❖ Length – 5km if taking the Gorge route return
❖ Two hours needed at least
❖ Toilets at start and end at either the car park or the restaurants
❖ Two restaurants, one at the start and one at the end. Picnic spots in the pine forests after the Gorges.
❖ Family friendly for older children or young children if they are carried in a proper carrier. Although it may be hard to do the walk with the added weight of a young one with all the stairs. Not stroller friendly.
We are big fans of a gorge walk, and I have to say that the Gorges Du Dailley are some of the most spectacular we have hiked through so far. The views take your breath away in places, and the ascent and climb can do the same too thanks to the various different stairs, footbridges and ladders you need to pass to complete the route.
The construction of these incredible passes will amaze you as you head down deeper following the flow of water and into the forest lined pathway which provides refreshing shelter on a hot summers day.
Arriving there from Switzerland or France can be quite the drive. The roads at the last 10km are very narrow mountain passes with single track roads through the cliffs. It is a very scenic route but for those unsure on the windy mountain roads, perhaps not the best to take.
There are several ways to walk this hike, however we primarily were there to see the gorges and therefore wanted to maximise our time there. With this in mind, we parked near the Auberge Du Vallon de Van, and then began our walk through the tree lined pathway following the signs for the ‘Gorges Du Dailley’ and past the welcome sign.
We navigated through the trees until it opened out to the entrance of the gorge and the first ladder descent began. Then it was around thirty minutes of slowly descending the different contraptions and pathways, taking in the various views of the mountains surrounding us and waterfalls behind us as we hiked. After a short climb down, we again reached forest ground where we walked for a short duration to turn and see the incredible ‘Cascade du Dailley’ from the base. We continued walking until we hit the wooden shelter and then decided to turn around and tackle the gorges and steps but this time from the ground up. We wanted to make the most of the views of the cascade and also push ourselves with the climb up the 600 plus steps to the top! If you fancier an easier route, you can instead walk another fifteen minutes through the pine shaded forest and reach the main road, where you turn right to follow the route back to your car.
Overall, it was around a 5km walk in total but it was exerting thanks to the stairs you had to climb back up. Therefore bear this in mind when visiting with young children that may need to be carried if you do the Gorges both directions. It is definitely not stroller friendly.
At the end, we rewarded ourselves with a delicious meal at the Auberge Du Vallon de Van. The menu changes with the seasons, and they have great local wines to sample to refresh you at the end of your walk. The service is great, and there’s an outside terrace if the weather is good.
Our top tips for the walk:
- If it is hot, the hike can be both difficult due to the number of steps to climb up (600+) and that it’s often in direct sun. Wear suncream and go early or later in the day.
- The route has some steep ladders which when going down can be tricky for little ones.
- Good shoes are a necessity.
- The drive to the walk can be a little precarious at times, so take it slowly if you are not too familiar with single track mountain roads.
- Parking is free, but spaces can be quickly taken up during the day so try to get there early. Also helps with the weather situation!
- Those looking for an easier walk should take the Gorges down from the Auberge Du Vallon restaurant and back up via the road, rather than the other way around.
Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike