Join us on this fascinating hiking tour through France's Massif Central! The Chaîne des Puys an alignment of 80 relatively young volcanoes, makes for a wonderful scenery. Discover its breathtaking cones, domes, maars and crater lakes as you explore the Massif du Sancy and Mount Dore, the highest elevations in the Massif Central, the _Cézallier Plateau with its ancient basaltic flows, and Europe's largest volcanic ensemble around the Mount Cantal. The region's diverse wildlife, particular architectural styles, ragged landscapes and rough climate make for a truly unique and memorable hiking experience!
Day 1: Clermont-Ferrand – Le Cheix – Orcines
This hiking tour starts at Clermont-Ferrand train station. Following a short bus ride to Royat, embark on your first hike through the forest of Villars and towards Le Cheix.
Dinner and accommodation at the foot of the Puy de Dôme in Orcines.
Duration: 2hrs – elevation gain: 370m/1,200ft
Day 2: Puy de Pariou – Puy de Dôme – Col de Ceyssat
Today's hike starts with an ascent towards the Puy de Pariou and the Puy de Dôme, the symbolic summit of the Chaîne des Puys offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the volcanic mountains. Visit the ruins of the ancient Hermean temple and an exhibition dedicated to the region's volcanoes before making your way down to the village of Laschamps.
Dinner and accommodation in a mountain cottage.
Duration: 6hrs – elevation gain: 650m/2,130ft – elevation loss: 500m/1640ft
Day 3: Chaîne des Puys
Across the Chaîne des Puys, head towards the Chateau de Montlosier and its volcanic nature reserve, passing the twin volcanoes Vache and Lassolas, and the Puy de l’Enfer, and finally arriving at the beautiful crater lake Lac Servières.
Dinner and accommodation in a cottage near the lake.
Duration: 6hrs – elevation gain: 400m/1,310ft – elevation loss: 300m/980ft
Day 4: Puy de L'Ouire – Puy de l'Aiguiller – Guery mountain pass and lake
Today's itinerary will take you up to the Puy de l’Ouire, the Puy de l’Aiguiller and finally to the mountain pass and lake of Guéry. Explore this unique region between mountain lakes, the summits of Sancy and the volcanic cliffs Tuilière and Sanadoire. Crossing the Plateau de Guéry, enjoy an amazing view of the Massif du Sancy and the glacial valley of Mount Dore.
Dinner and accommodation in a mountain cottage at the foot of Mount Dore.
Duration: 6hrs – elevation gain: 500m/1640ft – elevation loss: 600m/1,970ft
Day 5: Col de la Croix Saint-Robert – Roc de Cuzeau – Vallée de Chaudefour
Crossing the Grande Cascade, make your way up to the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert and the Roc de Cuzeau. Having crossed the Durbise Plateau, follow the trail down to the Chaudefour Valley, an impressive and protected glacial valley.
Dinner and accommodation in Courbanges.
Duration: 6hrs – elevation gain: 800m/2,620ft – elevation loss: 500m/1640ft
Day 6: Plaine des Moutons – Puy de Sancy – Vallée de la Fontaine Salée
The first stage of today's hike will take you across the Plaine des Moutons and across the Puy de Serveix, followed by an ascent to the Col de Couhay and the Puy de Sancy summit before heading down towards the Vallée de la Fontaine Salée, a vast, grass-covered valley.
Dinner and accommodation in a mountain cottage.
Duration: 6hrs – elevation gain: 500m/1640ft – elevation loss: 500m/1640ft
Day 7: Lac Pavin – Puy de Pertuyzat – Besse
Having conquered some of the Massif Central's tallest summits, your last hike will take you around the foot of the mountain chain, past the Pavin crater lake and the Puy de Pertuyzat, and towards Besse-en-Chandesse. Take some time to explore the medieval village before taking the bus back to Clermont-Ferrand where your hiking trip ends.
Duration: 5hrs – elevation gain: 200m/660ft – elevation loss: 350m/1,150ft
Indicated pricing per person in dormitory
No private or double room possible on this itinerary
Our trip starts at Clermont-Ferrand train station and ends in Besse.
Please feel free to arrange your trip to Clermont-Ferrand and from Besse by the means of transportation of your choice and extend your trip according to your preferences.
For parties of 6 or more, we're happy to arrange for additional travel dates and/or guided tours in English.
Please fill out our enquiry form indicating the number of your party and your preferred travel dates.
6 nights with full board, French licensed guide, luggage transfer, visitor's tax.
Train or airfares to/from destination, beverages, admission fees, travel cancellation insurance.
We accept bookings from groups as well as individual travellers!
Guaranteed departure: 6 participants (max. 15 persons)
Not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
The tour operator reserves the right to cancel this trip up until 21 days prior to departure.
Comfortable mountain huts with small (4-10 person) dormitories or small hotels with 2-6 bed rooms.
Breakfast and dinner at the accommodations or restaurants; lunch picnics during the hike.
For experienced hikers!
Average daily hikes: 5-6 hours (15-20km/9-13mi) on hiking trails with elevation differences ranging between 500 and 700m (1,640-2,300ft). The terrain will become more mountainous as you advance from the Chaîne des Puys towards the Massif de Sancy.
Walking with French people, an authentic experience
We recommend a low-carbon train ride to Clermont-Ferrand via Paris or Lyon.
Closest airport: Clermont-Ferrand.
If you're travelling by plane, please consider offsetting your carbon emissions, for example through the atmosfair programme.
For detailed travel information, please request our info sheet by filling out the enquiry form below.