Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle

Walking/pedestrian at Salazie

11.1 km
4h 35min
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-1.jpgDu parking au col des Boeufs
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-11.jpgDescente du rempart
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-5.jpgPlaine des Tamarins
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-8.jpgPlaine des Tamarins
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-4.jpgPlaine des Tamarins
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-6.jpgPlaine des Tamarins
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-9.jpgEntre la Plaine des Tamarins et la dernière descente vers La Nouvelle
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-12.jpg
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-2.jpgVue du Bronchard depuis La Nouvelle
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-7.jpgAncienne maison de l'ONF en bardeaux qui servait aussi d'école (au fond)
Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle-3.jpgLa Nouvelle
  • This is the "classic" route into the Cirque of Mafate. Accessible to everyone, this route takes you to the most populated islet in Mafate, which also offers the largest range of accommodation. The islet also has the only bakery in the cirque and is a pleasant central place to relax. After seeing an exodus of its population in the middle of the 20th century, this islet experienced a renewed dynamism thanks to tourism. Previously, La Nouvelle's economy was geared towards food crops and livestock, mainly cattle. The latter provide the origin of the name of the pass that marks the changeover to the Cirque of Salazie. It’s still common today to see cattle at the bottom of the pass in the Plaine des Tamarins. Their presence on this plateau, in the middle of this forest of ancient trees, tortuous and always green, sometimes swallowed up in the mists, brings a fantastical atmosphere to this part of the hike. To experience the special atmosphere that inhabits the natural sanctuary of Mafate, we recommend you book a gîte in La Nouvelle and make the return journey the next day.
    When you’re at Col des Bœufs, you might like to climb the two hairpins leading to the viewpoint, to the right of the pass. The view over the two cirques of Mafate and Salazie here is exceptional. In particular, you can admire Maïdo, the southern part of Mafate, Plaine des Tamarins and the entire Cirque of Salazie. The first part of the route, from the car park to the Plaine des Tamarins, follows the GRR3. The rest of the route to La Nouvelle is on the GRR1.
  • Difference in height
    695.01 m
  • Route interest
    Easy entry into the Cirque of Mafate Viewpoint on the Cirques of Mafate and Salazie Plaine des Tamarins The islet of La Nouvelle
  • Equipment
    Gourd, Paracetamol, raincoat, Hiking shoes in good condition, Warm clothing, Energy food, Dressings, Hat, Detailed maps, Camera.
  • Did you know ?
    Cirque of Mafate straddles the communes of Saint-Paul and La Possession. The Rivière des Galets forms the boundary between the communes: on the left bank you’re in the commune of Saint-Paul, on the right bank you’re in that of La Possession.
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
How to reach the start
To get to Col des Boeufs, head towards Salazie, and after passing the Voile de la Marée waterfall, take the rightmost road at the next junction, towards Grand Ilet. At the entrance to Grand Ilet, follow the sign indicating the direction of Bélier and Col des Boeufs on the left. After three kilometres, you reach a junction and go straight ahead, taking the forest road that leads to Col des Boeufs. Go to the end of this road and enter the guarded car park where your vehicle will be safe for the modest price of 10 euros per night.
0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 0,3 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 1,0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 1,0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 1,2 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 1,6 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 2,0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 2,2 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 2,3 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 2,6 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 3,8 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 4,1 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 4,7 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 4,8 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 5,0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 5,0 km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle 5,0km : Col des Boeufs - La Nouvelle
0 km - After leaving your car in the car park, continue on foot along the forest road towards Col des Bœufs.

0.4 km - Ignore on your left the fork which leads to Col de Fourche, and continue straight ahead.

1.2 km – You reach Col des Bœufs. At the containers, on the right, go up to the viewpoint, where a magnificent view of the Cirques de Salazie and Mafate awaits you, then retrace your steps and start the descent towards La Nouvelle.

1.5 km - The descent is by wooden steps at the steepest part. Admire the panoramas over Mafate, and especially Plaine des Tamarins. The descent becomes less steep.

2.0 km - You soon arrive at the junction with the trail that goes up to the left towards Col de Fourche. Continue the descent.

2.7 km - You arrive at Plaine des Tamarins, flat and sometimes muddy. Ignore on your left the GRR3 trail which heads off towards Marla and continue straight ahead towards La Nouvelle (GRR1) through the Plaine des Tamarins. The trail passes through this vast expanse planted with Highland Tamarinds, in a fantastic setting.

4.0 km - You have passed through Plaine des Tamarins, and start the final descent towards La Nouvelle.

4.4 km - You reach a junction. You can either take the trail on the left which leads to La Nouvelle via Plateau des Chênes, or continue straight ahead on the GRR1.

4.9 km - You reach a junction: it’s the return path from Plateau des Chênes. Continue straight ahead.

5.2 km – You’re almost there, and you can see La Nouvelle at the bottom of this last descent.

5.7 km - Pass the bakery, the church and arrive in the centre of the islet of La Nouvelle. Enjoy a few minutes’ rest before continuing on your way back.
695 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 1837 m
  • End altitude : 1839 m
  • Maximum altitude : 1963 m
  • Minimum altitude : 1444 m
  • Total positive elevation : 695 m
  • Total negative elevation : -694 m
  • Max positive elevation : 193 m
  • Min positive elevation : -197 m