A short hike to climb two volcanoes with their typical open craters to delight amateur geologists and curious hikers. A beautiful view from the top of the Puy de Lassolas on over the Chaîne des Puys to the north and Monts Dore to the south.
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.
Park at the car park along the D5, at a crossing (marker 980) between Randanne and Saint-Genès-Champanelle.
Red and White markings as far as point (2), then sparse Green markings from there. Some information panels.
(S/F) Follow the GR30 and GR4 in the undergrowth, with heading west, then north-west. Stay on the main path ignoring the trails heading to the right and the path that goes left.
(1). Continue north-west by remaining attentive and locating the junction towards the Puy de Lassolas.
(2) Take the path on the right (heading north) to climb the Puy de Lassolas. The trail starts in the undergrowth but soon clears. Continue along on this steep trail in the scree. Follow the ridge along a semi-circle to the summit (1,187 m). Pass over the summit and begin the descent into the scree. Do not strictly follow the ridge but veer left to reach the small depression between the Puy de Lassolas and Puy de la Vache.
(3) Begin the ascent of the Puy de la Vache. The path is laid out with many wooden steps. Reach the ridge of the Puy de la Vache and then its summit (1,167 m). Head down along the ridge to the south and find the wooden steps. Then follow a path that winds through the woods to get back to the outbound GR path. Turn left onto this road to quickly reach the starting point (S/F).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 3235ft
1 : mi 0.42 - alt. 3268ft - Junction with the road coming from Montlosier
2 : mi 0.85 - alt. 3386ft - Junction with the path climbing up Puy de Lassolas
3 : mi 1.43 - alt. 3806ft - Puy de Lassolas
4 : mi 1.72 - alt. 3615ft - Dip between Puy de Lassolas and Puy de la Vache
5 : mi 2.01 - alt. 3747ft - Puy de la Vache
D/A : mi 2.68 - alt. 3235ft
The land is unstable in places (scree) so wear good walking shoes. No drinking water refill point. A compass can be useful in fog.
The ridges of Puy Lassolas and Puy de la Vache are susceptible to erosion: do not deviate from the path.
“Alternative parking option” - It is possible to park at the Maison du Parc des Volcanes, Montlosier Castle, located at the foot of the Puy de Montchal, about 1.5 km south-west of the intersection that is the starting point. In this case, join the trail that starts at the D5 and runs along the base of the Puy de Montchal on its east side. Follow this path on the left (Northwest). A at marker 993, turn to the right and follow the path north-east that leads to point (1).
We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 2531ET, 2531ETR.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The Puy de Lassolas Puy de la Vache are the youngest of the Chaîne des Puys at around 8,500 years old. They are called “open crater” volcanoes with a characteristic crescent shape. This shape is due to a continuous lava flow at the time of eruption, which prevented the crater from closing. This lava flow, by solidifying, formed the Cheires d’Aydat, a sort of natural dam at the origin of the lake of the same name.
The entire route is an open book of Volcanology. The ridges provide an abundance of volcanic deposits that range from red to black (avoid the temptation to take samples with you).
Home to the National Park Centre of the Auvergne volcanoes near the starting point (see the alternative parking option in the practical information section).
Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 5/5
Walk interest : 4/5
Global average : 4.33 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good
Fascinating walk, quite tough in places, especially due to the very high temperatures during the June 2019 French heatwave! Fabulous views from the top of the volcano.
Due to the temperature, and the steep climb involved, we cut short after Puy de Lassolas by taking the track shown on the routemap down between the 2 volcanoes back to the car park.
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Caution, it's a very popular walk so be sure to do it during week days for a bit of peace and quiet.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.