Updated: Oct 1, 2022
The Verdon Gorges is the largest canyon in Europe and offer breathtaking scenery. It is also the ideal place for family bathing or water sports. Its total length is 175 km. But the most sensational thing is the height of the cliffs, which vary from 250 to 700 metres!
Although you can discover the gorges by canoeing up the river, I personally believe that the Blanc Martel Trail is THE best way to experience this beautiful place. You'll be amazed from the beginning to the end!
The Blanc Martel Trail isn't very difficult for those used to hiking, but you do have to be careful and not be afraid to walk for a long time as it's a good 15km hike. If anything, the most delicate passage remains the Imbert ladders (6 ladders, 252 steps), which are a little difficult to descend for hikers subject to vertigo. That being said, I'm afraid of heights and I was expecting to find this passage challenging but in the end, it was easy and you can hold on to the bannisters whilst going down.
I recommend doing the hike in May, June, or September as the weather is nice, you can still go for a swim but without the crowds and intense heat. I also suggest, as for all hikes, to start early. We headed off at 7 am and completed the hike in 4 hours. Bear in mind that I'm an experienced hiker, most guides announce between 6 and 7 hours to complete the trail.
You will find below a little description of the hike to give you an idea of what to expect. Enjoy!
What to expect
From La Maline (where you will park your car), the path twists and turns to reach the water at the Estellié ford. The trail is very straightforward and well signposted.
When you arrive at a crossroad that indicates "Mescla" or "Point Sublime", I recommend making a diversion to the magnificent site of the Mescla. You will certainly see, if you look up, people on the Belvedere of the Mescla, 200 metres above you.
You can then retrace your steps and head for the Point Sublime. Shortly after, you will reach the Brèche Imbert (after a short but intense climb) and its 6 ladders, with a total of 252 steps of metal stairs to descend the steep 100 metres. The view down is exceptional and one of the highlights of this hike.
As you continue, you will eventually reach the first out of three tunnels. I definitely recommend bringing a torch or using your phone to guide yourself through as it's pitch black and pretty long (between 100 and 250m). I also would bring a little vest in case you're sensitive to the cold.