The Laoul woods, the lavenders flat summit, the Rhône banks and the National Nature Reserve of « Les Gorges de l’Ardèche » are full of treasures to satisfy every walkers’ needs. For a day or more, no matter your habits, everyone will find what they’re looking for!
Need for nature and authenticity
Beavers, otters, rare plants, Bonelli eagles, Circaètes Jean le Blanc, vultures… many animals that we don’t have the chance to cross very often. Even so, the Rhône banks and the National Nature Reserve of « Les Gorges de l’Ardèche » have a wonderful diversity of fauna and flora to offer.
The Rhône banks, which are easy to reach, provide walks for the younger ones, especially on the ViaRhôna. As for the Gorges de l’Ardèche, each walker that enters into them instantly fell for their magic, feeling very small while surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. It’s a true privilege to be able to enter the Nature reserve and walk within it, there’s also the possibility to spend the night in the bivouac, with the sound of nocturnal animals in the background.
And why not ask for a guide to get a chance to find beaver’s trails or observe a vulture nest with binoculars ?
Exceptional sites to discover on foot only
Hiking gives the possibility to get to otherwise inaccessible places and feel privileged. And what a reward, after a great walk and a tiny climb, to get on top of the Dent de Rez to admire a panoramic view on the Lavenders Flat Summit and the Rhône Valley! The Dolmens of Bois des Géandes throne on top of the Laoul woods and take the traveller back in time to Neolithic. A few « drailles » (a path for livestock animals) further, some other treasures hide beetween juniper and garrigues (typical biotope of southern France) there are very old « capitelles » (stone huts ) which some have been renovated and many terrace, remains of an ancestral agriculture. Some walks will lead you on higher heights like the Joanade in Viviers or in the Sainte Baume Gorges, starting from the Saint Montan village, a medieval village labelled « Village de caractère ».
Many opportunities are given to walkers who are willing to go hiking for a few days. The trail alongside the Gorges de l’Ardèche and a night in the bivouac in the thick of the National Nature Reserve will provide you an unforgettable experience.
The users of the GR4 can get to the GR42 by an interesting loop with enjoyable breaks at the river Ardèche banks or in the Laoul woods. These paths are often taken by the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrims, the area is known for its amazing landscapes.
Hiking and trekking documentation
Various books are available for sale in the tourist offices’ shops :
-« Les sentiers d’Emilie » explains 12 itineraries from 6 to 12km
-« Randonnée au cœur et autour de la Réserve Nationale des Gorges de l’Ardèche, un chef-d’œuvre du temps » published by the « Syndicat mixte de Gestion des Gorges de l’Ardèche » also available in english
-« Randonnée à Viviers »
-« 52 Balades en ardèche méridionale »
-« L’Ardèche à pied »
-« Randonnée du plateau des Gras aux Gorges de l’Ardèche »
IGN maps of the Gorges de l’ardèche are available too.