The most outstanding site in the southern Vosges Mountains is Le Grand Ballon. “The Big Ball” is the tallest peak in the mountain range and reaches a height of 4,672 ft/1,424 m at its summit. Even at this relatively low altitude, the mountain offers views across Alsace. On clear days, you may be able to see parts of Germany and Austria.
In summer, follow La Route des Crêtes, the Ridge Road, to the roadside trail markers and hike up or around the mountain. You can pick up maps and trail information at the offices of tourism in the villages of Saint Amarin or Saint Maurice. Even better, stop at the visitors’ center inside Maison du Parc naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges in Munster.
Parts of the Route des Crêtes are closed during the winter, but snow sports are available, with information at the Maison du Parc (Park House), which is located in an old Benedictine abbey listed as a historic monument. There’s no entry fee for the abbey and kids will like the Discovery Trail and the Reading Corner.
Most of the year, you can drive, hike, and bike through the park, which covers 3,000 sq. km/1,153.8 sq. m. Contact the tourism office in Saint Amarin for bike rentals.