We decided to try bivouacking in France this summer on top of our usual hotels and Airbnb stays as we wanted to discover more the natural area of France.
During our first week travelling, we had to head to Lyon for work and decided to plan a week-end bivouacking nearby with Aline, a friend who lives in Lyon. After that, we then moved to planning our 2 days hike and we settled to an itinerary from I-Trekkings, a very exhaustive French blog (they have two versions of the hike, we decided to do the short-one).
The Pilat Natural Park
Located in the Loire department in the South of Lyon, the Pilat Regional Natural Park is part of the Massif Central. It is one of the lesser known but still gorgeous Natural Park of France. It offers very green and low mountainous landscapes and is definitely a perfect place for summer mountain sport such as hiking, mountain bike or paragliding. The Pilat Natural Park also has a small airport, used notably by gliders that you can see gliding around in the sky on sunny days!
Bivouacking in the park is allowed, but it is absolutely not required: most people hike here only for a single day or even a couple of hours. If you want to visit the region, it is also possible to stay in small inns or b&bs. There are also a few restaurants and shops to buy delicious local products all around the park!
Did you know? Massif Central is the largest mountainous area of France. It covers roughly 15% of mainland France. It’s highest peak, Puy de Sancy, is only 1886m high.
Our itinerary in the Pilat Natural Park
- 🏕 We set our tent near Crêt de l’Arnica, just before the inn “La Jasserie”
- 💧 The main water points are La Jasserie, Doizieux and the hotel from the departure point. You also have some rivers nearby visible on the map, but we did not attempt to move away from the main hike.
- 🗺 The walk is around 19km long, around 9.5km per day. It is possible to do it in one day if you are in good shape
- 🥾 The difficulty of the walk is medium. We are not experienced hikers but we were able to finish it relatively easily. The beginning is very steep and exhausting but passed the first hour, the difficulty decrease significantly. On the second day, the end of the hike is once again a bit steep for about one hour.
- 🧀 You can eat at the beginning of the hike in the “Restaurant du Collet” or in “La Jasserie“. They are also pretty good stop for some coffee, local juices or re-filling your bottles.
Park Regional du Pilat hike in photography
What to bring for a 2 days hike
- A tent for 2 people. It needs to be a trekking tent: any tent where you cant stand up is forbidden in the park
- A sleeping bag comfortable between 5-15 degrees. The temperature get low in winter
- A stove is tolerated, it is not allowed to light fire in the park.
- A torchlight
- 1L of water per person at least. It is possible to re-supply during the walk.
- A phone with a good GPS, we personally used the Alltrails application.
Do you know other itineraries in the Pilat Regional Natural Park? We would love to try them so do not hesitate to leave your suggestion in the comment! We would also love to know if you tried the hike, what did you think about it? If you stay in Lyon, do not hesitate to read our article about spending a week-end in Lyon for recommendation about the city!
Special thanks to i-trekking.net for their article about hiking in the Pilat Natural Park (in French) and providing the itinerary that we followed.