hiking trails france autumn

8 hiking trails in France for an autumn walk

For hikers, every season has its magic and challenges. But undoubtedly one of the most attractive to go for a walk is autumn.

In the period between September 21 and December 21, not only is the temperature more pleasant for physical exercises, but also nature fills with color, preparing for winter. And while it is true that Spain has fantastic hiking routes to visit this season, our neighbor France also explodes in beauty during the fall.

Therefore, from Walkaholic we invite you to discover 8 hiking trails in France to explore in autumn, which we are sure, will fill you with delight.

Bonifatu Forest (Corsica)

Autumn hiking on the island of Corsica
Autumn hiking on the island of Corsica /photo by Isidro López-Arcos, License (CC BY-ND 2.0)

We begin our French autumn tour on the island of Corsica. The Bonifatu Forest route is a circular route that can be done in just over two hours, of medium difficulty. They are 12.1 kilometers of road, starting from Calvi, near Calenzara. The forest suffered a devastating fire 10 years ago, but the wonder of nature has recovered it and decorates it for the fall arrival.

Fontainebleau Forest (Fontainebleau, Paris)

hiking trails  Fontainebleau in autumn
Hiking trails through the Forest of Fontainebleau / photo by Saverio Domanico, License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At only 40 minutes by car from the City of Light, this green lung of about 25 hectares is a wonderful portrait of the beauty of autumn. It can also be reached by train.

There is plenty of space for hikers, although its forest tracks can also be traveled by bicycle and even on horseback. 

There are also very good rocks for climbing. But the fundamental goal here is being in contact with nature and the fauna of the place, which includes deer and wild boars.

It is advisable to carry a map and a defined route, because the forest has many paths that cross over and it is easy to get lost.

Creuse Forests (Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes)

Creuse forests in Autumn

Trekking through the Creuse Woods / photo of Pascal Cojean Photography, License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

These forests are in La Creuse, in the Limousin region, that English tourism has revitalized in recent years. In addition to the coniferous forests that guarantee an all year round green, in autumn many trees that turn red and yellow makes a beautiful contrast.

Add to it an abundance of nuts, chestnuts, mushrooms to collect and the beauty of the lakes in the region, and you will have a magnificent setting for autumn hiking. You just need to complete it with a good route.

Écrins National Park (French Alps)

Écrins National Park for hiking
Routes to visit in the Écrins National Park in Autumn / photo of CLAUDE PERSO, License, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the south of the French Alps, this National Park is a jewel that is polished in autumn to show all its lights. With many trails to be travelled, it is a good time to visit the glaciers of the Girose, or that of the Meiie in the Vallée du Valgaudemar. Or climb three-thousand mountains such as the Olan (3,564 meters) or Les Bans (3,669 meters).

Be sure to visit La Chapelle town and its picturesque houses. From there you can also plan a visit to les Oules du Diable, deep caves that the Navette River excavated in the rocks, which are complemented by a waterfall and an old Roman bridge.

Via Podiensis (From Le Puy-en-Velay to Roncesvalles)

Hiking trails on Via Podiensis, Le Puy road
Camino Le Puy / photo of Gautier Barbe, License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marked as a long-distance GR-65 trail, this rural road is also known as Camino de Le Puy and is part of the routes of the Camino de Santiago. It is a trail that goes through forests and valleys without touching large urban centers, and it is considered the most important pilgrim route in France.

You can travel it in about thirty stages of different length, duration and beauty. You will be following the steps of Gotescalco, bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, who in 950 was the first foreign pilgrim who arrived to Santiago de Compostela.

Along the route, long-standing towns such as Conques, Cahors or Cajarc are visited until reaching the Pyrenees. And, without a doubt, autumn is the time of the year where the temperature helps and the color of the nature inspire.

Aspe Valley (Aquitaine)

Beautiful view of Lescun  hiking in autumn.
View of Lescun and the high peaks / photo of Peter, License (CC BY 2.0)

With an extension of 40 km in length, this valley begins in the town of Escout and ends in the hill of Somport, which separates the valley from Spain in the Atlantic Pyrenees.

Quiet and with little tourist exploitation, this valley is ideal in autumn due to the contrasts it offers and its mild temperatures, ideal for visiting the Fauna Park of Borce or marveling at the circus of Lescun and the high peaks that surround it.

Autumn is also the best time to walk along the Aspe River or the Chemin de la Mâture and its 1200 meters carved in the rock. The most daring can also take advantage of autumn to ascend to the peak of Anie (2,507m), Le Billare (2,318m) or the Needles of Ansabère (2,377m).

Mont Faron (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)

Provence hiking trail / photo of FORPRESIDENT, Licencia (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This mount of 584 meters, close to the city of Toulon, promises very good views during the fall, in addition to a pleasant temperature to explore its pine forests.

Once its summit is conquered, the Memorial of the landing of the Allies in Provence in 1944 is a must and also you should spend some time visiting the zoo at the top of the mountain, specialized in the conservation of all types of felines.

Mont Faron is proud to be also the end of the fifth stage of the Mediterranean Tour, a cycling race established since 1974. So it is a very good plan to enjoy an autumnal day.

Rouen (Upper Normandy)

The old Norman capital acquires a special color during the fall, so it is well worth visiting and admiring the old city, full of incredible examples of good architecture.

Among the attractions of the so-called “Athens of the Gothic” is its main square, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. During the autumn and ​​art festival is held nearby that includes theater, dance and music, and fall is also the time where the famous Poiré, the “Champagne of Normandy” is manufactured. You should try it.

What do you think about our selection? This is just a sample of the hundreds of French hiking trails that are worth traveling during fall. If your favorite is not on our list, we encourage you to mention it in a comment, so Walkaholic can benefit from your experience.

So you know: put on your boots, your coat and get on the road. Who knows? We may find ourselves, walking along the best hiking trails in France to be walked during fall.

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