Hiking in the Païolive wood in Ardèche
Just 7 km from the camping Ardeche Mazet Plage, the bois de Païolive is a natural site not to be missed in the Ardèche that offers beautiful, pleasant and very accessible family hikes. Among the marked trails that cross the site, the Corniche circuit is one of the most spectacular.
A hike between the forest and the Chassezac gorges
The Corniche trail is one of three trails in the Païolive woods, marked in yellow. It is a family trail. To get to the start of the circuit, take the D252 and turn at the sign for Bois de Païolive. A stop at the first car park will allow you to admire the unavoidable site of the “fight of the bear and the lion”: a triple rocky arch, of spectacular dimensions, which is emblematic of the Bois de Païolive. To see it, all you have to do is walk 100 metres from the first car park. We advise you to take your car and park at the third car park to reach the sign for the start of the hikes in the forest. The hike forms a loop, which you should follow in an anti-clockwise direction. Only a small part of the hike, at the beginning and end, is common to both the outward and return trips. At the start of the loop, after the common section, the markings indicate that you should take the GR4, located on your right, which takes you to the Corniche path. At the top of the cliffs, it is necessary to move with care, especially if you are accompanied by children. The landscapes crossed will seduce you by their charm: deep ravines, deep woods, paths, arches, caves and canyon scenery follow one another.
The hike is best done in the middle of the day, to take advantage of the sunshine at the bottom of the Chassezac gorges. With a distance of 4 km and a difference in altitude of only 50 metres, it is a hike accessible to all levels. Signs mark the circuit at each intersection. Allow 1h30 to 2h00 to do the circuit at your own pace and enjoy the precious environment. The only difficulty lies in the patinated slabs on the ledge, which can be slippery: bring suitable shoes.
The other paths of the Païolive wood
Two other paths can be followed to hike in the Païolive woods. They are marked in blue and green respectively, and are also short in distance, so that it is possible to do all three routes in the same day. The blue one is the sunniest of the three. Its remarkable point is the passage by the cornice of the Hermitage. The green one is very shady and is ideal in the afternoon. It also passes through magical scenery and is punctuated by numerous curiosities: arches, rocks, tunnels and labyrinths.
Photo credit : Raymond SÉNÈQUE / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)