Hiking in the gorges of Régalon
- Hiking in the gorges of Régalon
The gorges of Régalon are a small jewel. Unlike most of the gorges they are very narrow, the width in places is barely 1m! To cross them, you have to climb and climb many rocks, which will please the younger ones. The walk is at the same time playful, unusual and pleasant. The place is very pleasant in spring or summer, because in the gorge, the path is kept cool by the large vertical walls that surround it.
1Discovering the gorges of Régalon
The gorges are located near Mérindol, near the D973 in the Vaucluse (Lubéron). The access is well indicated and on the spot, several free car parks allow parking. Picnic tables have been set up and the setting is quite pleasant.
We cross a small forest that leads to an olive grove, then the entrance of the gorge appears. This section is not very well marked, but the different paths starting from the car park meet at the entrance of the gorge. At this point, a panel indicates the different possibilities of circuit. The most playful part is the crossing of the gorges, the one we will do.
The path gradually sinks between the vertical walls, which tighten as the air gets cooler. We pass under an arch and then we discover dark cavities. Soon enough the first obstacles appear. In some places, large blocks of stone have been removed from the wall and are found not far from the trail. Some have even got stuck between the two walls, and are hanging above our heads!
Soon the gorge is only a metre wide and we have to sneak in to move forward. It's funny enough, remembering the slots canyons we discovered in the United States. Quite regularly, obstacles get in the way, so we have to climb up to climb the rocks that block our way. We cross several families where the children have fun climbing rocks. In some places the passages are a little technical, but quite passable. So we set the difficulty at 3/5, but nothing really insurmountable.
Be careful though, because some rocks are quite slippery, so it is necessary to have good shoes.
Then we leave the narrow part of the forest to reach a more luxuriant area where the forest takes over. A little further on, the gorge widens and two caves appear on the sides. They're facing each other. The path makes a small loop to access the two cavities. This is where we turned back, because from this point the path goes out of the gorges.
On the timing side, we took about 45 minutes from the car park to the 2 caves. It is also possible to continue by making a loop, either by the farm of the Mayorques, or by the arboretum of the Font de l' Orme. Allow 3 and 6 hours for these 2 loops. The return trip in the gorges will require a little less than 1h30 from the car park to the caves.
- ccess to the gorges is extremely dangerous in summer when it rains. The narrow gorges suddenly fill up with water. There may also be water on the trail after a rainy period. So watch the weather carefully before you get involved.
- You should also know that the site has been closed several times due to rock falls, but each time the trail has been secured and re-opened. We went there on May 7, and it had just reopened a few weeks earlier. It is therefore not impossible that the site will be closed again.