Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is the ultimate experience for pure beauty. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the tropics, it is also an important venue for trail enthusiasts.
Reunion Island is full of trails and vertiginous landscapes. Mafate and its landforms carpeted with vegetation, Salazie and its remote villages and the island's highest peaks: Piton des Neiges, Gros Morne, the Maïdo rampart, Grand Bénare are all crossed with exceptional routes.
Reunion Island has a diverse climate and a wide range of vegetation, from the coastline to the peaks, from the arid West coast to the lush East coast and not forgetting the interior. For thrill seekers, the island is the ultimate experience with its different landforms: vertiginous slopes, summits, peaks and rocks, forests and river channels. Hold your breath as you approach Trou de Fer the 300m deep canyon, where waterfalls tumble in pearly torrents; let out a sigh when you discover the volcanic majesty of the immense caldera of Piton de la Fournaise; stroll along the rampart of Piton Maïdo; climb Piton des Neiges, taking in the spectacular ridge of Trois Salazes. Trail enthusiasts who like a good climb are in their element with all the different trails that roam through the steepest areas.
Reunion Island is a paradise for trail runners. It has more than 900 kilometres of marked trails and three long distance footpaths through the Pitons, cirques and ramparts, which have been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2010.
Three long-distance footpaths
Three routes have been designated long distance footpaths by the French Walking Federation - what more could trekkers want. Accompanied by experienced guides or by yourself, the succession of exceptional sites and landscapes help you discover Reunion Island in complete peace of mind.
- The GR R1 loops round the famous Piton des Neiges, which at 3,071 meters high is the island's highest summit and crosses the three cirques: Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos. The GR R1 is 60 kilometres long and can be covered in six stages passing through the heart of the mountains.
- The GR R2 crosses the island from North to South over a distance of 130 kilometres: mountain peaks, nature reserves, cirques, Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise are all on the itinerary.
- The GR R3 can be covered in five days. This route fully explores the cirque of Mafate, which is only accessible on foot.
The ultimate experience and exceptional trail running routes
The all-terrain routes through forests and mountains are a real challenge for trail runners confronted by the island's landforms. Trail runs are held throughout the year in a mystical atmosphere, an extraordinary setting and a natural environment as surprising as it is varied.
The most famous race, called the Grand Raid, or "the Crazy Diagonal" is without doubt the most prestigious trail race organised on Reunion Island. Every year this legendary race attracts thousands of enthusiasts to the island from all over the world. Everyone participating in this exceptional adventure enjoys the privilege of running across Reunion Island diagonally, from South to North via the green interior and taking part in a top level physical and sporting activity - the ultimate experience.
They surpass themselves, they test themselves to the limit, they soul search, but the harder the challenge, the greater the ecstasy. Trail running on Reunion Island is an unforgettable experience in paradise. The rules are strict but the setting is amazing.
Reunion Island is one of the pioneers in organising mountain races. There are various specialist organisations (Ilop Sports, Randorun, etc.) and nearly all the Reunionese clubs offer a host of trails and races in the mountains all year long: trail du Colorado, trail des Anglais, Raid 974, Cimazalazienne, Transdimitile etc.
Always check the weather, the state of the trails and advice about holidays in the mountains before undertaking any hike. Check the Reunion Island information and booking platform.