Gorges de Régalon a 3-hour hike in the Luberon
Hiking in the Luberon
A sprinkling of rain the night before had almost foiled our perfect “meet-in-the-middle” plan. Agathe the creative face behind the beautiful blog “Live Love Provence” (here, is her profile) suggested that the Gorges de Régalon hike was located at about the halfway point for each of us. The day dawned bright and cloudless promising a beautiful day for walking, and a chance to revisit this trail that I had hiked several years back.
Les Gorges de Régalon is located between Cavaillon and Mérindol, in the Luberon. The circuit is only 9km and offers a bit of everything in a three (3) hour hike. The walk starts at the easily accessible parking, where it is free to park, and you may even find a spot in the shade. The first stretch is a walk along a creek bed past a small grove of olive trees. Immediately after the olives, the trail heads straight into the gorge. The direction of the path is evident as the steep canyon walls close-in quickly. There is only one way forward leaving no choice but to scramble over the rocks to follow the narrow corridor. This hike is not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia and absolutely not advisable on a wet day.
Gorgeous Gorges de Régalon
After about 40 minutes, and plenty of scrambling you emerge from the clenches of the cool rocks into sweeping views and a wider path. The trail follows a fire road heading gradually upwards to the ridgetop. There is one sign-post with directional indications and a few rock piles to point you in the right direction. The trail is straightforward, and the vistas at the top are fantastic. Enjoy views of the Luberon massif’s limestone cliffs, soft green umbrella pines, garrigue (scrub brush) and the remarkable aroma of herbes de Provence growing wild.
The highest point of the hike is halfway through the walk, it’s a perfect spot for a break. Stop for a few minutes, to reflect on the fact that the topography was established 6 million years ago when the Alps formed. The sand underfoot in the canyon remains proof that the Mediterranean waters used to lap the rocks in this area, some 2 million years ago.
After the cool, damp walls of the gorge, the ridge was baking in the sun. We managed to find some shade and stopped for lunch at the abandoned farm. La Ferme des Mayorques was once a temporary shelter for shepherds and their herds of sheep and goats. After lunch, we tackled the second half of the circuit which includes a steep, narrow, rocky section. The final part of the loop is on a paved road, but don’t worry the only cars you might see are those of the residents.
Know Before Hiking the Gorge
Sturdy hiking shoes are a MUST for this hike.
Allow 3-3.5 hours for the circuit.
If you are challenged with steep downhill grades, hiking poles are a good idea.
There are signs, rock piles and paint flashes to indicate the way.
DO NOT tempt this hike if there is any threat of wet weather.
In some sections of the Gorges de Régalon, you need to use a lot of upper body strength. If you suffer from shoulder issues, this hike is not recommended.
Want to join a fun hiking group? Check out the International Hiking Group of Provence.
Find details for this walk in Walking in Provence West Guidebook.
Originally posted on Ginger and Nutmeg.