’ll follow tracks of one of the most elusive predators in the Alps!
The best time for tracking wolves is when there is some snow on the ground, because then it’s easier to follow the tracks and other signs over longer distances. In Springtime wolves look for a good place to give birth to their offspring and so they tend to be active around one place. But finding that location is not as easy as you might think, as wolves change the location of their dens each year. The best chance for seeing active wolves is at dawn and dusk. So for the Spring trip when the days are longer you’ll stay out in the wild for two nights to increase your chances of seeing wolves.
The area is very wild, still relatively untouched and rich in wildlife, with wild boar, chamois, mouflon, roe deer, golden eagles and more. So it’s perfect wolf habitat and a wonderful place for any wildlife enthusiast to explore.
French Alps Wolf Tracking Accommodation
You’ll stay in a remote refuge managed by the Forestry Commission. The actual choice of refuge depends on wolf activity. The refuges are very basic with a dormitory with matresses and a small area with a wood burning stove and table and chairs. Cooking utensils and equipment vary in refuges so it is best to be self sufficient which means the group will carry in the necessary basics. Electricity is limited making this a real ‘back to basics’ wilderness experience!
You can also do the Wolf Tracking walking holiday in Winter, but then you’ll stay one night in a refuge and another one in a hotel or guesthouse. Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information on the Winter Wolf Tracking Trip.
Food for evening meal and breakfast is included, but note that all cooking is done together. Picnic lunches are provided.
Walking on the trail of the Wolf
You’ll be tracking wolves with Bernard, a high mountain guide and tracker. He has been following the colonisation of the area by wolves for the past 20 years. With a wealth of local knowledge and access to a network of other local wolf enthusiasts, you’ll get a really good insight into the lives of these elusive animals. Together with Bernard you’ll be going on a 3 day adventure. You’ll follow tracks and signs of wolf activity in the area and also get to know the lives and behaviour of other animals living with the wolf.
Wolves have a very big territory, so please be aware that although you may be lucky and find signs straight away, it’s also possible that you don’t find anything at all. There is no guarantee you will see or even hear a wolf. We record all signs of wolf activity (prints, howling, poo, etc.) and send them into the official ‘wolf network’, which monitors the colonisation of wolves in the Alps. So by participating in this holiday you’ll be helping this research.
You need to have a reasonable level of fitness, as you may need to walk long distances while tracking. Also, you need to be ready for walking ‘off the beaten track’, through woods and undergrowth and on steep ground.
Wolf Tracking walking holiday itinerary
The itinerary below is for a Wolf Tracking Trip in Spring. For more information on the Winter Wolf Tracking trip, please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form.
Day 1 – Arrive and first day tracking. You’ll either be collected from Gap train station or from your hotel if you travelled over the day before. Breakfast with the group, where Bernard will talk through recent wolf activity and go through a plan for the next few days.
The first day is a full day out with Bernard, your high mountain guide and tracker. You’ll follow the signs and prints of wolves and other wildlife. The actual destination will depend on where the wolves are thought to be at the time, but walking is likely to be in a wild, all terrain environment.
You’ll be looking at the signs of all kinds of different animals, for example chamois, wild boar, mouflon and deer, that live in the wolves’ territory. You’ll learn how to identify and interpret their prints – whether they are fresh or old, running, walking or ambling, you’ll see what food they eat, discover their favourite places, where they drink, their dens, etc. This is all useful information to help locate and understand the wolves.
If we find fresh wolf prints you’ll follow their tracks and interpret their behaviour along the way.By the end of the day you will have a really good insight into the behaviour of wolves and other mountain wildlife as they eat, sleep, mate and carry out their lives under the threat of their biggest predators.
Day 2 – Second Day Tracking. After breakfast in the refuge, you’ll pack your gear and set off for the second day. For the best part, the route will depend on what you saw or heard the previous day and during the night.
You’ll be getting a real feel for the local wildlife and know where to look to find chamois and mouflon as they graze. You’ll also notice where roe deer slept the night, where wild boar went in search of food and you’ll be able to tell the difference between a dog and a wolf print.
Today you’ll be on the lookout for the wolves again and signs of their activity. You’ll also try howling to try and start up communication with them. It may feel bizarre howling out loud into the wilderness but the wolves do respond. It is one of the official ways to find out if wolf packs have reproduced. You can tell in the replies if it’s a young wolf or adult!
At the end of the day the group heads back to the refuge and prepares for the evening. You’ll be out in the wilds of the Alps again under the moonlight and stars. Your guide will put up a camera, to see what goes on around the refuge at night!
Day 3 – Third Day Wolf Tracking. Again after breakfast you’ll pack up and set off for the last day of this wolf tracking adventure. You’ll head back from the refuge, again following signs of the wolves.
Today is the last chance to see wolves so you’ll take plenty of time scanning the mountainsides with binoculars! You’ll also spend some time howling to hear if the wolves talk back.
At the end of the day you’ll head back to civilisation. You’ll stop off for a shower and a drink so you can go off on to the night train feeling refreshed!
Your hosts will give you a lift back to Gap train station for your night-train or to your hotel for the night if you are staying an extra night.
Dates and Availability
This walking holiday is available from December – April. The itinerary and price of this holiday is slightly different for trips in Winter, because of one night accommodation in a hotel/guesthouse instead of in a winter refuge.
There are fixed dates for this trip, although private wolf tracking trips are available anytime between December and April, subject to accommodation availability.
3 – 5 January 2015 – 3 days/2 nights – € 595.- per person
4 – 6 April 2015 – 8 days/7 nights – € 538.- per person
Please note that the fixed departure date trips are based on a group size of 4 – 6. Your hosts prefer to keep the groups small (maximum 6 people) to minimise disruption and noise and to give you a better quality trip. It’s still possible to cater for smaller or larger groups and families too. Please contact them for more information through the contact form below.