Le Colorado Provencal Walk

Orange rock formations of Le Colorado Provencal
Orange rock formations of Le Colorado Provencal

By Vicky · Published Sep. 19th, 2023 · Updated Sep. 21st, 2023

This walk around Le Colorado Provencal is a large circuit with woodland and orange rocks that avoids the paid area.

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This walk around the Le Colorado Provencal starts from a small, free car park in the town of Rustrel. This walk does not lead into the paid area of Le Colorado Provencal, which has its own car park here (closed in January).

Tips for the Le Colorado Provencal Walk

Le Colorado Provencal Hiking Route

Walking towards the orange rocks of the Le Colorado Provencal from Rustrel
Walking in the woods in Luberon, Provence

From the free car park in Rustrel, head the short distance to the center of the village and turn right along the main road. There are some shops here if you need to stock up on food or other refreshments. Take the next main street on the right which leads to the main highway. Cross over and continue on the smaller lane towards the forested hills and orange cliffs.

Le Colorado Provencal

Turn left at the next crossroads and you’ll come to the main parking for the paid section of Le Colorado Provencal. Take a right along the track and cross over the stream. Continue upwards along the track through the woods, and in about 800 metres you’ll reach the Cirque de Barriès. This is a cool area of colourful orange rocks. Don’t go too close to the edge as the ground can be slippery and unstable, especially after rain.

Le Colorado Provencal

Le Colorado Provencal is the name given to this area of former ochre quarries. Ochre is a clay containing lots of iron minerals, which give it an orange colour. This rock used to be quarried, with picks and shovels, exposing the soft rocks to the surface. Wind and erosion then shaped the rocks and cliffs into the magical formations you see today.

The official Le Colorado Provencal area has a car park here and you have to pay to enter the area. It’s €6-8 per car depending on the season, or if you walk in without a car it’s €2-3 per person. The area is closed in January.

Views of Luberon Valley in Provence
Lavender fields on a walk in Provence

After admiring the rocks, continue upwards along the track to the top plateau. At the edge of the trees turn left, then take the first right along the small road. Head through the small wooded area, then take the track to the right to keep to the edge of the trees and through a field with views of the valley.

At the far corner of the field, turn right on the path leading downwards through the woods. The path contours around the hillside and then into an open area with some scenic lavender fields. Shortly after the end of the fields, turn right on the path leading steeply downwards.

Walking Down past Colourful Rocks

Views on a walk in the Le Colorado Provencal, Luberon, southern France
Walking down past orange rocks in Le Colorado Provencal
Orange and yellow rocks of the Le Colorado Provencal

In a few hundred meters you’ll reach a viewpoint of more colourful cliffs on your left. Towards the end of the descent, you’ll reach another cool area of colourful rocks formed into wonderful shapes. The white, yellow and red rocks look a bit like fairy chimneys here.

When the downhill ends, continue onwards to cross the stream and walk through the fields in the valley. Turn right at the next junction of small roads, then left at the following junction. This lane will lead you back through the fields to Rustrel and the end of the Le Colorado Provencal Walk.

Guidebooks for Exploring & Hiking in Southern France

If you’re going to southern France, there are several guidebooks that cover either only Provence & Côte d’Azur (Avignon and east), or Languedoc-Roussillon (Nîmes/Montpellier and west). Because we explored both areas, we opted for Lonely Planet’s France Guide, which apart from including all of France was only slightly more expensive than an individual regional guide.

For other great hikes nearby, try the Buoux Gorge Hike or the Rocher des Deux Trous or check out our France hiking page.

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