Location ✦ Maïdo
Region ✦ Saint-Paul
Country ✦ La Réunion
Length ✦ 8kms
Dénivelé ✦ 540m
Difficulty ✦ MD
Duration ✦ 2h30 to 3h
Interest ✦ ★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 5'
From the parking lot, take the only stabilized path in line with the road. Turn right a little and you'll soon reach a small area with a table, the starting point for the trek.
Course 2h30 à 3h
The loop was chosen to avoid a round trip. No serious difficulty other than orientation in the transition between the1st and2nd sections. Not much of an elevation gain, and the forest trail is narrow in places, but well marked.
Part 1: join the ridge path (1h)
Turn left down the wooden steps from the starting point and follow the well-marked but unmarked path through the forest. It goes up and down, past small gullies and in places is narrow. After about 45′, mostly downhill, you come to a fork where the path to Îlet Alcide is signposted on the right, a possible route to avoid the tricky transition below. Otherwise, continue downhill. Further on, the road opens up a little and there are a few tin shacks with a few crops. At this point, fork right and then left to cross a lost wasteland, where the path is almost invisible in places. After 10′, you come out on a wider, better-marked path, the one leading to the islet on the right.
Part 2: Alcide islet and terraces (45′)
Follow this path as it rises steadily. We can make out the Rivières des Galets below and probably the relief on the opposite side, but invisible to us because of the low clouds. We pass the junction with the shortcut mentioned above. Keep going uphill until you find the sign on the left for Ilet Alcide. We're still in the forest and lush vegetation, and finally come to a small clearing with a table and 2 or 3 small ponds. This is Îlet Alcide. To enjoy the view over Mafate, continue following the signposts. At Les Terrasses, at 1510m, you can glimpse the heart of the cirque without actually reaching the edge of the rampart.
Part 3: Return via Roi des Tamarins (1h)
This route back to the starting point is very well signposted all the way and always passes through the same forest. Small climbs, small descents and torrent crossings with no real difficulty. We pass the foot of the Roi des Tamarins, which sits at the heart of the forest at 19m and is 400 years old. We finally get back to the starting area.
Simply drive in the opposite direction back to the parking lot.