A hikers guide to the Ardèche Geopark

Topoguide : Balades et Randonnées, Monts d'Ardèche
Topoguide : Balades et Randonnées, Monts d’Ardèche
In the French “massif central”, between Clermont-Ferrand and the summits of the Haut-Languedoc, there is much evidence of ancient volcanic activity. While still ancient, the most recent volcanic activity took place in the the Ardèche Mountains, now a Regional Nature Park. This park, created in 2001, extends roughly from the market town of Les Vans in the south to St Agrève in the north. In 2014, the area was granted UNESCO Geopark status recognizing the remarkable landscapes and sites of geological interest resulting from volcanic activity. Geologists have determined that some of this volcanic activite may have been as recent as 10 000 years ago so it is common to see this area referred to as the “young” volcanos of the Ardèche.

The Geopark is magnificently suited to wandering, walking and long distance hiking with many marked trails providing access to well known sites (such as Mount Gerbier de Jonc – the source of the Loire River) and to less well-known ones throughout the area.
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Hiking in Lozere

a top rated book
I came across this little book while in Mende in the summer of 2016. The bookstore owner told me he knows one of the authors, who has apparently lived all his life in the Lozere and spent lots of time on the hiking trails. These authors provide their selection of the prettiest one day hikes in the Lozere department.

So with our hiking club we decided to try a few of them out. There are several hikes in the Florac area, on Mount Lozere, and in the Tarn Gorges. These hikes are close enough to the iron cross in Gattigues that we could get there and back in a day including hiking time. The hike from St Enimie along the Tarn Gorges to a spot above St-Chely-du-Tarn is spectacular, as was the hike to the top of the Puecheral, described elsewhere on this site. The hike around the Eschino d’Aze and the 2 Bondon hillocks (as pictured on the cover of the book to the left) is also outstanding. Continue reading “Hiking in Lozere”