Lac d’Allos, Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur, France

Lake Locations:

France - Southern France - Provence-Alps-Cote d'Azur -

Also known as:  Lac Allos, Allos Lake

Lac d’Allos, also known as Allos Lake, is situated in the middle of the Reserve de Chasse du Mercantour (Mercantour National Park) in the Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur region on southeastern France. This small glacial lake has a surface area of 150 acres and a maximum depth of 157 feet. At 7,316 feet above sea level, Allos Lake is the largest natural high-altitude body of water on the European continent. The lake is fed by snow and ice from the surrounding mountains; water escapes through an underground passage to a glacial stream and eventually to the Verdon River. Surrounded by towering mountains, there are no roads leading directly to Lac d’Allos; however, hiking there doesn’t take more than an hour, and it is definitely worth the trek. The closest place to park your vehicle is at the Maison Forestier du Laus, about 45 minutes away from Lac d’Allos by foot. It is a beautiful walk that affords plenty of sightseeing opportunities; however, it is important to note that this road is closed during the winter.

With over 600 miles of trails in the Val de Allos, alpine walking holidays in this area are extremely popular. Perhaps the most traversed is a five-hour loop that passes by Lac de la Petite Cayolle, Lac des Garets and Lac d’Allos. Hikers can continue on the Col de la Cayolle from la Petite Cayolle for a full-day excursion.

Animal and birdwatching at Lac d’Allos is sensational. Marmot, chamois, ermine, ibex and mouflon inhabit the area, as do stags, roebucks, hares, and Italian wolves. Wolf-lovers should not miss the visitors’ center in Saint-Martin-Vesubie, which is dedicated to this majestic canine. You can also expect to spot a range of vegetation along nearby trails, such as holm oak, rhododendrons, firs, Swiss pines and larches. At least 2,000 types of flowering plants thrive in Mercantour National Park, including the rare edelweiss and martagon lily. The European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy monitors all of the park’s plant species through an ongoing program.

Lac d’Allos is also known for its phenomenal mountain biking; the Tour de France progressed through the Allos Pass in 2000. Adventure-lovers enjoy exploring the stunning Verdon Gorges, commonly known as “the Grand Canyon du Verdon,” which are up to 2,300 feet deep. Wintertime activities in the area include snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Lac d’Allos is especially well maintained because it is nestled within Mercantour National Park, one of nine pristine refuges in France. Established in 1979, the preserve features a varied terrain that is speckled with olive groves, thick pine forests and waterfalls. One moment you are hiking along a steep gorge, and the next you are in front of a vast prairie of wildflowers – all within the span of just a couple of miles. Most of all, the 170,000-acre park is known for its beautiful mountain landscapes, which attract over 800,000 visitors per year. Mercantour is also home to the Vallee des Merveilles Historical Monument, an area decorated with petroglyphs from the stone-age.

Because Lac d’Allos is within a national park, you won’t find any real estate or vacation rentals directly on the lake. However, the charming town of Allos lies about 7.5 miles west of the lake. There are two ski resorts here, both founded in the early 20th century. A nearby community park, Paradis des Enfants, is the perfect family excursion because it provides countless recreational activities like pedal boating, canoeing, and rock climbing. Children love the archery targets, trampolines, mini golf course and giant chess board here – not to mention the enormous man-made lake complete with water slide.

Peppered with various bodies of water, the Lac d’Allos area is a lake lover’s paradise. Lac de L’Encombrette is situated to the south of Lac d’Allos, and Le Lausson to the east. To the north you’ll also find Lac Du Trou de l’Aigle, Lac de la Petite Cavolle, and Lac des Garrets.

Here at Lac d’Allos you can simultaneously commune with nature, experience French culture and cuisine, and practice speaking the musical French language. Lake Allos is the perfect place to come for a tiny taste of France.

Things to do at Lac d’Allos

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Waterfall
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Miniature Golf

Lac d’Allos Photo Gallery

Lac d’Allos Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 150 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 7,316 feet

Maximum Depth: 157 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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