The Stevenson Trail

The Stevenson Trail Trek

  • Follow Robert Louis Stevenson's 1878 route across the Cevennes National Park

  • Explore UNESCO world heritage site, Le Puy en Velay

  • Get away from it all with two weeks off the beaten track, deep in rural France

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

  • Outstanding fully-qualified guides

  • Stay in authentic, local auberges and experience real hospitality and regional food

  • Enjoy one of the most unspoilt and little known multi day treks 

The Stevenson Trail Trek: Overview

Robert Louis Stevenson is the celebrated Scottish novelist and poet, who was born in Edinburgh in 1850. Most famous for writing 'Treasure Island' and 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', Stevenson was also a keen travel writer. He penned 'Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes' to celebrate the epic 156 mile (251km) journey he made on foot in 1878 from Monastier sur Gazeille to St Jean du Gard. Still in his 20s when he made the journey, the heartbroken Stevenson took the trip to help him get over an unsuitable love affair with a married, American lady. 

 

This trek follows his footsteps, staying in charming auberges and enjoying regional cuisine and local wines. Each day, our luggage will be transported to our next accommodation, making our version of this trip a considerably easier-going one. We'll explore the local trails and enjoy some spectacular views of the Cevennes mountains and National Park. Indulging in nothing more complicated than walking, nature, good food and a relaxed atmosphere make this little known, historic route a truly unforgettable journey.

What to expect

The terrain on the Stevenson's Trail is relatively flat, with some short, steep climbs but some of the days are long and we cover over 20km. We trek between 4 and 8 hours per day. Mostly, the paths are well established tracks and old mule trails that are easy underfoot. However, there are some sections of the route that are more technical or narrow, and may be loose underfoot. This trip is open to everyone who has a good base level of fitness, hill walking experience and the endurance to sustain 2 weeks of back to back days trekking. 

AT A GLANCE

 

12 nights

11 days' trekking

 

Luggage delivery

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £1465

 

Join: St Jean du Gard

 

Nearest Airport: Lyon

ACCOMMODATION

5 nights in hotels

7 nights in B&B/Auberges

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

5

Moderate

The Stevenson Trail Trek: Itinerary

 

Day 1 - Arrive in Le Puy en Velay

Our trip starts in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Le Puy en Velay. We hold a trip briefing in the hotel, followed by our evening meal.

 

Accommodation: Hotel (dinner not included)

Luggage access

 

Day 2 - Trek from St Martin de Fugères to Le Bouchet St Nicolas

We begin our route with a short transfer to the trail head at St Martin de Fugères. From here, we begin walking on easy trails that take us up and across the gorge of the Loire river at the village of Goudet. This small village is dominated by the 13th century Château de Beaufort. After a stop to explore and enjoy our picnic lunch, we're back on the trail for a steady ascent to the volcanic plateau that overlooks the village. The landscape is dominated by dramatic, black soil, punctuated only by the green fields of puy lentils, that this region is famous for. We'll pass through several hamlets until we reach today's destination of Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas, where we'll spend the night in a charming but modest auberge owned by the Villeseche family. Dinner will be a delicious home-cooked meal, served in the auberge, using produce from their own farm. 

 

Accommodation: Auberge, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 15km

Altitude gain / loss: +460m / -175m

 

Day 3 - Trek from Le Bouchet St Nicolas to Pradelle

Leaving our charming gite after breakfast, today's trek has two route options. It takes us first through the village of Arquejol, which is notable for its impressive railway viaduct. From here, we follow a steep trail down to the bottom of the ravine and back up the other side to the market town of Landos. At this point, we have the option of adding a detour to reach the Rocher de la Fagette. This short climb is well worth it for the impressive views of the surrounding terrain and the ancient volcanic landscape. Our final destination for the day is the beautiful medieval village of Pradelle. We normally stay in the village itself but accommodation can be limited, so if there are no beds available for our group, we may trek a few kilometres further to the larger town of Langogne.

 

Accommodation : Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 21km (+4km if continuing to Langogne)

Altitude gain / loss: +315m / -575m

 

Day 4 - Trek from Langogne to Cheylard l’Evèque

Today's route takes us deeper into the unspoilt Gévaudan countryside that this region is so well known for. We follow a section of the route that Robert Louis Stevenson made famous when he got horribly lost, which naturally won't happen to us! The trail meanders through dense forests, hopping over a network of small streams, and crossing ancient bridges en route. We then climb up to the village of Saint Flour de Mercoire (1049m) and through the Mercoire forest until we reach the village of Sagne-Rousse. The final part of our journey follows an ancient track as far as the iscolated hamlet of Cheylard L’Eveque, which is where we'll spend the night. Our accommodation is in a rustic and friendly auberge, where home-made dinners are served on long, communal tables and we'll have the chance to swap tales and tips with other walkers. 

Accommodation: Auberge, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 16km (or 22km if variation taken)

Altitude gain / loss: +320 / -150m

 

Day 5 - Trek from Cheylard l'Évêque to La Bastide Puylaurent

Our route today is one of the prettiest parts of the Stevenson Trail. Following the valley that leads out of the village, the trail takes us up and over rolling hills and through a network of woodland paths. When the trees open up, stunning views of the distant Cévennes Mountains will reveal themselves, giving us plenty of photo opportunities and reasons to pause and take in the scenery. From here we pick up an old medieval mule track that leads into the Allier valley, which marks the border between Languedoc-Roussillon and the Ardeche 'departement'. Our trek takes us through the village of Laveyrune before heading on to our final destination for the day, the hamlet of Bastide Puylaurent. Run by a lovely couple, this simple hotel offers a warm welcome and regional speciality dinner.  

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 17km

Altitude gain / loss: +240m / -380m

 

Day 6 - Trek from La Bastide Puylaurent to Chasserades

Leaving La Bastide Puylaurent, we head higher into the surrounding hills, following Robert Louis Stevenson's footsteps into some of the most remote and impressive countryside of the trail. We'll start on a hill top track with sensational views of the Cévennes Mountains, before we reach our first pause at La Mourade (1308m), where we'll have time to enjoy a drink and snack while we take in the panorama. Descending back down, our journey then traverses the Forêt domaniale de la Gardille as far as the hamlet of Chabalier. Our final resting point for the night is in Chasserades, where Robert Louis Stevenson stayed in 1878. Our hotel is simple but modern and comfortable. 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 12km

Altitude gain / loss: +330m / -160m

 

Day 7 - Trek from Chasserades to Le Bleymard

We leave Chasserades and trek towards Mirandol, a small village with a big (30m) railway viaduct that crosses the valley. Noted for its traditional architecture and distinctive roof tiles, the village itself is a sleepy hamlet. From here, our trek becomes more challenging as it now takes an upward turn. We tackle the first big climb of the trip, trekking upwards through the forested Goulet Massif to an excellent viewing point. La Bleymard (1413m) is our final destination for the day. This village is nestled by the source of the Lot River and marks the gateway to the Cevennes National Park. Arriving at our hotel, we'll have time to enjoy a relaxing drink on the terrace before dinner - the food here is always delicious! 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 16km

Altitude gain / loss: +0m / -310m

Day 8 - Trek from Le Bleymard to Finiels

Our trek today is marked with Montjoies (standing stones) to guide us in the right direction. As we cover ground and head deeper into the hills, we'll be treated to beautiful panoramas as the the Cévennes open up before us. Budding photographers will be delighted with today's route; full of photo opportunities with great foreground and background interest to frame your shots. The final section of the route is a steep descent on a rough track, which brings us to the mountain village of Finiels, which is located in the heart of the Cévennes national park. If the group is five or less, we stay in a lovely B&B in Finiels itself. If the group size is larger, we'll trek a little further to stay in Le Pont de Montvert. 

Accommodation: B&B/Auberge, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 14km

Altitude gain / loss: +630m / -824m

Day 9 - Trek from to Finiels to Florac

If we stayed in Finels, we'll take a short transfer to the trailhead at Le Pont de Montvert. If we stayed in Le Pont de Montvert, we'll enjoy starting our walk straight out of the door. Our route today is the longest on the trip, but well worth the extra time on our feet as the trail underfoot and the surrounding mountains really do provide the perfect day's trekking! We walk through the very heart of the Cévennes mountains, on a more hilly trail than previous days. Each summit will offer us a chance to pause for breath and take in the views. We normally stay overnight in an historic B&B in the attractive town of Florac. If we want to shorten the route, there is also the option to head off the trail a little earlier and stay in Cocures.

Accommodation: B&B, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 27km (23km if staying in Cocures)

Altitude gain / loss: +545m / -875m

Day 10 - Trek from Florac to Cassagnas

Staying high in the mountainous terrain, our trail today starts with a technical ascent and narrow, balcony paths. We'll need to keep our eyes on the ground as well as looking up at the majectic red rocks of the Mimenti Valley. Once we reach the village of Saint Julien D’Arpaon, which is overlooked by its ancient Chateau, the landscape changes. From here, we follow a pretty gorge along a disused railway track, which makes our afternoon a much easier walk! If accommodation is available, we stay in the village of Cassagnas, a natural break point on the trail. However, if there are no beds available, we have the option of continuing another 5km along the track to Cauvel.

Accommodation: B&B/Auberge, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 21km (23km if continuing to Cauvel)

Altitude gain / loss: +200m / -50m

Day 11 - Trek from Cassagnas to St Etienne Valley Française

Heading back onto the trails after breakfast, our day begins with a shady walk through the Camisards forests, which loops around the peak of Mount Mars (1162m). Nicely warmed up, it's time to start an easy climb, up to La Plan de Fontmort. Here, the trail may get busier as we intersect with other major hiking routes, all heading to the Col de la Pierre Plantee (891m). Marked by the last standing stone, our journey is starting to wind down. We connect with an ancient mule track which leads us through chestnut groves and down to the valley floor. From here, we trek the final section of our day, an easy walk to St Etienne Vallée Française. Our accommodation is a friendly B&B - La Dinierola - with dinner arranged in a local village restaurant. 

Accommodation: B&B, dinner included

Luggage access

Distance: 22km

Altitude gain / loss: +320m / -710m

Day 12 - Trek from St Etienne Valley Française to St Jean du Gard

Our final day on the trail starts with a long climb to the Col de Saint Pierre (597m) and Signal de Saint Pierre (695). The effort is well worth it as we enjoy full 360 degree views of the Cévennes Mountains and the route we've just taken. We'll have plenty of time for photos and refreshments before we start the downhill trail to a pretty little village called Pied de Côté. Once we reach the valley floor, we'll follow the Gardon river path until we arrive at an ancient stone bridge which leads into the town of St Jean du Gard. This marks the end of a fantastic two week trek. We'll spend our final night here in a charming auberge with a pool, where we'll have time to relax and unwind. In the evening, we'll enjoy a celebratory team dinner in one of the local restaurants. 

Accommodation: Auberge (dinner not included)

Luggage access

Distance: 12km

Altitude gain / loss: +350m / -410m

Day 8 - Depart St Jean du Gard

Our trip finishes after breakfast.

Included

  • All accommodation on a twin share basis

  • Meals as per itinerary (12 breakfasts and 10 evening meals)

  • All transport detailed in the itinerary

  • Luggage transfers 

  • Fully qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

Not Included

  • Lunches and 2 evening meals

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Airport transfers

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Tips

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

© 2018 Cloud 9 Adventure

info@cloud9adventure.com

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