How to reach the start
The fastest way is to take Route des Tamarins; the Maïdo exit is signposted. It’s located on the western part of the road at the village of Eperon. Then follow the signs that take you through the villages of Fleurimont, Guillaume and Petite France. You gradually pass from populated areas to cane fields and then forests. The climate of Petite France is like you get in urban areas. At this point, the forest is made up of mimosas, called cassia in Reunion Island. After Petite-France, the region is uninhabited. The road passes through a superb forest of highland tamarinds mixed with calumet bamboo, a variety endemic to Reunion Island, and ferns. The forest then gives way to high-mountain vegetation that’s shorter and more bushy: it shows you’re nearly there. After an hour’s drive from Saint-Paul, you reach the car park at the Maïdo viewpoint.
0 km - After admiring the view of Mafate from the Maïdo viewpoint, leave the car park heading south. Then follow the white markers which go left, which lead to the Grand Bord path, towards the mound. As you approach, the route is covered with red earth.
0.6 km - You reach the top of the mound on which stands a statue. From here, you can view the west coast. You can see the coast from Le Port, Saint Paul to the Ermitage lagoon.
1.5 km - Continue along the Grand Bord trail. The trail becomes rocky, but permanently overlooks the Cirque of Mafate, and you can continue enjoying the cirque throughout your journey.
2.4 km - You arrive at the junction with the Glacière path. To the right, the path leads to the Grotte de la Glacière. Continue straight ahead.
3.2 km - A few high-altitude flowers break the monotony of this vegetation which consists mainly of thickets. Half-way to Grand Bénare, we can see Piton des Neiges, which is no longer masked by Gros Morne, and admire more closely Trois Roches, Plaine aux Sables and Marla.
3.6 km - You reach a junction. Continue straight ahead.
4.8 km - At this junction, a trail heads off right again towards La Glacière. You’re still near the edge of the rampart, and continue to climb towards Grand Bénare.
7.0 km - The last part of the climb is made difficult by the large pebbles that make up the trail, but you’re rewarded by this panoramic view of the Cirques de Cilaos and Mafate. The return journey is by the same Grand Bord trail.