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Saint-Jean Rock

Hikes & walks in Gluiras

Saint-Jean Rock - Hikes & walks in Gluiras
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This walk offers you the opportunity to discover a remarkable site located 500 m from the town of Gluiras, in the heart of the Ardèche, in the Monts d'Ardèche Nature Park, 50 km from Valence. About 3 hours long (there and back), this magnificent walk leads to the summit of Saint-Jean Rock, a volcanic neck comprising basalt columns, black pentahedral rocks. This volcanic neck is all that remains, after erosion, of an active volcano dating from 8 million years ago! Saint-Jean Rock is also the site of the ruins of a medieval castle. From this volcanic cone, it is possible to enjoy a 360 degree view over the following sites: the Rhone Valley, Mont Ventoux, Mont Gerbier de Jonc, and, even closer, the wild Glueyre valley and the village of Gluiras.

Description sheet

DepartmentArdèche
Departure municipalityGluiras
Outing typeHike
DifficultyEasy
Duration3h00
Recommended periodfrom january to december
EnvironmentCountryside
Kilometres3.7 mi
Altitude upon departure700m
Change in altitude100m

Access

This walk is a loop from the town of Gluiras which enables access to Saint-Jean Rock and visit the hamlets of Pral, Chapelèche... Firstly, walk towards Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut for about 800 metres (D230). The start of the walk is situated at the crossroads indicating the hamlet of Marette on the left.

Itinerary

At the crossroads indicating left to the hamlet of La Marette, take a path on the right that follows the D230 road. Make sure that you close gates and respect property which is often private. This path will lead you to the foot of Saint-Jean Rock. You just have to follow the goat trail which leads through the box wood... One small tip: this path is to the north of the Rock. Make your way southwards through the boxwood. Cross a pile of black basalt rocks.

From the summit of the Rock, you will be able to discover a superb 360 degree panoramic viewpoint with, among other things: to the west, the Mont Blanc Massif, the Vercors Massif ("Les 3 Becs, Drôme Mountains, etc.), the Rhone Valley; to the south-west: Mont Ventoux, the four cooling towers of Cruas nuclear power station; to the south, the Glueyre valley (where it is possible to swim), the town of Privas (prefecture of Ardèche), situated between the ridge above this valley and the wind farms which can be seen on a ridge in the distance; to the east, the Ardèche plateau at an altitude of more than 1,000 m with the Escrinet Pass (Aubenas is behind), Mont Gerbier de Jonc (source of the Loire); to the north, the village of Gluiras...

Then, make your way down to the remarkable site of the ruined house of Saint-Jean.

From the Saint-Jean ruins, a path follows the bottom of the western slope and leads back to the path you followed on the way out.

When you have returned to the crossroads between the D230 and the D264, follow the road towards Saint-Pierreville for about 2 km (D264).

On your right you will find a tarmac path leading to "Le Pral" and "Chapelèche", a dead-end for motorised vehicles.

Below the terrace of the Chapelèche gite, follow the path eastwards. It passes through the chestnut forests, crosses a first stream over a stone bridge, then a second stream.

You then have to cross a few gates which you must remember to close so that the sheep do not escape. Watch out for the two large Pyrenean mountain dogs which live with the flocks. They will bark a lot, but do not be afraid and do not move until they come and smell you (that's how they say hello in Ardèche!).

When you start to see the buildings of the "Les Clos" farm (various buildings for pigs), it is time to climb up into the chestnut grove and make your way to the tarmac road which leads to the farm.

There, join the D 230 road, indicated on the map, which will lead you back to where you started: the town of Gluiras. There, you will be able to enjoy some delicious traditionally made ice-creams from a local factory, including the delicious organic chestnut ice-cream from Ardèche! You will also be able to enjoy some refreshments at the café-grocery shop.

Enjoy your walk!

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