Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Dolomieu Crater)

at Sainte-Rose

11.6 km
Round-trip
Walking/pedestrian
5h 15min
Hard
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-4.jpgUne pause au Commerson
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-3.jpgUne pause au Commerson
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-1.jpgDébut de l'éruption du 2 janvier 2010
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-2.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-5.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-6.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-7.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-8.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-9.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-10.jpgL'extraordinaire éruption d'avril 2007
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-11.jpgL'effondrement du cratère du Dolomieu
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-12.jpgDe la Porte jusqu'au pied du rempart
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-13.jpgLa montée au Dolomieu
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-14.jpgLe fond de l'Enclos
Piton de la Fournaise (Pas de Bellecombe-Cratère Dolomieu)-15.jpgLe Formica Leo
  • Reunion Island came into being thanks to the activity of three volcanoes: the Piton des Neiges (3071m), which caused the formation of two-thirds of the island and is now dormant, Alizé volcano at the bottom of the Rivière de l’Est, and Piton de la Fournaise (2621m), one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, and responsible the forming the south-eastern third of the island. Like Hawaii’s volcanoes, its fluid, non-explosive lava flows slowly downhill. Almost exclusively in the uninhabited area of Enclos, and sometimes down to the sea. Immense plumes of steam testify to the struggle going on between the elements. A magnificent spectacle very popular among Reunion Islanders. Climbing to the top of Piton de la Fournaise is like a geology book come to life: the Commerson crater, the view over the Rivière des Remparts, Pas des Sables, the lunar plain known as the "Plaine des Sables" and its pitons, and finally, the majestic view of Piton de la Fournaise from Pas de Bellecombe. All these elements combined explain the Reunion island's turbulent creation and continue to shape its beauty every single day. October 2010 saw the last eruption, but the one that sticks in people’s memory is the eruption of 2007: millions of cubic metres of lava spilled into the sea, covering the road to a thickness of over 60 metres. A new beach of black sand was created, and, very unusually, the summit crater collapsed in on itself, revealing a gaping hole 300 metres deep. Getting to the edge of this spectacular depression is the goal of the hike that we’re going to describe next.
  • Difference in height
    516.31 m
  • Route interest
    Panoramic view of the Enclos Fouqué and Piton de la Fournaise Walking on the solidified rope lava View of the collapsed Dolomieu Crater
  • Equipment
    Gourd, raincoat, hiking shoes in good condition, Warm clothes, Energy food, Sunscreen, Hat, Paracetamol, Camera, Sleeping bag.
  • Quality standards
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
Points of interest
How to reach the start
The volcano gîte and Pas de Bellecombe car park are accessible by car except in exceptional circumstances. From the north or south, take the Route des Plaines to the Maison du Volcan in Bourg Murat. The Route du Volcan begins next to the car park of the Maison du Volcan. The panels are very obvious and the Route du Volcan road crosses pastures that remind you of metropolitan landscapes. When you reach Nez de Boeuf, stop at the stunning viewpoint over the Rivière des Remparts. Pass the Commerson Crater, and the tour begins at Pas des Sables.
0 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 0,6 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 0,6 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 0,8 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 0,9 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 1,1 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 1,8 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 2,3 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 2,9 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 3,7 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 4,2 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 5,6 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu 5,6 km : Pas de Bellecombe - Cratère Dolomieu (2005)
Steps
0 km - Leave the car park and head for the Piton de la Fournaise viewpoint, standing in the middle of the Enclos. There’s an orientation table close to the viewpoint. You then head off to the left.

0.5 km - After a short descent, you reach the gateway to the Enclos. Continuing straight ahead, the path leads to Piton Partage. Just above the gateway is a very nice viewpoint of the Enclos and the Formica Léo. Once past the gateway, you begin the descent into the Enclos Fouqué.

0.8 km - You quickly reach a sloping ledge 50 metres long which marks two-thirds of the descent.

1.0 km – You’ve reached the foot of the rampart, in the Enclos, and now head towards the Formica Léo crater. It owes its name to its resemblance to the crater formed by the larva of the ant-lion, an insect that traps and feeds on ants. Because of heavy erosion, we advise you not to climb on this small crater.



3.4 km - Halfway up, take a short break because the lack of oxygen and especially the heat really make their presence felt.

4.3 km - You have arrived between what remains of the Trou de la Soufrière and the Julien Crater. La Soufrière is a volcanic vent with a yellowish colour due to the sulphur. It partly collapsed following the 2007 eruption. The summit of Dolomieu is nearby and the trail continues on a slight gradient.

5.5 km – You’ve arrived at the edge of the crater! An observation platform is outlined with a white mark. Don’t cross this line due to the risk of landslides. This won’t stop you admiring the gaping 300-metre-deep chasm right in the middle of a beautiful rocky landscape. The return trip is by the same route, which ends with a steep 100-metre climb to go out of the Enclos Fouqué and return to the car park.
516 meters of difference in height
  • Start altitude : 2352 m
  • End altitude : 2348 m
  • Maximum altitude : 2486 m
  • Minimum altitude : 2213 m
  • Total positive elevation : 516 m
  • Total negative elevation : -520 m
  • Max positive elevation : 260 m
  • Min positive elevation : -260 m