© Philippe Murtas Photographe

The trail of Blanc‑Martel

In the Verdon Regional Nature Park, it is impossible to hike in the Gorges du Verdon without passing by the Blanc-Martel trail. Travelling from Castellane or from the ‘Chalet de la Maline’, follow in the footsteps of the first explorers of the largest canyon in Europe. Right! Ready for the adventure?

In the footsteps of the explorers!

The Blanc-Martel trail is the most famous trail of the Verdon Gorges, it is also and especially one of the must-see routes and the one that allows you to travel the longest distance at the bottom of the canyon, near the Verdon.

Did you know?

The Blanc-Martel trail is named after Alfred-Edouard Martel and Isidore Blanc, the explorers who crossed for the first time the entire Grand Canyon of France. 

Technical sheet

The hike is a one-way trip of 16 km.

Allow 6 to 7 hours to walk through it.

The positive difference in height is 600 m.

Due to its difficulty, the trail is not recommended for children under 8 years of age or for people suffering from vertigo.

  • Dogs and mountain bikes are not allowed on the trail.
  • Swimming in the Verdon is forbidden in the entire canyon area. The Verdon is a particularly dangerous river because of the many syphons that line it and the variations of the water level caused by the activity of the dams located upstream.

The Blanc-Martel trail is impassable when the Chaudanne dam drops more than 80 m3/s. To know the flows of the Verdon, contact the tourist information offices in Castellane and La Palud-sur-Verdon.

  • Good hiking shoes
  • A lamp for crossing the tunnels (telephone lamps are sufficient).
  • 2 litres of water minimum per person
  • Picnic
  • A warm clothing
  • A hat and sunscreen to protect you from the Southern sun!

Hiking

From ‘Chalet de la Maline’ to ‘Point Sublime’

Le Chalet de la Maline

The starting point of the Blanc-Martel trail, the ‘Chalet de la Maline’ is located in the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon. Collective lodging and restaurant, this is the meeting point for hikers on the GR 4.

Journey to the heart of the Canyon

The Blanc-Martel trail is a 16 km long one-way trail.

The path allows you to access the bottom of the canyon, as close as possible to the Verdon and to discover mythical places of the Verdon such as the Pré d’Issane, the cave ‘Baume aux Bœufs’, the Mescla, the brèche Imbert trail, the scree ‘Éboulis de Guègues’, the tunnels of Trescaïre and Baou, the Couloir Samson!

Between steep path on a cliff side and shady underbrush passages, the Blanc-Martel trail is an alternation of rhythmic and exceptional landscapes that allows you to enter the intimacy of this exceptional site.

Although the trail is very popular in the summer season, the number of visitors remains low. Some time after the arrival of the shuttle bus, the flow of hikers who engage in the laces under the ‘Chalet de la Maline’ gradually dissipates, making the Verdon regain its wild character.

The Point Sublime at the Verdon

The arrival point, the Point Sublime on the commune of Rougon marks the end of the journey. After having crossed the tunnel of the Samson corridor, you will have to take the stairs to the belvedere and then the path to the Point Sublime. 200 meters of difference in level and you are there!

Our advice: Continue your climb to the Sublime Point while your muscles are warm. If you feel the need, stop at the Samson Corridor (Couloir Samson) belvedere, but only for a few minutes; otherwise you may encounter difficulties in the last part.

The adventure is yours! To prepare your hike on the Blanc-Martel trail, here are our recommendations.

Good to know

The shuttle bus Blanc-Martel

It is managed by the Verdon Regional Natural Park and made available to hikers who wish to make the Blanc-Martel trail.

From May 13, 2021, it is back in service!

Find out more

Upon reservation only.

All year round, you can contact taxis that take you from Point Sublime to Chalet de la Maline.

Our advice: Contact them at least one day before to set the time and the appointment point.

In what direction to make the trail?

We recommend hiking in the La Maline direction towards ‘Le Point Sublime’ for several reasons.

  • Hiking is easier. It is better to descend the 400 m difference in altitude between the ‘Chalet de la Maline’ and the Verdon than to climb them at the end of the hike, after 15 km of walking! The passage of the rift ‘Brèche Imbert’ and its 250 steps is also easier and more impressive on the way down than on the way up.

 

  • The operation of the Blanc-Martel shuttle is only planned for a hike in the direction of La Maline to the Point Sublime. The chalet of La Maline is only served in the morning from the village of La Palud-sur-Verdon.

 

  • Some passages of the trail are quite narrow and it is not always easy to cross. Also, even if the trail remains passable in both directions, it is better to respect the direction advised and taken by most hikers.

A little bit of history.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Alfred-Edouard Martel, passionate about hydrogeology and caving, was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture to find new drinking water resources to supply Provence.

In 1905, accompanied by a team of locals, including Isidore Blanc, a teacher from Rougon, a naturalist guide and a wildlife enthusiast, they set out to discover the wild abyss that is the Grand Canyon du Verdon.

They left the Samson Corridor (Couloir Samson) and arrived safely 4 days later at the Galetas. They are the first to walk the entire canyon. A little later, in the 30s, the Touring Club de France opens the famous trail that descends from the Maline and joins the Samson Corridor.