Blanc-Martel trail, the Verdon family hike

The Blanc-Martel trail is undoubtedly the most famous and most traveled trail in the Verdon. It is accessible to anyone in good health. Ideal for the family. 16 km long for a positive vertical drop of 600 meters. A quick step will take you through it in about 3 hours. By taking plenty of time and scoring a few poses, this is a very nice day hike.

The trail was structured by the Touring club of France in 1928. It was initially called the “Martel trail”, in reference of course to Alfred Edouard Martel, the explorer who made the first expedition in the Grand Canyon. In 2005, the trail was completely renovated. It was then renamed “Blanc-Martel trail”, in reference to Isidore Blanc, a teacher in Rougon who was also part of the 1905 expedition led by Martel. Isidore Blanc worked closely with the Touring Club de France on the trail project which many years later would bear his name.


Blanc-Martel Trail, to take with you

Here are some points not to be overlooked before embarking on the Blanc-Martel trail.


-1.5l see 2l of water per person

-Torch light (cell phones that will take great photos are usually equipped with a light that will be sufficient).

-Good shoe. We strongly recommend that you avoid flip flops, slides and other sandals.

-Light clothes for walking and warmer clothes for passages in the shade or in tunnels.

– Plan your picnic or a few snacks because you won’t find any fries stalls downstairs, no, none …,

-Compass; even with a really bad sense of direction, you should be able to do without it.


Blanc-Martel trail, start and finish

The Blanc-Martel trail joins the Chalet de la Maline to Point Sublime and can be traveled in both directions. However, the direction Chalet de la Maline – Point Sublime, will save you a lot of positive elevation gain. The trail is not a loop, you will have to organize your “shuttle”. Until now by having 2 vehicles, we could be autonomous. Also, buses and taxis provided the shuttle from Point Sublime.

From 2021, point Sublime car parks will be chargeable from June 15 to September 15. The departure of the “shuttle” will undoubtedly be from La Pallud, so as to relieve congestion in the Point Sublime car park. It could be interessing to get information from the Tourist Office, they will give you all the right information to make your hike a success.


The path of the trail

We will therefore take the classic route, From Chalet de la Maline to Point Sublime.

The path begins just next to the Maline, downhill. “Le Pas d’Issane” quickly arrives, the first metal ladder encountered on the course. We descend to the river and arrive at the crossing of the Estellié footbridge. From there you can reach the Imbut trail. Our route takes us to the left, without taking the footbridge or crossing the river. We go in the opposite direction of the current, we go up the river.

We then arrive on the Issane meadow and its pebble beach, a first break perhaps? Continuing the journey, we discover the Baume aux bœufs, a formidable cavity dug by the river over the millennia.

Afterwards, do not hesitate to leave the main path to follow the sign “Mescla” on the right. You arrive at the water’s edge, where the waters of Artuby mix with those of Verdon. The perfect place for lunch.

Then come the 252 steps of the famous Imbert breach. You cover 100 meters of negative elevation in this magnificent metal staircase. We then think of those who walk the path in the other direction.

After several hours already spent at the bottom of the canyon, the scenery offered by the Baumes Feres and the Tours de Trescaïres will seem almost common to you. It’s time to go underground with the three tunnels that end the route. The Baumes tunnel, the Trescaïre tunnel and the last, the Baou tunnel. The latter, which is the longest, measures 670 meters. Without light it becomes a commando mission. In addition, many puddles of water are present in the tunnels, especially after rainy days.


End of the trail and return to your vehicle

At the exit of the Baou tunnel, you are almost at the start of the aquatic hiking trail of the Samson corridor. Look up, you must already go up to the snowshoe where the emergency vehicles can turn around.

From 2021, an electric vehicle is expected to bring hikers back to their starting point. If you have to go up to Point Sublime, it is better to take the path that you will find by crossing the snowshoe rather than going up the road.