A 5-hour hike, one of the most beautiful hikes in the Verdon.
What is the most beautiful hike in the Verdon? The Imbut trail is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the Verdon gorges. It is also a hike that requires a good experience of this type of mountainous terrain.
I have taken this hike almost 50 times and I am really happy to make you discover it…
The trail will allow you to discover the Styx; a secondary canyon that has become mythical and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the Verdon.
Trail then continues to the Imbut (include the Imbuq, i. e. the funnel in Provençal).
The Verdon disappears under huge chaos of blocks overhung by 400-meters peaks. Indeed, the landscape of these narrow gorges is so grandiose that one would not be surprised to see a dinosaur appear in this exceptional place.
To know before leaving to hike the Imbut trail
During spring 2018, the trail was redesigned and some of the passages that have become slippery are now easily accessible.
In practice, this hike is suitable for children from 9 years old as long as they are accompanied by experienced adults who are used to this kind of terrain… In family or in group, being accompanied by a guide can be a good idea for your safety in order to enjoy this hike as much as possible.
Learn about water releases: indeed the Verdon will be less beautiful on water release days. So in order to to take the most beautiful pictures with the turquoise river, it is better to avoid Tuesday and Friday (but it depends on the years). Do not hesitate to call us or just use the “chat”. If you need more information and would like to contact a guide, it’s here.
Some precautions to remember:
This is a mountain trail: it is advisable to be put on accordingly (trail boots may be appropriate but not sneakers or sandals!).
Take one to two liters of water per person (two in summer)
Bring a backpack and polar fur in case of problems.
Don’t forget: sprain on this type of trail = hoisting! so if you don’t have insurance it’s better to go with a guide.
Access to the Imbut trail:
Two access points exist: the most convenient is the access from the left bank via the cliff path of the riders’ cliff and the (impressive) ascent via the Vidal path.
It takes about 5 hours to get there and back or 6 hours if you take the time to go to the blessed bath.
We will describe this itinerary here (see also on our website “randonnée de l’Imbut” if you wish to be accompanied by a guide. Park at the Grand Canyon Hotel on the road from Aiguines to Trigance (about 18 km after Aiguines).
Starting point of the most beautiful hike in the Verdon
From there a path descends into a ravine zigzagging and then by small stairs.
In about 30 minutes, you will reach the footbridge of the Estellié above the Verdon.
Leave the footbridge on your right and continue downstream on the left bank, passing a sign announcing the dangers of the trail.
with the mention “noted by bailiff”. The locals are not lacking in humour. Hello, welcoming committee!
So here you are warned but fortunately the most beautiful and impressive is yet to come…
From the Estellié, the path follows the Verdon on the left bank.
To your right, beautiful turquoise water basins invite you to swim, but you will need to think twice before jumping into the water.
You will now come across a first body plate that reminds you that the Verdon is dangerous. Swimming is prohibited here because of the “rappels”: these rapids take you under the cliff or under huge stones and suck you up literally without any hope of getting away.
The most beautiful hike in the Verdon: the thousand-year-old cade
After about 45 minutes of walking, the trail rises and overlooks the river by about 50 meters. The path then follows a series of magnificent turns: carved steps and a small staircase leads you to a photogenic promontory with a small cave: you will discover the millenary cade: it is a thuriferous juniper tree that is over 1000 years old according to specialists: do not forget the picture!
No one knows the age of this old cadet who would be the oldest in the Verdon. The view is exceptional: you are in one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Verdon. And yet, you are not at the end of your surprises….
After 15 minutes the path will start to descend and you will arrive along the Verdon at a pebble beach: the beach of Baouché. It should be remembered that swimming is always prohibited. Continuing the path, you will reach the passage of the Styx.
The secondary canyon of the Styx on the Imbut trail
To describe the Imbut as the most beautiful hike in the Verdon is not an exaggeration. Exceptional places follow the grandiose landscapes. From Baouché beach continue to very large rocks: at this point, you can leave the trail and discover the secondary canyon of the Styx.
The canyon continues to the Styx cave: impressive! It is also one of the most dangerous passages of the Verdon for kayakers. We filmed for you this passage in the film “Verdon Secret”: notice to amateurs! Kayakers classify the Verdon in class V, which shows a great difficulty. Continue on the path and you will reach a ledge carved in the rock.
The path dug into the cliff overlooks the river by about 5 to 6 meters (no desire to fall).
Fortunately, a ramp has been set up to hold on.
The passage of the Maugué:
You then arrive at a small cave (second body plate) at the place called “le Maugué”.
For more information about this place see also in our website the film “Verdon Secret”, the story of the shooting of an unusual film.
From the cave, the path begins to climb in increasingly steep zigzags. You arrive at the base of a large sign with the indication “Vidal trail”.
That’s where you’ll go up (maybe) this afternoon. For the moment, leave the path that rises to the left and continue to the right towards the bottom of the Verdon.
The chaos of blocks of the Imbut rail and the blessed “baou”
Further down the path goes down and you arrive at the famous chaos of blocks of the Imbut.
You can cross the chaos of boulders as long as you do a little easy climbing: a passage (follow the paint marks) on large boulders and then under a huge boulder (small tunnel) will take you to the blessed baou: this place is magnificent and grand. It marks the true entrance to the Secret Verdon.
The cliffs above you make you dizzy: this is the start of the secret Verdon but you will turn around at this place. To discover the Secret Verdon, it’s here.
To see, not to miss
Secondary canyon of the Styx, the Styx cave: magnificent and photogenic places.
Thousand-year-old cade: the oldest thuriferous juniper tree in the Verdon.
The chaos of blocks of the Imbut: the Verdon disappears underground for 300 meters to reappear upstream of the blessed Baou.
Le Baou beni” (the blessed baou): the turquoise blue water and its reflection which iridesces against the overhanging rock.
The return by the Vidal path
On the way back, you will have to take the same path in the opposite direction until you reach the sign indicating the exit by the Vidal path. Stairs carved in the rock will allow you to reach ladders a little higher. Attention! Let’s reserve this return variant for those who don’t have vertigo.
I do not recommend it with children unless you have belaying equipment. On the contrary, for thrill-seekers, it is a fast, vertiginous and pleasant outing. Arrived at the road, you take on the left to join your car at the riders’ car park.
Note: In the fall of 2019, the left bank access is closed due to a one-block fall on the rider trail. The hike is therefore from the right bank, i.e. the chalet de la Maline.