The 11 most beautiful walks in the Tarn

Le tour du lac du Messal

Are you in the mood for nature? Then set off on one of the most adventurous hikes in the Tarn!

Tarn is a French department in the Occitanie region. It owes its name to the river Tarn, which carved out a wide alluvial plain in this rural territory of limestone plateaus and deep forests.

The Tarn is a rural and wild area: total disconnection guaranteed here! Today, the Generation Voyage team invites you to discover this mysterious département on foot.

Rural itineraries, lunar landscapes, unique panoramas: the choice is yours! The best hikes in the Tarn are presented in our top list.

1. The heritage trail via chemin de Mespel

Randonnées Tarn : Le sentier du patrimoine via chemin de Mespel

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 1h30

Distance: 5.8 km

Difference in altitude: 285 m

Difficulty: Medium

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Welcome to the Forêt Domaniale de Grésigne for this shortened variant of the famous Puycelsi heritage trail. This Tarn hike starts from the historic village of Puycelsi and takes in some lovely steep slopes in the undergrowth.

You’ll run alongside the Audoulou stream, which will keep you cool during the hottest months of the year. Between waterfalls, Roman roads and age-old ruins, this varied, well-marked itinerary is perfect for a family outing.

Round off your visit with a tour of Puycelsi, an authentic gem of Albigensian regional heritage!

2. Lake Montagnès

Le lac de Montagnès

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: approx. 5 hours

Distance: 15.9 km

Difference in altitude: 734 m

Difficulty: Difficult

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Lac de Montagnès (with the accent!) is easily accessible from the town of Mazamet. We suggest you start from Hautpoul, a historic Cathar town.

Climb then descend the Arnette gorges to the Mazamet footbridge. Perched at a height of 70 metres, it’s guaranteed to thrill!

Continue along the lush green slopes of the Montagne Noire to the Montagnès lake, where you’ll find plenty of fun activities. Here you can rest before making your way back, where the Arnette valley reveals itself along the way. Splendid, isn’t it?

3. Around Lac des Cammazes

Randonnée Tarn : Le tour du lac des Cammazes

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: approx. 4 hours

Distance: 16.1 km

Difference in altitude: 410 m

Difficulty: Medium

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This Tarn hike departs from the village of Les Cammazes for a rural escapade around the lake of the same name. It all starts with the Cammazes tunnel, bored by Vauban under Louis XIV.

We also owe him the landscaping of the trail, and in particular the planting of deciduous trees: in those days, people liked to walk in the shade! Streams refresh your itinerary all the way to the peaceful Lac des Cammazes.

In the distance, the ruins of the castle of the Lords of Roquefort watch over this sumptuous land of plenty!

4. The Crêtes de Lautrec trail

Le sentier des Crêtes de Lautrec

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 1h45

Distance: 7.1 km

Difference in altitude: 228 m

Difficulty: Medium

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Lautrec… This simply splendid village is the pride of the Tarn region. This hike offers you the chance to admire it from every angle. This short, easy loop takes you around the hills overlooking Lautrec. The medieval town almost steals the show from the Montagne Noire!

In both cases, we recommend that you do the course in autumn to enjoy the ochre colors of the vegetation. Trail runners will appreciate the reasonable gradient, ideal for a gentle recovery!

5. Crossing from Hautpoul to the Mazamet footbridge

Randonnée Tarn : Traversée d’Hautpoul à la passerelle de Mazamet

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 1h30

Distance: 4.8 km

Difference in altitude: 331 m

Difficulty: Easy

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Hautpoul is a major historical site. This cradle of the town of Mazamet was a refuge for Cathars persecuted by the forces of the Church. It’s easy to understand the importance of its fortifications, still visible today, and its geographical location.

It stands on a rocky outcrop, as does the Mazamet footbridge, a spectacular suspension bridge that you’ll cross… without fear, of course, on this hike in the Tarn.

Between cliffs, hills and forest, it will delight lovers of wide open spaces discovering the fabulous landscapes of the area!

6. The Arifat waterfalls trail

Le sentier des cascades d’Arifat

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Oligo22

Duration: 30 minutes

Distance: 2.3 km

Height difference: 121 m

Difficulty: Easy

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How convenient: the Arifat waterfalls parking lot is located next to the old castle of this village in central Tarn. Once you’ve parked your car, come and admire this unique natural site and its 80-metre-high waterfalls.

The itinerary would have pleased Indiana Jones himself: between 13th-century ruins, waterfalls and suspended footbridges, this loop has a distinctly playful side. Children are welcome here, provided they wear high boots… and take care: it’s slippery in places!

7. Lacrouzette

Lacrouzette

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 4 hours

Distance: 16.1 km

Difference in altitude: 424 m

Difficulty: Medium

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This Tarn hike takes you through some of the most picturesque villages in this mysterious département. From the hamlet of Lacrouzette, you’ll pass through Belherbette to Lac du Merle.

Your itinerary continues to the « Rochers Décalés » site. The rocks of the Sidobre are very special: they seem to have been thrown from the sky. Right in the middle of the Haut-Languedoc regional nature park, the site is the largest granite plateau in Europe.

On your return, you can round off your hike with a visit to the Maison du Sidobre in Le Bez. You’ll find out more about this site of character in this fascinating museological space.

8. Sérenac forest

Randonnée Tarn : La forêt de Sérenac

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: less than 1 hour

Distance: 3.5 km

Height difference: 54 m

Difficulty: Easy

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The Sérenac forest is dense and made up entirely of deciduous and coniferous trees. Each season is more beautiful than the last. So we don’t recommend any particular season for this Tarn hike!

The (shady, needless to say) itinerary passes through clearings, fern groves and multi-centenary oaks. At the heart of the forest is a leisure center offering fun activities for young and old.

Climbing, mountain biking, kayaking or archery are just some of the activities you can enjoy on a sporty afternoon.

9. From Laguépie to Cordes-sur-ciel

De Laguépie à Cordes-sur-ciel

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 3 hours

Distance: 11.3 km

Difference in altitude: 355 m

Difficulty: Medium

See the route

This Tarn hike starts from the ruins of the Château de Laguépié overlooking the valley. It follows the GR36, where trailers and walkers stroll, all the way to Cordes-sur-Ciel.

This medieval town is one of the most beautiful in France! It’s easy to understand its name as you approach: it seems to rise gracefully to the heavens. Built during the 13th-century crusades, it boasts Gothic palaces, art centers and medieval alleyways.

This tour of the country’s historic and cultural heritage is a delight from start to finish. Enjoy it with your family!

10. Around Lake Messal

Le tour du lac du Messal

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 1h15

Distance: 4.3 km

Height difference: 65 m

Difficulty: Medium

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Lac du Messal offers a lovely walk just a stone’s throw from Viviers-les-Lavaur. The special feature? Climbing shoes are a must, as… there are no footpaths around the lake. It’s a bit of a wilderness adventure to explore the surrounding area!

Open to fishing, the lake is a haven of peace to be enjoyed during the summer season. Animals have taken up permanent residence here. Here, only the rustle of leaves and birdsong disturb the silence. Perfectly relaxing…

11. The path to Saint-Férréol chapel

Randonnée Tarn : Le chemin de la chapelle de Saint-Férréol

Photo credit : Alltrails

Duration: 2h20

Distance: 9.7 km

Difference in altitude: 434 m

Difficulty: Easy

See the route

To round off our list of the best hikes in the Tarn, we’d like to introduce you to a route with sublime panoramic views. Welcome to Dourgne, a charming Tarn village with a chapel, Saint-Ferréol.

To get there, a perfectly-marked trail takes you through the pastures on the northern slopes of the Montagne Noire. You’ll have the opportunity to admire the impressive Saint-Ferréol desert. This gneiss plateau offers incredible views over the villages of the plain: Lagardiolle, Soual, Montgey and, on a clear day, as far as Labruguière.

A word of advice? For even more magic, go at night! The spot is popular with celestial observation enthusiasts due to the absence of light pollution… Great!