A very fine walk in the heart of the Ardèche Gorge. You will have to descend a combe and follow the river along a path, with a small section fitted with ropes and ladders. You will admire a succession of corries, cliffs, little caves, rocks, pinnacles, rapids, sandy
and pebble beaches. The cliffs are home to many birds.
You climb up again to the plateau by another fine valley, affording very impressive views of the gorge and the loops of the river .
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
N.B. This hike should be attempted only in dry weather and by walkers at ease on rocks and scree. There are some awkward sections with ladders and safety ropes. No fords to be negotiated on this route.
From Labastide-de-Virac proceed to the hamlet of Les Crottes. The car park is on the right-hand side, at the entrance to the hamlet.
(D/A) On leaving the car park, follow the road to the right, skirting the hamlet and continuing northwards on a track.
Pass two houses (cottages) on the right and continue to the end of the track.
(1) Take an unmarked path to the right, leading down the valley of the Combe des Champs, bearing north-north-east, until you reach the river. Ignore the various minor paths heading off to right or left and stay on the main path.
(2) Lower down, at a minor junction, stay on the left-hand path in the valley bottom and continue to the intersection on the bank of the Ardèche.
(3) Turn right. Follow the general direction of the river bank along a path well waymarked in yellow and white, which is fairly precipitous in places, with a ladder and safety ropes. In passing, note the Gaud Loop, the cliffs of Gaud Corrie and the Autridge Rock. You arrive at the signpost at Guitard Ford and carry on for about 350 m to the next junction.
(4) Bear 90° to the right on a path climbing towards the campsite and farm of Serret, for about 300 m.
(5) Ignore the path leading left to the Oullins Cave (marked with a yellow cross) and continue on the path to the right, which passes above the rocky outcrops.
(6) Immediately afterwards a little path heads off to the left. Follow this to a very fine viewpoint and then return, then continue to the left to Serret Farm.
(7) Follow the road which leads past the farm and then the campsite. Ignore the track leading to the right and the lanes to the left.
About 100m after the junction with the track, go a few metres down to the right to a superb viewpoint and retrace your steps, then continue about 250 m on the road.
(8) In a left-hand bend, take the path to the right. Follow it, ignoring the minor paths to left and right, until you reach the settlement of Les Crottes.
(9) On entering the hamlet, make a detour to the left to see the war memorial commemorating the resistance fighters. On returning, continue to the left through the hamlet, passing under an arch, rejoin the road and then the car park (D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 866ft - Car park
1 : mi 0.35 - alt. 827ft - Path to the right
2 : mi 0.68 - alt. 607ft - Path continues on the left - Ardèche
3 : mi 0.93 - alt. 262ft - To the right, along the river bank
4 : mi 4.98 - alt. 240ft - Signpost at Guitard Ford, Serret Farm
5 : mi 5.07 - alt. 325ft - Junction, to the right
6 : mi 5.59 - alt. 741ft - Detour to viewpoint
7 : mi 5.94 - alt. 856ft - Road, to the right
8 : mi 6.67 - alt. 840ft - Path to the right, in the bend
9 : mi 7.35 - alt. 866ft - Left, war memorial
D/A : mi 7.47 - alt. 866ft - Car park
To be avoided in very hot weather.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Worth visiting: the very pretty village of Labastide-de-Virac, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, the Pont d'Arc Cavern, the Orgnac limestone caves, the Marzal Cave, etc.
The wonderful Ardèche Gorge: a paradise for water sports, rock climbing, speleology, rambling, camping, pony trekking, mountain biking and more.
Information on all available activities from the tourist offices.
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