As we are not tourist guides, we don’t know all the hikes in the area, but here are Mélanie’s top 5:
Walking & Hiking
Les Basses Gorges (Lower Gorges) hiking trail
This hike starts in Quinson and continues through the Lower Gorge. It is generally referred to as the Randonnée (hike) de la Chapelle de Sainte Maxime since the path leads up to this chapel. Most of the walk runs parallel to the former ‘Canal de Provence’, past the old ‘maison du gardien’ (canal guard’s house) and into the wild Esparron de Verdon Gorge. The trail is part of the GR99 ‘Grande Randonnée’ hiking path. It is 8km long and takes roughly 3 hours.
Cascade de St Morin (St Maurin Waterfall)
A 45-minute drive from the campsite, this hike takes roughly 4 hours from start to finish, although you may shorten it if you wish. The path takes you up into the forest and then emerges out onto the cliffside, offering an amazing view of the Verdon Gorge. The path leads back into the woods to a magnificent stream that has spread out over the hillside to form little waterfalls. A wooden walkway takes you over these waterfalls to arrive at the top of La Cascade de St Maurin with its wonderful panoramic view of the Gorge. Come back on yourself a small distance to the little waterfalls and take the path that ascends to the ridge (warning, it is a 400m climb) where you can see over the lake, le Lac de Sainte Croix, at the entrance to the Gorge. Come back through the forest with viewing points dotted along the way.
Le sentier de l’Imbut and Le Sentier Martel
These two paths are emblematic of the Gorges du Verdon. Two marvels that run alongside the Verdon in the heart of the Gorge to give your legs a good workout. Le Sentier Martel (which takes 6 or 7 hours) is the better known of the two. You will need to organise your return trip as the walk is not circular. You can either take the bus one way (I would advise you take it on the way, then you can walk at the pace you want) or reserve a taxi. L’Imbut hiking path takes 5 hours. It is a harder, and even more off the beaten track, but covers a shorter distance. Warning: This hike is not advised if you suffer from vertigo. It is ill-advised to take dogs because of drops and ladders that you need to climb if choosing to return via le Sentier Vidal path.
GR4 by St Julien Beach
This is an easy walk for all the family, and it is really beautiful. There are viewing points over the lake as you go and paths that lead down to quiet creeks. Roughly 3 hours and truly superb.
Nature trail of Esparron-de-Verdon
This is the shortest walk of my top 5. The path is dotted with information panels about local trees and shrubs and has an orientation table. There are also many viewing points enabling you to see the lake from different aspects. Be warned that it is a quite a climb, but well worth the effort. 2-hour circular walk (add on an extra hour if starting out from the campsite).