Geology and Climate Menu Heritage and Tours Sceneries and Men History of Men Geology and Climate Landscapes Hautes-Vosges The “Plateau des Mille Etangs” Fougerolles and Val d’Ajol Valleys Ballons of Franche-Comté Vosgian Valleys Haut-Rhin Valleys Wine-growing Foothills Natural Heritage Forests High Stubble Lakes, Ponds, Peatlands Ravines, Cliffs and Scree Slopes Calcareous Grasslands Orchards Local Products and Craftsmanship Marque Parc (Park Label) Wood Cladding Mineral and Natural Spring Waters Wooden Toys Honey and Fruit Juice Wooden Furniture for Children Products Fougerolles Orchards and Kirsch Fish Farming Vosgian Cattle Breed Cheeses Small Fruit, Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Alsatian Wine Smoked Meats and Andouilles Craftsmanship Textile Granite Lava Sandstone Wood industry Farm Shops Farmhouse-Inns Farm Markets Cultural Heritage Thermal Heritage Industrial Heritage Farms Country of Art and History Religious Heritage Intangible Cutural Heritage Heritage and Memory Castles Thematic Roads and Tracks Tourist Routes Barefoot Trails Treetop Adventure Park Museums and Heritage Sites Thermal Baths Environment Awareness Structures Parks and Botanical Gardens Venues for Shows, Exhibitions and Festivals At the Park Doors Colmar Belfort Lure Mulhouse Luxeuil-les-Bains Remiremont Saint-Dié-des-Vosges Nature activities Guided Walks and Discovery trails A Farm, A Hike Mountain Guides Pedestrian Hikes Club Vosgien / Club Alpin (Vosgian / Alpine Clubs) Reception Centres for Educational Stays Winter Activities Mountain Biking and Cyclo-Tourism Fishing Trail Aeromodelism Water Sports Equine Activities Climbing Skydiving Nature vacations Camping in Nature Panda Lodgings and Guesthouses Hôtels au Naturel (Hotels in Natural Settings) The Southern Vosges Mountains’ remarkable natural and cultural heritage is a wealth of emblematic landscapes that attract many visitors and earn it the Regional Natural Park status. Touring the Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park means discovering this heritage and meeting the men and women who keep it alive. Gneiss up north, granites in the centre, sedimentary rocks of volcanic origin down south make up the Hautes-Vosges bedrock. These remain from a vast and ancient hercynian mountain formed over 400 to 500 million years. However, today’s mountain shapes are much younger. They come from the raising and dislocation of the ancient base shaped by the Alps formation. The old mountain did indeed rise a second time – but its centre dislocated and collapsed into tiers to form the Rhineland rift. The Vosges and the Black Forest appear respectively West and East. Erosion and glaciers shaped the sceneries we can admire today. The last ice age ended 12,000 years ago. The Hautes-Vosges Mountains is surprisingly prolific in varied natural environments thanks to relief, geological variations, and first and foremost climatic conditions – themselves subject to topography, altitude or orientation. As a result, the Hautes-Vosges stand in the way of oceanic perturbations from the West. Winters are cold and summers cool (11 °C on average instead of 20 °C in the Alsace Plain). Rains are substantial with sometimes more than 2 meters of water per year on the crest, instead of a little over 50 cm in Colmar – one of the driest regions in France.