Written June 10, 2013.
Inspired by our canoe trip down the Gardon the week before, we set out on this 12.5 kilometer hike to take in the gorge views from the top of the cliffs. The Gardon, also known as the Gard of Pont du Gard fame, begins in the Cevennes mountains and flows into the Rhone River southwest of Avignon. This particular loop hike focuses on the section of the river west of the Pont du Gard, starting and ending in Russan (Ste Anastasie) with its furthest point due east near the Saint-Nicolas-de-Campagnac Bridge.
We were not disappointed. The view from Castellas, #1 on the map below, is fabulous and the setting makes a great picnic spot.
In addition the views from the cliff face as you approach Pont (bridge) Saint-Nicolas are also picturesque and afford additional picnicking opportunities.
Most of the trail that runs along the top of the plateau, that is, between #1 and #3, also has views back over the valley towards Mont Bouquet.
On a very clear day, Mt Ventoux, in the Vaucluse, can be seen in the distance. The trail back to Russan from Pont St-Nicolas winds through vineyards, wheat fields and the village of Vic with views over the valley towards Mont Bouquet and Mont Ventoux. All and all, one of the prettier hikes in the department.
From Le Gard…a pied, #37 Les gorge du Gardon. Starting point: parking lot in Russan (Ste Anastasie), 15 kilometers north of Nîmes via D106 and then D418 or D22. From the parking lot follow the yellow blazed trail up the Grand Rue towards Castellas. The trail is generally easy to follow, but with numerous paths crossing the area be sure to bring a map or good directions.
2. Les Garrigues
3. Pont Saint-Nicolas
4. not a named sign post
5. Le Reservoir
6. Les Clos