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Hiking on Reunion Island

Explore the island’s footpaths

Reunion Island, a hiker’s paradise

Reunion Island is the perfect place for hiking. For all hikers, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced, the island has over 900 km of marked trails. These trails cross over varied environments, all breathtakingly beautiful: dense tropical forests in the east; savannah or sugarcane fields in the west; the lunar landscapes of the volcano, coastal walks with the sound of the waves.

This unique variety of landscapes has earned Reunion Island and its Pitons, Cirques and Ramparts a place on the list of natural treasures, classified as world heritage by Unesco, since 2010.

When should we go hiking on Reunion Island ?

You can enjoy some great sunny hiking expeditions between June and October when the climate is ideal.

It’s possible to go hiking all year round on Reunion Island.

January to March is the wet season so make sure you check the condition of the footpaths before setting off.

Hiking on Reunion Island: the island’s footpaths

Reunion Island has three “Grande Randonnée” hiking trails that are classified by the French Hiking Federation.

The GR®R1 (60 km) is a tour of the Piton des Neiges  and goes through the Cirques of Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos.

The GR®R2 (130 km) crosses the island from north to south, from the shores to the highest peaks (Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise).

The GR® R3 (39 km) winds around the Cirque of Mafate, which is only accessible on foot: this authentic walk is a guaranteed change of scenery, with opportunities to meet the locals of the “ilets”, the small villages dotted around the heart of the National Park.

The Island's 3 trails

Did you know ?

GR stands for “Grande Randonnée” in French. Jean Loiseau, an avid walker, created the GR markings. When the paid holidays scheme was introduced in 1936, he decided to share his passion for walking. Ten years later, in 1946, the signalling rules for GR marking appeared. Today, there are 369 GR hiking trails all over France.

Which shoes are suitable for hiking on Reunion Island ?

For hiking, shoes must be chosen according to the body shape of the hiker and the type of ground they will be walking on. Choosing the right shoes is important to avoid causing any harm to yourself. Here are some recommendations so that you can find the right shoes for you.

The sole

 

The choice of sole is also very important If you’re planning on walking along winding and technical trails, you’ll need a wide and solid sole to avoid hurting your ankles on the rocky paths of Reunion Island.

The upper

 

The upper is the part of your shoe that covers the top of your foot. There are three sorts of upper: high-top, mid-top and low-top. High-top shoes cover the entire foot and provide good support for the ankles. These shoes are suitable for long hiking expeditions, technical hikes and for beginners who would like the best support when walking. Low-top shoes don’t support the ankle. They don’t offer the same level of safety, but they are cooler and lighter. These shoes are recommended for short walks with few uphill sections, or for quick walks. There’s also an in-between option: the mid-top. The type of shoe upper that you choose depends mainly on the walker and how they walk.

 

Find out about the hiking trails you would like to take on before choosing the right pair of shoes.

Toe caps

 

Toe caps are fitted at the end of the shoe, around the toes. They will protect you from impacts. You are likely to come across volcanic rocks along the hiking trails of Reunion Island. We therefore advise you to choose shoes with toe caps.

 

 

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