Cascade du Ray Pic is a magnificent waterfall north of Pereyres between Lachamp Raphael and Burzet in the region Rhone Alpes/Ardeche, France.
From Lachamp Raphael drive south over road D26 to Burzet. At Le Chalet du Ray Pic there are two parkings for 50 cars (gps 44.789276, 4.262991) from where an easy walk starts to cascade du Ray Pic. At the trailhead there are signs for “cascade du Ray Pic”. The walk takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
I visited Cascade du Ray Pic three time, the last time April 30, 2023. A lot had changed. The last time I was at the waterfall it was allowed to swim and you could walk to the base of the waterfall. A few years ago there was a deadly accident with a dutch tourist: a huge rock fell down. Since then it is forbidden to swim in the water. In the time I was there it was allowed to swim under the waterfall of Ray Pic. I don’t know where the water comes from, but the water was sooooo cold.
Nowadays there two awesome viewing platform from which you have the perfect view on the perfect waterfall. Compared to the summertime, there is much more water in the river in springtime. I think in springtime I love the waterfall even more.
Undoubtedly Cascade du Ray Pic is one of my favorite waterfalls in France, it will certainly end in my top 3. Not because it is so spectacular but the basalt formations around the waterfall makes this a waterfall in the “outer category”.
Millions of years ago cascade du Ray Pic was an active volcano. The volcano was very active and a lot of lava flows out of the volcano forming the surrounding landscape. Regularly, this volcano spewed out large lava flows, which bore through the surrounding landscape. Research has shown that these lava flows must have been among the longest lava flows in Europe. For example, some lava flows would have been more than 20 kilometers long. As a result of all the natural violence, Cascade du Ray-Pic was created, as was the surrounding landscape. Relatively early in its history, this waterfall came to be known as one of the most beautiful sights in Ardeche.
Already in 1931, Cascade du Ray Pic and its surroundings were declared one of the most important nature reserves in the Ardèche. Cascade du Ray Pic has a total height of 60 meter but the upper part of the waterfall is not visible. The lower (visible) drop is appr. 35 meter high.
From Vallon Pont d’Arc or from Aubenas this is the perfect day trip with children. The drive will take a while but the road to the waterfall is gorgeous. There are many curves in the road but the road is wide enough.