A beautiful three-day hike, sleeping in a bivouac, with interesting variations in altitude.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Stage 1: Le Falgoux / Col de Légal
Walk down to the Mars river, continue past the campsite, and then begin the first major ascent through Falgoux woods, following the red and white waymarks of the GR footpath (Grande Randonnée – Long Hike) where you may see chamois. Just after passing along the edge of a clearing, the path turns sharply to the right and then comes out onto the D680 (1) just before the Roc du Merle. Cross the road, and then carry on through the Bois de l’Impramau.
You will come to a fence marking the entrance to the Impramau, a vast summer pasture. At this point (2) you will need to leave the GR400 (which heads off along the fence to the right towards Puy Violent) and instead go straight on through the summer pastures towards the old stone ruins of the Impramau buron (cheese shed) (3) (signpost) and then on to Roc des Ombres which you will need to go around to the left (4) (don’t take the Brèche d’Enfloquet on the right). There are marmot burrows below the Roc des Ombres (please don’t disturb them too much).
Soon after, you will reach the GR400 (5) winding up from Le Fau: follow it along the ridge towards Roc d'Hozières and then on to Roche Taillade (both of which you walk around to the right). Another steeper path takes you up between them. Throughout this area you may catch sight of, or even surprise, chamois.
Keep following the ridge towards the Col de Redondet, to the right of the Chapeloune.
When you reach the Col de Redondet, take the path on the right towards Puy Chavaroche (7), which you can climb up or walk around to the right, then carry along the line of the ridge towards Col de Légal.
N.B. At Piquet (8), it is possible to go back down into the valley towards Mandailles, on the left (in the case of bad weather, for example).
Otherwise, carry on along the ridge and after Cassaïre and Cabrespine (which are slightly technical sections, especially with a backpack), you will reach a mountain refuge (no guardian) (9) where you can stay the night (it is a little gloomy as it is poorly maintained) or you can camp in the surrounding area (although there may be a herd of cows in the vicinity). Otherwise carry along the path towards Col de Légal. When you reach a fence (10), take the fork to the left to follow the GR path (you can camp in the summer pastures) or continue on up to the Col de Légal and its hut (which means returning back to the fork the next day, but that’s nothing too difficult).
Stage 2: Col de Légal / Col de Cabre
The descent into Mandailles valley begins in the woods (very humid) and then among the ferns. Just before you reach the hairpin bend at the water reservoir, there is a spring (the water is apparently drinkable and we didn’t get sick).
After the ferns, there is more woodland once again, and the path crosses several streams. Go around Rocher de Combières on the wide path to the right and then you will reach a road (11). Turn left and immediately leave the road again to take a new track on your left, which is relatively wide and which becomes tarred a little further on. After crossing the village of Laveissière, follow the road to St Julien de Jordanne (12) (a beach area has been created on the banks of the Jordanne where you can swim).
Stay on the right bank of the Jordanne, taking the road that leads up to the left just before the bridge. (13) Leave this road and take the path on the right before the road climbs up to the village of Boudie. You will then have a gentle walk to Mandailles (you can enjoy a meal at the restaurant “Au Bout de Monde” - snacks, sandwiches, etc.). Cross the bridge over the Jordanne, and take the first road on the left after the town hall, and then opposite a buron on your left (14), take the small path to the right that begins the climb up the other side of the valley, still following the GR400. After a water reservoir tank (a small building on the left), you will reach a crossing (15). Take the path on the right (GR400) - even if the well-shaded (and therefore tempting) path that carries straight on goes up to Puy Griou. The steep, narrow path takes you up through the forest. After a short descent you will come to a wider path. Turn right. You will then reach some summer pastures (cows), and then the D317 (16) (the road up to the Col du Perthus). There is an information panel here and some benches for you to take a break. Walk left down the road and after a few dozen metres, take the hairpin track to the left. Further on (17), the GR400 bears off to the right, but you will need to carry straight on. Approximately 1.5 km further, take the path that climbs up to the right. You will reach a crossing, where the GR400 joins up again: take the path on the left to the Col du Gliziou (18). From here, you have two options: you can either follow the GR400 straight on or follow the route that takes you via Puy de l’Usclade on your left. The two paths join up again on another hilltop in the forest (19). Take the direction of Puy Griou (GR400 waymarks). You will come out of the forest at the foot of the scree of the Puy Griou. It takes about ten minutes to do the steep climb between the Griou and the Griounou where you will reach the starting point for the climb up the Puy Griou (20) (the climb can be done quite easily if you leave your backpack at the foot of the north face).
Now head northeast following the track towards Col de Rombière (21) and then Col de Cabre (22), which marks the end of the 2nd stage.
You can set up camp here in a lovely environment, far from the rest of the world, with beautiful sunsets and sunrises if the weather is good (chamois can sometimes be seen on the rocks of the north face of the Puy Bataillouse).
Stage 3: Col de Cabre / Le Falgoux via Puy Mary
Take the balcony path that takes you around the Peyre Arse from the south (there are sometimes chamois here, especially early in the morning). You will then get back to the ridge.
You will reach the “famous” Brèche de Rolland (23) (the one in the Cantal) which it is easier to take in this direction.
(24) Continuing northwest, you begin the steep climb up the Puy Mary (25), from where you will have stunning views. Then carry on down along the tourist path (a busy concrete path) until you reach the Pas de Peyrol (26) (you can take a break here at the inn where you can enjoy a pachade (local pancake) or blueberry pie.
If you would like to avoid the steep climb and the “concrete” descent as well as all the tourists, you can go around the Puy Mary on a quiet footpath that bears off to the right at point (24) and then joins the road, which you then walk up to the left to reach the Pas de Peyrol.
After this well-deserved break, walk around the inn on the left and then follow around the side of the Puy de la Tourte following the waymarks of the GR400.
You then reach the Suc de la Blatte (27) and a little further on, a crossing (28). A path leads off into the valley on the right towards “Le Claux” but you will need to take the path that goes straight on over the small plateau at foot of the Suc Gros.
The path climbs up at “Le Pas Rouge” (29), which well deserves its name and can be spotted from far away. From here, there is a magnificent panorama behind you, and you can see a large part of your route. Go down this little hill and cross Luchard plateau on the path to the right around Rocher de l’Aygue, following the GR400 waymarks on the small wooden poles in the summer pastures. You will pass close by two burons (30).
You will then begin the descent into the valley along a wide track, which you will need to leave after a few of bends (31) to take a small path (GR400 waymarks). After the ruins of the buron of Devèze, the path descends steeply (hard on the knees) then joins a wider and gentler path (32) to reach the village of “Le Coin.” Then, after crossing over a stream on a little bridge, you will get to “Le Cher Soubro” (33). From here, take the RD12 to the right towards Le Falgoux.
You have completed the circuit, but we highly recommend you finish with a good meal at the Hotel des Voyageurs where you can enjoy local specialties and the superb hospitality of Bernard Mourguy and his wife, who is an excellent cook.
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0
1 : km 4.15 - alt. km 4.15
2 : km 4.63 - alt. km 4.63
3 : km 5.12 - alt. km 5.12
4 : km 6.1 - alt. km 6.1
5 : km 7.4 - alt. km 7.4
6 : km 9.8 - alt. km 9.8
7 : km 10.83 - alt. km 10.83
8 : km 12.12 - alt. km 12.12
9 : km 14.97 - alt. km 14.97
10 : km 16.78 - alt. km 16.78
11 : km 21.46 - alt. km 21.46
12 : km 23.9 - alt. km 23.9
13 : km 24.49 - alt. km 24.49
14 : km 26 - alt. km 26
15 : km 27.19 - alt. km 27.19
16 : km 28.52 - alt. km 28.52
17 : km 29.04 - alt. km 29.04
18 : km 31.31 - alt. km 31.31
19 : km 32.32 - alt. km 32.32
20 : km 33.85 - alt. km 33.85
21 : km 35.57 - alt. km 35.57
22 : km 36.41 - alt. km 36.41 - Col de Cabre (Cantal)
23 : km 39.18 - alt. km 39.18
24 : km 39.79 - alt. km 39.79
25 : km 40.28 - alt. km 40.28
26 : km 40.95 - alt. km 40.95
27 : km 43.53 - alt. km 43.53
28 : km 44.91 - alt. km 44.91
29 : km 45.97 - alt. km 45.97
30 : km 48.3 - alt. km 48.3
31 : km 49.05 - alt. km 49.05
32 : km 50.38 - alt. km 50.38
33 : km 51.13 - alt. km 51.13
D/A : km 51.8 - alt. km 51.8
N.B.: It isn’t easy to get drinking water along the route, so you will need to fill up at the village fountains (if drinkable) or ask local residents.
I did this walk three times, with small variations, but always enjoyed it just as much!
We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 2435OT.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Number of opinions : 34
Description quality : 3.68/4
Routemap quality : 3.76/4
Walk interest : 3.91/4
Global average : 3.78/4
Date of walk : 22/07/17
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good
We did this hike with our dog, Wally. Very nice hike! The first camp was 500m (after number 10) further on the track. The second day we made camp on col the cabre, nice environment. At night there started a storm and the weather didn't change anymore till noon the next day. So the last day had some more action and adventure, technical parts in the rain with a dog and we probably missed some views. Thanks for the description!
Its height of 1855 metres make Plomb du Cantal the second highest peak in the Massif Central after the Puy de Sancy.
Starting from the Col de Prat de Bouc, this hike initially leads to the summit ascent and descent on the northern slope, followed by a climb up the slopes of the Puy du Rocher before returning to Prat de Bouc.
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