Much of the attraction of this département stems from the outdoor life (walking, skiing, canoeing etc), and the beauty of nature. The torrential waters coming off the Alps have carved spectacles like the Méouge Gorge, and the rock-and-alluvium columns capped with large boulders, dubbed the Demoiselles coiffées, are intriguing sights.
The Queyras regional park and the Écrins national park are some of Europe's highest reserves. The latter contains such notable peaks as the Meije, Pelvoux, Ailefroide and Agneaux, and its aims are to sustain the traditional way of life, protect the Oisans massif, safeguard the ecological systems and record their rich diversity. Its flora is very representative of the Alpine environment and includes several rare species, including reine des Alpes, lady's slipper, orange lily, aquilegia and wormwood.
Animal life is also very rich: more than 30 species of mammal, from the chamois to the vole, and 90 species of nesting bird, including the golden eagle.
Other points of interest are Saint-Véran, Europe's highest village (2040m), and the col d'Izoard, the highest point of the Tour de France.