Family hike or sports trail in the Auvézère gorges?!

Saint Mesmin
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Family hike or sports ...

The Auvezère is a river that meanders from the confines of Limousin to Périgord, ending its course in the Lisle river , just upstream of Périgueux . Sometimes small streams, it immediately turns into turbulent and crystalline whitewater, it is refreshing and dynamic. In Saint-Mesmin in Périgord Vert, these are the gateway to the Gorges de l'Auvézère and we suggest you go on a family hike on well-marked paths, punctuated with interpretive panels to learn more about this unique natural environment in Périgord. The more sporty among you will put on sneakers and to complete these routes in trail mode. The terrain is playful, the landscape as sumptuous as it is motivating (and demanding !).

Photos and video of the article © Guide du Périgord


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The medium mountains in Périgord: the Auvézère

Who said Périgord is monotonous? The countryside, the alluvial plains, the hilly relief of the Périgord Noir and its thousand-year-old valleys, all this complemented by the beauty of the Gorges de l'Auvézère! A well-kept secret… Steep relief , abrupt rocks and vegetation characteristic of the mid-mountain: it is very exotic and suddenly, as pretty in summer as in winter. We offer a winter hike, but all year round it is a treat for the whole family. Note that in winter there are very few people, while in summer you won't be able to keep the exclusivity of these pretty paths for long.


It seems that brave observers who get up early can see herds of mouflons climbing on the rocks along the river…. Shhhhhhhh!!


The Auvézère Gorges
Start of the hike, just after the bridge

The gorges are not easy to access, to say the least! Long reserved for whitewater kayakers, in particular experienced kayakers supervised by an instructor (in fr) (you will see slalom poles dedicated to whitewater kayaking at the start of the hike), trails have now been laid out flush with the course Auvézère, in complete safety. Hiking, mountain biking, trail (all-terrain running), you can park easily and come with your family, walk in this corner of paradise still quite confidential. Warning ! Be respectful of these places, the fauna, the flora, the property limits (stay on the delimited paths), so that everyone can enjoy the paths of the Auvézère gorges for a long time and in the best possible conditions.


The Auvézère Gorges
A magical atmosphere, crystal clear waters...


There are a multitude of activities to enjoy in the area, thanks to the natural geology. Supervised by outdoor activity leaders, through active summer (a program promoted by the Department to allow access to all, at reduced rates, to nature activities during the summer season, information from the Tourist Offices of the department), you will be able to practice climbing, caving, fishing... And maybe even find gold... in this auriferous river...


For the start of the hike, you can park on the place of Saint-Mesmin, there are several departures of possible circuits. Out of season, there are a few places near the starting point of the hike in the gorges, next to the Saint-Mesmin bridge on the D72E5 (easy to find on GPS or Google map). You need good hiking shoes, because even when laid out, the path remains stony and sometimes steep.


Saint-Mesmin Saint-Mesin
Saint-Mesmin
Departure of hike in Saint-Mesmin or directly at the bridge of Saint Mesmin (in low season)

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Hike in the Auvezère gorges, at your own pace

The start of the day's hike is under the Saint-Mesmin bridge which spans the river. At this place, it is the beginning of a fishing course following the regulations of the 1st fish category, with additional restrictions (such as the no kill of all trout caught) indicated by a sign. The Auvézère takes its source in the central massif, it crosses the plateau of Millevaches (nothing to do with cattle, it is rather to describe the thousands of small streams that form there), it is a pure and full of fish river, quite preserved despite the ancient presence of industries on its course. Not far away, in Savignac Lédrier, you can discover some very beautiful forges. There are also mills , such as that of Génis, the Moulin de Pervendoux.


Bridge of Saint-Mesin
The bridge of Saint-Mesmin

By taking one of the loops punctuated with beacons, you will cross two cable-stayed metal footbridges, installed by the Department and which blend into the landscape. Useful works to discover in complete safety , these gorges of unparalleled beauty.


The Auvézère Gorges Footbridge N°1

The Auvézère Gorges Footbridge The Gorges de l'Auvézère footbridge
The first footbridge that spans the Auvézère

You will come across the Saut du Ruban waterfall, which thunders and splashes with its brisk current, between the shale rocks. A little further on, the second footbridge offers a beautiful view overlooking the river. Coming early in the morning to the heart of the gorges, birdwatchers may come across sparrowhawks, forest woodpeckers, peregrine falcons and dippers. Sometimes we observe the famous mouflons, but also otters


The Auvézère Gorges The Saut du Ruban

The Auvézère Gorges The Saut du Ruban The Auvézère Gorges The ribbon jump
La Saut du Ruban, the waterfall is not very pronounced in winter, in favor of the water flow which produces a shattering tumult!


The Tourist Office which manages the activities and hikes of the Gorges de l'Auvézère is Naturellement Périgord , do not hesitate to consult their website, call them or come and see them in one of the offices for topo guides, information, good addresses according to your needs and desires. Download the hiking maps here (in fr).


The Auvézère Gorges Footbridge N°2

The Auvézère Gorges Footbridge N°2 Footbridge N°2 The Auvézère Gorges
The second footbridge and its plunging and deep view


This hike was carried out with David Monribot , multi-sport sports educator (in fr), contact him through his structure Explo Nature Évasion, if you are looking for a guide in this region of Périgord Vert, throughout the Dordogne and for the organization of stays athletes from Périgord!

Dogs on a leash are welcome on this family hike. Don't forget to bring a picnic, tables are available at the forges and in Saint-Mesmin, depending on the route taken. You can even go to the Rouffiac leisure center (14km walk, for sports enthusiasts). We wish you a pleasant moment in the Auvézère gorges !

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