Hiking the Breathtaking Ochre Trail in Roussillon

The Ochre Trail is located in Roussillon. It has completely different images than those scenes you would see in France elsewhere. The orange cliffs and the stunning orange colour of the trail are just remarkable. Inspired by its beauty, we made a stopover at this place when we spent our holiday in French Pyrenees.

The Hilltop Village Roussillon , Provence

Information about the Ochre

Ochre is a natural pigment that is in the sandy soil, which makes up the cliffs around Roussillon. These natural pigments have been the construction material since prehistoric times.

Then in 1780, Jean Etienne Astier from the village of Roussillon discovered the natural resource and became the first Ochre extractor in France. In the 19th century, the exploitation of mineral deposits became industrial.

The mineral landscape reflects the effects of erosion and mining work done by human beings. Because it is heat and sun resistant, the pigment is part of pebbledash for the outside walls of Provençal houses.

View near the Entrance of the Ochre Trail

Hike the Ochre Trail

At the beginning of the trail is a part of the paved walkway. After a few minutes of walk, I could walk on the wooden board walkways. There are a lot of steps to climb up and down. Once I was down the stairs, I saw the beautiful scenery on the surrounding cliffs. The bright orange scenes are the best for the photographers. And, I could see the cliffs and quarries from different angles.

The cliffs along the trail are surrounded by lovely woodlands. Part of the hiking trail goes into the woodlands. At the entrance, you can get a leaflet with a description of the hiking trails. The terrain is soft and sandy. The beautiful orange hue is seen everywhere.

There are two trails, the short one takes around 30 minutes, while the long one takes about one hour. In general, it takes less than the official time to complete a loop. All hiking trails are at the light and middle levels.

The boardwalk of the Ochre Trail, Roussillon
Hiking the Breathtaking Ochre Trail in Roussillon

Combine the Ochre Trail with other sightseeing

From Avignon, you can join a hilltop village tour to explore the pretty village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Gordes, the picturesque Provençal village of Roussillon, the Ochre Trail, the walled village of Ménerbes, a place made famous by one of my favorite travel books, A Year in Provence. Then you will travel back downhill and finish your tour with a glass of wine from the appellation Côte du Luberon.

The boardwalk of the Ochre Trail, Roussillon

The Ochre Mine and Mathieu ochre factory in Roussillon

Ochre Mine

The Ochre Mines of Bruoux is one of the most unusual attractions in Luberon’s ochre country, in Gargas, a disused underground quarry converted into an imposing cathedral of colour. Check more details on its website.

Mathieu ochre factory in Roussillon

The factory once produced the ochre pigment during the heydays of Luberon’s ochre boom. Today it’s much more than a heritage site. It’s an art academy, research centre, and industrial museum. Check more details on its website.

View of the Hilltop Village Roussillon , Provence

Travel Tips

Where to stay

Roussillon is the top destination in southern France. There is no lack of hotels in the area. One hotel I could recommend is Le Mas de Roussillon. The Ochre Trail is 3.5 km from the accommodation. If you would like to discover the area, cycling is possible nearby, and Le Mas de Roussillon can arrange a bicycle rental service. The hotel offers a continental breakfast, free WiFi, and free bikes. An outdoor pool is also on the hotel premises.

How to get there

Roussillon is approximately a one hour and twenty-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence and a one hour drive from Avignon. The Ochre Trail is at the opposite of the Roussillon village. You can visit the Ochre Trail and the Roussillon village in one day.

When you approach to Roussillon, look out for the Parking des Ocres. It’s right at the entrance to the Ochre Trail. And, before you start hiking, check out the view over the Roussillon village from the parking area.

13 Comments

  1. The Ochre Trail in Roussillon seems like a great activity for a day. The trail looks quite beautiful and different from the hiking trails that we have back home. I have a question though. By the look, it seems that the trail can get quite dusty. Is it so?

  2. That is so pretty! And no wonder it is called the Ochre Trail. Such a lovely color. I’d love to head there someday!!

  3. The colours are magnificent in the Ochre Trail. It must be a great hiking experience. For me the reward is the wonderful views at the end . It seems that you have a combined trip which means the trail is strategically located close to the other nice sights Avignon, Gordes, Roussillon and Lubéron?

    1. Yes, that is the case. You can make a day trip to the place. Or you can join some tours which include this place as well.

  4. This trail is definitely worth it. The view is beautiful. How I wish we can have the opportunity to visit someday. Will include this on our bucket list. Thank you for sharing.

  5. This is an awesome destination too for many who loves hiking and walking. The place got a unique beauty (look gold in the photo!). Are pets allowed to hike here as well?

  6. I had never heard of Roussillon before! We stayed in Marseille and then took a bus to Toulouse so we passed right by it. It looks like a really interesting place to go hiking though. Add on the wine tasting, and sounds like a great time to me.

  7. What a fantastically colourful place to visit. I have never heard of visiting an ochre mine before but the beauty of that red earth is definitely appealing. Looks like you need a fair bit of stamina for all the stairs though!

  8. What an an amazing colour!

    I love a good hike, but a hike with such pretty views aaaand then go wine tasting!? That sounds like a perfect day!

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