Grand Tour of Lac Pavin

A Grand Tour of the beautiful and mysterious Lac Pavin, passing by the Puy de Montchal and the Creux de Soucy chasm.

Technical sheet
No. 4098874
A Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise walk posted on 28/06/14 by djhoward. Update : 30/01/18
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h50[?]
Distance Distance : 7.81km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 223m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 224m
Highest point Highest point : 1392m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1176m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Areas Areas : Massif central, Monts Dore
Location Location : Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise (63610)
Starting point Starting point : N 45.501526° / E 2.8898°
Download : -


(D)Park in the car park below the one-way road that stretches north of the lake.

(1) Join the platform that takes in the entire lake and follow the lovely shady path going right along the edge. At the next Y-shaped intersection, leave the circuit around the lake and take the right-hand trail that then begins to climb.
After about 800m you'll get to an intersection. Take the wide path to the right.
Further on, ignore a path going off to the right.
A little further on (a sign with a map), turn left along the small discovery trail, which is very steep and stony.
At the top of the path, a sign saying "Lac Pavin", invites you to go left. Before doing so, continue to climb to the right "ad libitum", to admire the view. Return to the sign and continue opposite (in the direction of Lake Pavin).

(2)At the next crossroads, turn right on the path that descends to the bottom of the Puy de Montchal crater, and climb back up the other side. The trail descends to the left and reaches an intersection with various possible directions: Turn right again on a wide path.
At the next intersection, turn left. The path leads to a very wide and flat forest path that you need to take to the left.

(3) When you get to the tarmac road, turn right on it. Later on (with a sign on the left), you can go a few extra meters to get a glimpse of the Creux de Soucy chasm, well protected by high fences.
Near the sign, there is a beautiful place for a picnic.
Resume the road going south. After 200 meters, take a small road to the left, simply indicated by a yellow arrow.

(4)Continue through the forest (an obvious route) to reach a wide path where a GR passes. Take this path left ("white and red" markers). The view emerges on the right.
Cross the road you've already taken toward the Creux de Soucy and get to a road that you then take opposite.
After passing the cross-country skiing centre, you arrive near an information board about volcanism and a stunning view of the lake.
You'll find a trail not marked on the IGN map behind the board. Take this path rather than the road.
The trail descends and joins the "official" trail on the map, continue down to the left to join the path that goes around the lake.(5) Turn right.
Various openings in the forest allow you to see the lake that you still overlook.
The trail loses altitude little by little takes you back to the starting point, after going between the restaurant and the lake.(1)
Then go around the restaurant to take a right on the road leading to the car park.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 1177m
1 : km 0.37 - alt. 1203m - Walk around the lake to the right - Lac Pavin
2 : km 1.7 - alt. 1297m
3 : km 2.46 - alt. 1389m
4 : km 2.76 - alt. 1372m - Towards the Puy de Montchal crater
5 : km 3.86 - alt. 1289m - Stony road to the right
6 : km 4.39 - alt. 1271m - Enter the forest
7 : km 5.69 - alt. 1263m
8 : km 6.67 - alt. 1235m - Return to the edge of the lake
D/A : km 7.81 - alt. 1176m

Useful Information

Toilets at the start, near the restaurant.
Good shoes recommended because certain parts are gravelly (risk of slipping and sprains).

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Enjoy the view of the lake, particularly the last part.
The view is also exceptional, before going back down the Puy de Montchal.
There is an immense array of flora: including the purple foxglove, fairly rare elsewhere, etc...

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 3
Description quality : 4.67/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 4.33/5

on Mon 23 Sep 2019 16:43:05 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 01/09/19
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Lovely walk round and above Lac Pavin, quite a bit of welcome shade.

on Mon 01 Jul 2019 10:24:00 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 24/06/19
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Good
Walk interest : Good

Very enjoyable walk, although in a lot of shade that was very helpful as it was the start of the June 2019 heatwave in France! A good diversity of interest, with the pretty lake and a couple of small volcano craters.
It is possible to shorten the hike - helpful when very hot.

on Wed 11 Jul 2018 09:37:53 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 09/07/18
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Average
Walk interest : Good

Nice walk , a lot through woods so limited views, sadly never high enough to see the whole lake. Very good wild flowers, huge number of foxgloves.
Route descrption ok , would have been helpful if they had linked more to the yellow signs and the numbers on the map do not appear to correspond to the description, however we found our way.

Other walks in the area

The Chiloza falls
distance 4.79km Vertical gain +140m Vertical drop -140m Durée 1h45 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

A wander among the underbrush along the Couze Pavin, from bank to bank, flowing in cascades.

Puy de Sancy through the Chaudefour valley
distance 16.34km Vertical gain +907m Vertical drop -909m Durée 7h15 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Chambon-sur-Lac - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

The very secretive and beautiful Chaudefour valley is a classified natural site, closed up by the steep contours of a glacial cirque. Peaks, needles, plumbs are as many natural defences for an intact and preserved valley.

distance 6.68km Vertical gain +526m Vertical drop -526m Durée 3h25 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Mont-Dore - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

A very beautiful hike in a conservation area.

distance 13.84km Vertical gain +922m Vertical drop -922m Durée 6h35 Difficult Difficult
Starting point Starting point in Mont-Dore - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

A trip to highest point of the Massif Central.

distance 11.78km Vertical gain +321m Vertical drop -317m Durée 4h15 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Chambon-sur-Lac - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

A circuit that forms a figure of 8 around Lac Chambon, with panoramic views of the lake and the Sancy range, the Valley of Chaudefour and a section through Murol via its castle.

distance 12.98km Vertical gain +354m Vertical drop -351m Durée 4h45 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Orcival - 63 - Puy-de-Dôme

A hiking trail in the Auvergne summer pastures, on a summit overlooking the spa resort of La Bourboule.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.