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It is possible to take a trip for a day from Cannes to the Verdon Canyon and back. Driving from the Riviera and back on a day for hiking is not recommended. The road is relatively winding and slow, and the drive includes a section through the city of Grasse, which makes it even a longer trip. It is however, a reasonable drive for a day trip if you just want to visit as opposed to hike. One route is Cannes to Route 85, to 952 and 23. Two towns on this trek are Castellane and Palud sur Verdon. From the two, Castellane is bigger, with more hotels and restaurants and a few Bed and Breakfast. It would make a good base for hiking the area. Route 23, which follows the rim has spectacular views from the gorge.
For those without the stomach for winding mountain roads, the route to the charming village of Moustiers Saint Marie via route D957 crosses the gorge. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boats are available for hire at Lac St Croix bridge.
Hiking The Sentier Martel. This splendid hike, (14 km – 5 hours-6 hours), has become the classic in the gorges. Sometimes from an overhang, sometimes along the water, it follows the course of the Verdon river. The trail has its charm regardless the direction from which you start, but it’s easier when starting from Chalet de la Maline and walking back towards your vehicle at Couloir Samson or Point Sublime, since the steeper sections are on the way down. The trail goes through two tunnels; a torch/flashlight is essential.
Plan to leave a vehicle at the end of the trail or use one of the taxis of the gorges. There’s a shuttle bus in the summer. There are also taxis that makes the trip from one point to the other, their business cards glued to the posts at the points described. Chalet de la Maline consists of three buildings: two beautiful buildings with stone walls, tiled roofs and a small barn typical of Provence. It can sleep 59 people in 6 dormitories. There is a spacious dining room and best of all, an exceptional panorama terrace. They serve drinks and food in the evening. ATTENTION Chalet de la Maline is closed until May 3 2013 for renovation.
Whatever the height of the water in the dams in Castellane the path is clear and dry in any season and a guide is not necessary. Dogs and mountain bikes are forbidden on the trail.