Hiking in the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon in French) is another popular activity in the famous Luberon canyon, with trails of different difficulties. For our Verdon Gorge hiking experience, we decided to go hiking the Imbut trail. That Verdon hike is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Luberon area, as well as one of the hardest! Challenging but fantastic, we enjoyed every second of our trip.

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Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // Stunning Verdon River

Stunning Verdon River

Hiking the Imbut Trail

The Imbut Trail, also known as the Sentier de l’Imbut in French – is not long with a relatively short distance of 5 miles (8 km), but the elevations make for a tough trail. Indeed, the path drops 1,115 feet (340 m) from the rim to the bottom of the Verdon River, then gains 1,312 feet (400 m) back to the rim again. The hike takes typically 4 to 6 hours for a regular hiker.

Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // Bruno hiking along the river

Bruno hiking along the river

Les Cavaliers

The descent along Les Cavaliers path is relatively easy though it can be tough on the knees due to its steep elevation drop. Once at the river level, the track is most of the time flat. The third section of the hike exists by the Sentier Vidal, which is so steep that you can only hike it up, and is thus a one-way path.

Sentier de l’Imbut

Part of hiking in the Sentier de l’Imbut in the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon in French) is reaching the Styx, which in Greek mythology was one of the rivers heading to Hell. Easily recognizable by the large and deep holes dug into the rock by erosion. Because of the tight curves, the Verdon river slows down and gives a striking deep green color. But better be careful as a step too close to the edge will lead to a dangerous fall.

Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // The narrow canyons of the Styx

The narrow canyons of the Styx

Vidal Trail

The return is on the Vidal Trail, a steep path that is like hugging cliffs. Some wooden stairs and actual stairs crafted out of the rocks are now available. In some areas, cables serving as handrails help make the trail more secure. In one section, a metal ladder takes you over the last challenging part. Not for the fainted of hearts, and not to be attempted in wet conditions as the rocks would be highly slippery. No wonder this section is a one-way hike!

Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // Cable handrails along the Vidal Trail

Cable handrails along the Vidal Trail

While kayaking over the turquoise water of the Verdon River was a great experience, hiking along the Verdon River was the highlight of our trip to the Verdon Gorge. The scenery, the colors, simply astonishing!

If you like hitting the trail, you won’t be disappointed by your Gorges du Verdon hiking experience!

Imbut Trail Description

  • Distance: 6 miles (10 km)
  • Estimated hiking time: average 6 hours
  • Vertical Gain / Drop: – 3,996 ft (-1,218 m) / +3,979 ft (+1,213 m)
  • Difficulty: Very
  • Type: Loop
  • Parking: Available at the trailhead

Alternative Verdon Gorge Hiking Trails

Consider the Sentier Blanc Martel as an option. The 9-mile (15-km) hike leads to the cliffs on the Verdon Gorge and is another popular trail.

A moderate hike is the Chemin du Bastidon (Bastidon Walk), and some of the easiest ones would be the Fisherman’s Trail.

Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // Bridge to Sentier Blanc Martel

Bridge to Sentier Blanc Martel

Hiking Tips:

  • Due to the slippery rocks if wet, and the steep trails, do not attempt this hike on a rainy day.
  • Everyone is a different hiker, so what is comfortable for one might not be for someone else. Make sure to do to be adequately equipped and have food and water before heading on any hike. Each hiker is responsible for knowing his or her fitness level and hiking experience before engaging in any hiking activities
  • Check with the local authorities to verify the trail is open as depending on the seasons (summer wildfires risks) and weather conditions (river flooding), the path might be closed
  • Some of these trails might not be recommended for children or traveling with pets.
  • For ideas on what to wear ahead of your trip, check out our hiking gear

Have you been to Provence? What was your experience there? Did you explore the area around Gorges du Verdon? Share your adventures with us, and make sure to leave a comment!

If you are looking for more Provence trip ideas, hiking in the Alps, check out our France travel blog posts on:

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Verdon Gorge Hiking: Imbut Trail // Turquoise Canyon

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