It’s hard to believe, but I only discovered the Gorges de Colombières this summer. To my surprise, these beautiful gorges are not very far from the more famous Gorges de Héric, but are somehow less frequented. Which is weird, because it is a gorgeous spot, with stunning landscapes, right in the heart of the ‘Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc’.
I wanted to do a hike around the gorges, but the family wasn’t as enthusiastic as I. So, I figured out that I had to tempt our kids with a reward if they completed the walk with me. Without whining that is. I don’t know how you get your children to walk with you, but our threesome isn’t that keen on hiking anymore. However, when I promised them a swim in a very cool place, their curiosity was sparked.
We parked our car behind the Mairie of Colombières-sur-Orb, which also is the starting point for some hikes. I couldn’t make my family do the big 5-hour hike while it was still over 30 degrees outside. Therefore, we decided to walk the shorter 2-hour walk called ‘Les Balcons d’Arles’ around the village. A beautiful trail, but it didn’t take us into the canyon. So, when we arrived back at the parking lot, we headed to the little nearby bar. After some well-earned refreshments, we climbed the impressive rocks and finally arrived in the actual Gorges de Colombières.
Despite the name of the village- Colombières-sur-Orb- it is actually the Arles streamlet that flows through the Gorges de Colombières and not the River Orb. The terrain is also rougher than the Gorges d’Héric, which might explain why fewer people visit it. After climbing the larger rocks at the beginning, we followed a narrow, unsteady path, which led us to the gorge. It was worth the effort though, as we soon reached some incredible naturally formed pools with crystal clear water, perfect for swimming. In some places, the water was even a sparkling emerald green!
The kids soon forgot about the hike we had just completed. Instead, they were preoccupied for quite some climbing and sliding from the rocks into the cold water. We tried to scramble up the canyon a bit further, discovering more gorgeous pools. Some of them are really deep, while others have small waterfalls. We all fell in love with this stunning place, and the kids keep asking me when we are going back. Chuckling to myself, I concluded that, despite the hike, it was a successful day-out after all.