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Best Hiking Trails in Réunion

Overview

Réunion is a stunning Indian Ocean island, an overseas French department, and found off the coast of Madagascar.  There are more than 1000 km of hiking trails, found within the UNESCO World Heritage National Park, taking up almost half of this small island. The island is dominated by the three Cirques – Salazie, Cilaos and Mafate – which are volcanic depressions providing staggering natural landscapes with, luckily, hiking trails laced throughout.  The best months of the year to hike on Reunion island are May – October.  Read on for more information on where and when to hike on Reunion Island.

Capital: St-Denis

When To Hike in Réunion?

May – Nov: (driest, coolest during summer months)
Apr; Dec:
Jan – Mar: (too rainy, cyclone risk)
Climate: Tropical – hot and humid throughout the year; weather has a tendency to get worse as the day goes on.  West coast is sunnier than east coast (and less rainy).  Also, given the altitude in the mountains, it can be balmy on coast and very chilly up in the mountains.

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy – Medium: Abundant well marked trails, the only thing is watching out for washed out trails. There are also gites de montagne and gites d’etape.

Transportation required: Bus service to many trailheads

Where to stay in Reunion:

  • Cilaos
  • Hell-Bourg
  • Saint-Denis (city)
  • Saint-Andre

Top Places to Hike in Réunion

Almost half the island is a UNESCO World Heritage National Park and is amenable to hiking. The highest peak is Piton des Neiges (3071 m).

Filter out hiking places of Réunion by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Reunion National Park

  • Reunion National Park – covers 42% of the island; Reunion National Park
  • Piton des Neiges
  • Piton de la Fournaise – most popular attraction, an active volcano but can hike right up to rim
  • Three Cirques – these are ‘amphitheaters’ on the island that are spectacular to hike
    • Cirque de Mafate – wildest and most remote of the three Cirques
    • Cirque de Salazie – wettest of the three Cirques and the ‘flattest’, more lush
    • Cirque de Cilaos – soaring peaks, incl Piton des Neiges
  • Fôret de Bébour-Bélouve
  • Hiking from one of the many towns
  • GR R1
  • GR R2
  • GR R3

Réunion's Long Distance Trails

There are many possibilities for multi-day hikes on Reunion Island.  Below are a listing of the the three Grande Randonnées (long distance trails) on Reunion:

Réunion's Walking & Hiking Resources

Réunion Hiking Books: 

  • Lonely Planet Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles, by Matt Phillips, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Anthony Ham, 2019, Lonely Planet Global Limited
  • L’Île de la Réunion (2018), published by the FFRandonée (describing the GR Routes)
  • 62 Randonnées Réunionnaises (2011), published by the FFRandonée

 

Réunion Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Réunion: There are so many hikes that could be considered the best in Reunion, these are just a handful

  • Piton des Neiges
  • Piton de la Fournaise
  • Grand Bénare
  • Maïdo to Roche Plate
  • Grand Bassin
  • Col du Taïbit
  • Sentier de la Chapelle
  • Col de Boeufs to La Nouvelle

Easy Hiking Trails in Réunion: 

  • Trou de Fer
  • Grand Etang
  • La Roche Merveilleuse
  • Fenêtre des Makes

 

Réunion Hiking Websites:

 

Réunion Weather websites:

 

Réunion Official Tourism Site:  

 

Réunion Hiking Apps: 

 

Réunion Hiking Maps: 

  • Institut Géographique National (IGN) – the premier mapmaking organization for France and French territories – Reunion Walking & Hiking Maps

What Else To Do

  • Diving/snorkeling
  • Surfing
  • Beaches

Other Important Points

  • The large amount of rainfall can wash away trails so you need navigation skills
  • Known for many shark attacks; they’ve taken measures to address this