Echelle du Roi (king's ladder)
Echelle du Roi (king's ladder)
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For someone touring the Monts d'Ardèche, a stop at the Pont du Diable is a must, and a memorable experience. This walk shortened version of a longer hike (the Echelle de la Reine that takes you to the other side of the Ardèche River) helps to understand the site better thanks to various viewpoints set along the way, with evocative names : la Gueule d'Enfer (Hell's mouth), le Pont du Diable (Devil's bridge) La Chaussée des Géants (Giant's Causeway), l'Echelle du Roi... Local geology inspired the toponyms. And it is easy to understand : the landscapes are very impressive. From the stadium and the Gueule d'Enfer belvederes, the sights on the bridge and the river are gorgeous and one never gets tired of the wonderful geometry of the columnar basalt overlooking a large part of the walk. As to the Echelle du Roi itself, what a work it must have been to carve stairs into the basalt flow !
- From Thueyts' square, take the road N102 (white and yellow markings) towards Aubenas/Neyrac.
- Just before the bridge, turn left towards the Via Ferrata/ Pont du Diable. To enjoy the sight, you can cross the bridge to look at the Pont du Diable site from the Gueule d'Enfer belvedere. Just before the water-treatment plant, turn right, go under the bridge and on the calade (cobblestone path) under the columnar basalt.
- At the crossways, turn right towards "Echelle du Roi, Pont du Diable".
- At the next crossways, turn left towards "Fargebelle 1.8 km, Jaujac 9.1 km".
- Once on the road, turn right towards "Pont du Diable". At the "plage publique" board, turn right on the road. Head past the reception buildings of the Via Ferrata and the site, and go towards the stairs in front of the Pont du Diable.
- Just before the bridge, at the Tortue interpretive board, take the stairs on your right bearing the sign "Thueyts par Echelle du Roi 20 min, Via Ferrata rive gauche, 5 min." At the base of the basalt flow, turn left. Head past the Via Ferrata and continue straight ahead along the flow under the impressive columns. At the corner of the flow, follow "Thueyts, Echelle du Roi, 0.9 km. You will reach the foot of the grand Echelle du Roi, stairs carved into the basalt flow. Climb it to a first small belvedere, then the stairs become more spaced out, up to a second belvedere indicating the top of the flow and overlooking the Ardèche Valley.
- At the football field, turn right along the valley, then take the stairs up to the top of the hill where an interpretive board explains the flow you are walking on. Before skirting the football field, don't miss the view on the Pont du Diable from the belvedere.
- At the reception board of the site, take the road on your right back to the village (chemin de la Condamine).
- Back on the road N102, turn right towards Thueyts' square, your starting point.
- Departure : Thueyts, at the village square
- Towns crossed : THUEYTS
Access and parking
From Aubenas, take the direction of Le-Puy-en-Velay and continue on the road N102 up to the village of Thueyts.
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