At the heart of the Languedocian hinterland, Lake Salagou is a perfect place for a hike and all sorts of sports activities in the fresh air.
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.
Meet at the departure point located at the Lake Salagou recreation centre. To get there easily by car, go through Clermont-L'Hérault and follow the signs for 'Lac du Salagou'. Park your car in the recreational centre's car park.
(D/A) Cross the car park and take the PR (Yellow waymarking) south of the lake which quickly heads in a westerly direction.
(1) Here, you will start to follow along the hills which overlook the lake (Mont Mars, the Grande Montagne and Montagne de Liausson), as well as the village of Liausson which you can see in the distance.
(2) When you reach a car park, after having gone past the small Rouens peninsula, leave the lakeside to the left, and then head to the right towards the Détroits Pass, going along the D148.
(3) At a 90° bend in the road, take the path straight ahead, go over the ford on the extreme western edge of the lake and head to the right (north).
(4) Around 400m further on, you will see lots of runoffs which flow down into Lake Salagou. The paths and even the roads are often submerged, at least in the winter. Continue on this path, staying as close to the lake as possible until you reach Celles, which is an abandoned hamlet (expropriation in the 1960s during the flooding of the Salagou dam. Source: Wikipedia) - nice to visit.
(5) On arriving in Celles, go around Mont Cébérou, either via the north (to the left), or via the south along the lakeside. The route I took, and the one shown on the map, is the one to the north. It stays more or less parallel to the D148 by making a wide curve to the right in order to reach a campsite and a hamlet with gîtes.
(6) At this point, you have completed about a half of the route. Take the left to continue on your route between the Auverne Plateau and Lake Salagou. You are on the horse riding route which is also the PR. You need to climb a bit here. The view is breathtaking! From this location on the hills, you can see the Salagou dam. It is quite impressive from this height.
Go past the paths on the right which go downhill towards the lake and follow the PR instead up to the fork in the path which goes straight downhill to the dam.
(7) Continue on to the left, going down the valley and turn right at an acute angle.
(8) Pass through the hamlet of Mas Audran (the stream bed at the bottom of the dam) at a good pace and then climb up to the dam. Once you've arrived at the dam, all you need to do then is to follow the road to the right in the direction of the recreational centre.
(9) When coming out of the wide bend to the left, leave the road and take the path which takes you back to the car park ((D/A)).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 469ft
1 : mi 1.41 - alt. 466ft - Lac du Salagou
2 : mi 2.67 - alt. 453ft - Leave the lakeside
3 : mi 3.67 - alt. 459ft - D148, bend, continue opposite
4 : mi 4.63 - alt. 456ft - Runoffs, risk of immersion in winter
5 : mi 6.83 - alt. 459ft - Celles
6 : mi 9.87 - alt. 591ft - Les Vailhés, take the left
7 : mi 12.8 - alt. 702ft - Fork, take the left.
8 : mi 14.04 - alt. 423ft - Mas Audran
9 : mi 16.42 - alt. 558ft - Leave the road and the take the path on the right.
D/A : mi 16.79 - alt. 469ft
For this hike, you need to: have a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes; take a bag with an extra pair of socks; at least two litres of water per person (I took three); a hat because you are very exposed (there isn't much shade); a poncho just in case; your mobile phone; a map; a compass; a first aid kit; and carbohydrate-rich food because you will need plenty of energy (around 8 hours of walking).
If you lose your way, don't worry, continue on with your hike by ensuring that the lake is always on your right. On this circuit, the central element is the lake, which acts as a natural reference point.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Lake Salagou is surrounded by small mountains and plateaus with heights of between 300 metres and 535 metres in altitude. It is 50 metres deep and has a surface area of 700 hectares. Its water reservoir has a volume of 102 million of m3 and the water level is 139 above sea level.
The different mountains around the Lake, the recreational centre, the Salagou dam, small villages, the campsite, Notre-Dame des Clans, etc.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.