La Fournaise volcano, Réunion islandLa Fournaise volcano, Réunion island

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  • Off the path Explo
    38 %
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    1.9 / 5
    Comments
    The Fournaise volcano is famous. Very. But your trek is so singular!
  • Article Quality
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    • Score
      5 / 5
      Comments
      Very good description!
    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Yes, and you added a plan!
    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Yes, many!
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      4 / 5
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      Yep.
    • Score
      4 / 5
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      Yep.
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An unforgettable trek to one of the most active volcano in the world, among lava and lunar landscapes...

My experience, Explo description: 

Appeared from the depths of the Indian ocean 3 millions years ago, the first Réunion volcano didn’t erupt for 20.000 years. This volcano is called Piton des Neiges (3070m). As the ocean around the island is about (4000m) deep, it means that this volcano is about 7000m high !

Then, a second volcano erupted, about 500.000 years ago. This volcano is active, mostly since the 50s : 1 or 2 eruptions per year ! And the most important occurred in spring 2007 !

That’s why it is imperative to visit the volcano museum to know what are the conditions before going up to the volcano...

If you look at the volcano from the sky (see the satellite map), you will notice that is it composed by a crater surrounded by 2 crowns : the first one is the "Enclos Fouqué", the second one is the "Plaine des Sables" (the sand plain).

The "Enclos Fouqué" is wild open to the east, permitting lava to escape from there to reach the see. This place is called the "Grand Brulé" depression, delimited by the Bois-Blanc rampart on the north, and by the Tremblet rampart on the south.

By opposition to the "Grey" explosive and dangerous volcanoes, La Fournaise is a "Red" volcano, made from basalt, with fluid lava : no explosion risk ! But, however, the volcano is dangerous : when the pression increase, the lava gets out of magma pockets, whereas their fragile walls collapse... Thus, in the spring 2007 occurred the "century eruption" : the Dolomieu crater suddenly collapsed (1200x700m diameter) by 200m !

And this collapse is a little one, compared to those that gave birth to the Mafate or Cilaos circuses...

Hiking to the top of La Fournaise volcano (2636m)

You can do it only if the access to the summit is authorised : get previously information at the volcano museum in Bourg-Murat. Since the eruption in 2007, the summit is absolutely not stable : at the Autumn 2008, the trail was not re-opened yet !

Start the trek from "Pas de Bellecombe" (2311m). From there, you will have a wonderful view over the volcano and its "Enclos". Take the stairs to down the rampart (100m lower). There, you will have like a kind of stressing feeling, to be right in the middle of a furious beast sanctuary...

200m from there, you will see the nice little red crater of "Formica Leo". Turn around it and go the Rosemont Chapel (Chapelle de Rosemont) : a curious rock overlooking a cave.

At the crossroad, take left on the trail (going east) to "La Soufrière" (Sulphur spot) (2550m), located on the north side of the Dolomieu crater. "La Soufrière" is a huge hole, opened in 1959, from where sulphur gas is still escaping from the ground. When the hole opened, it created huge flames, reaching sometimes a 40m height ! The area is dangerous, respect the barriers. From "La Soufrière", you will admire the inside of the Dolomieu crater, the biggest of the 2 summit craters.

From "La Soufrière", go right, to reach the Bory crater, the highest one (2636m). Then, once you did enjoy the panorama overlooking the whole island, go down to Rosamont chapel, and back to Pas de Bellecombe.

If you feel good, from "La Soufrière", you can go on the left side of the Dolomieu crater to reach the Bory crater.

If the crater access is forbidden, here is a "consolation" trek !

Start (again !) from Pas de Bellecombe and go to the Formica Leo crater. There, go right (the forbidden summit trail is on your left) to the south-east (follow the white signs). One hour later, you will pass along the Caubet and Rivals craters (dating from 1937) and the "Quatre Gueules" (Four heads) crater dating from 1953. This is the end of the trail, from where you have an interesting view over the "Chateau Fort" (the castle) : an impressing crater dating from 1948.

Go back using the same trail. 4 hours total time to go and return.

Nez Coupé de Sainte-Rose

If you can not go down in the "Enclos", here is an other interesting trek, starting from "Pas de Bellecombe".

The trail goes on the superior side of the Rempart, to the North-east. From there, you will have all the trip long wonderful views of the "Enclos" and the volcano. The trail reaches to the Piton de Nez Coupé (Cut nose peak) of Sainte Rose. From there, you will see the whole east side of the island. Go back using the same trail : 4 hours total time to go and return back.

A tip to sleep: 

Gite du Volcan (Volcano inn)
Tel :02 62 51 17 42 .
Reservation is mandatory. You can book from "La Maison de la Montagne" (the mountain house) in Saint-Denis (tel 02 62 90 78 78) or in tourism offices. The place dormitories are not really comfortable, and sanitary are not best quality, but you have no choice if you want to leave early the next morning to hike to the top of the volcano.
Afficher Le volcan de la Fournaise sur une carte plus grande

Useful information: 
Access security: 

Previous day : go to the volcano museum in Bourg-Murat.
Tel : 02 62 59 00 26
http://www.maisonduvolcan.fr
Volcano hot line : 0 262 275461

Take hiking shoes, take some water, a hat, a jacket, and solar cream. There is no shade nor water along the trek !!