Mount Gerbier de Jonc rises north of the Ardèche. Its origin goes back 7 million years ago. More or less… we’re not a century or two away, are we? This mountain culminates at 1,551 meters. From its summit you will discover a magnificent panorama of the surrounding landscapes. It is also here, between Ardèche and Haute-Loire, that the Loire comes from.
It can be seen from afar, rocky nipple erected in the green landscapes of the north of the Ardèche. Mount Gerbier de Jonc is a volcanic relief that was formed at the time when the volcanoes of the central massif were still active. This is an example of the ardéchois “sucs”, those volcanic domes typical of the Ardèche. In addition to Mount Gerbier de Jonc, these sucs are Montfol, Sepoux, Seponet, Taupernas and Lauzière.
Due to its terrain, the climate of the Ardèche and the geology, Mount Gerbier de Jonc possesses an exceptional natural richness. Both the fauna and the flora.
The sources of the Loire
Mount Gerbier de Jonc owes part of its fame to the Loire, which originates there. The river has many sources here. the water table beneath the mountain gives rise to several sources. Three of them are highlighted and listed as the sources of the Loire. The “authentic source” has been highlighted by a monument since 1938, the “geographic source” flows into a stone trough inside a barn with a lauze roof and the “true source” is the source indicated on the land map. She comes out of the ground in a meadow, under a lauze that bears the inscription “Here begins my road to the ocean”! Each of these three sources gives a trickle of water. The 3 nets meet quickly to form a thin stream. Very quickly the creek become important and become the Loire, the longest river in France. A 3-kilometre loop on foot allows you to discover the 3 springs of the Loire.
The ascent of Mount Gerbier in Jonc
A large car park is accessible at the foot of the mountain. The ascent of Mount Gerbier de Jonc will take about 30 minutes, on a marked trail. Round trip, count an hour and a half to get to its summit. Although relatively short, the ascent of the mountain is however quite sporty. So think about getting good shoes. But the effort will be rewarded. At the top of Mount Gerbier de Jonc awaits a breathtaking panorama that encompasses the Ardèche, the Haute-Loire and, in the distance, the Alps. The bravest will get up before daybreak to watch the sunrise. The show is sumptuous.
However, if you want to discover the mountain and its surroundings, other hikes are possible from more remote car parks.
If you used to pay to go on the trail, the ascent of Mount Gerbier de Jonc is now free.