Where to bivouac in Auvergne? When hiking with a dog in Auvergne VolcanSancy, should you keep it on a leash? You ask yourself many questions when preparing your stay in one of the 27 towns of our Auvergne VolcanSancy destination! In this territory, during your outdoor activities, you will cross different spaces:

Bivouac, hiking with a dog, swimming

Different regulations apply when you practice hiking and outdoor activities. We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions you ask us through these few rules and best practices.

Where can we bivouac?

In the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park, the Wild camping is prohibited. Cependant, le bivouac is tolerated (except at Lake Guéry and in the nature reserves of Chastreix-Sancy and Chaudefour where it is strictly prohibited) only as part of a traveling hike and respecting the following rules:

  • It is tolerated in a tent for one night (from sunset to sunrise) or at most for the duration of bad weather likely to endanger hikers.
  • During the summer period the tent must be set up after 20:00 p.m. and taken down before 8:00 a.m.
  • The location of the bivouac must be located on the edge of the forest (to preserve the grass and the herds) excluding slopes, craters and summits of volcanoes or otherwise indicated on the ground.
  • The use of portable gas stoves is tolerated in the safest possible environment: stability, distance from flammable materials (very dry materials such as dead leaves, conifer needles, dry grass, etc.). Other types of fires carried or on the ground are prohibited
  • No waste should be left on the grounds (including toilet paper)
  • With the authorization of the person who has the use or ownership of the land (private owner or community)
  • In certain sectors of the Sancy massif, bivouac areas are set up

On which paths can you hike?

  • The majority of spaces are privately owned. The marked paths are the subject of a passage agreement with the owners
  • Stay on the trails so as not to create new tracks and not to suffocate plants or disturb breeding species.
  • In the summer pastures, if a herd is on the path, go around it even if you have to get off the path
  • Some trails may be temporarily closed, for safety reasons or work, find out before taking them Information may be displayed at the start of the marked trail
  • Our marked hiking guides

Are dogs allowed on hikes? Where can they swim?

In some areas, dogs are not allowed or they must be kept on a leash.

  • They are allowed to be kept on a leash Lake Guéry and Lake Servières
  • Dogs are prohibited (even on a leash) in the Chastreix-Sancy and Chaudefour nature reserves except on the GR where they must be kept on a leash
  • Keep your dog on a leash from the start of your hike in grazing areas where herds may be present. Go around the herds and leave the marked trail so as not to cross the herd.
    In the event of an encounter with a protection dog, move away as soon as the Patou gives the alert by barking and leaving the herd.
  • In forest, Throughout the year, dogs must remain under the supervision of their master and not stray more than 100 meters. In spring, the regulations tighten: from April 15 to June 30 of each year, a ministerial decree requires dog owners to keep their animals on a leash outside forest paths. The forest path is understood in the broad sense as forest roads, paths or trails, in particular GRs, but also all walking paths. On the other hand, forest partitions, firebreaks and plot boundaries are not considered paths.
  • La swimming is prohibited in the lakes of Guéry, Servières and La Tour d'Auvergne
  • The banks of the rivers as well as the beds of the rivers are the property of individuals or communities
  • Before bathing your dog in a river, make sure you have the agreement of the owner(s).

When hiking in summer pastures, what precautions should you take?

Summer pastures are seasonal grazing areas in the mountains where herds graze.

Herds are sensitive to disturbance.

  • If they are on the trail, go around them even if you have to go off the path.
  • When mountain biking, moderate your pace to avoid any disruption to pastoral activity. Put your foot down before arriving near the herd.
  • When trail running, walk instead of running
  • If the marked path passes a fence, be sure to close it if there is no crossing provided for walkers (chicane with gate, staircase, etc.).

How to behave when you come across a patou at work?

  • During your hikes in the Park's summer pastures, you may come across a dog alongside a herd
  • Take care not to disturb them in their activities.
  • These dogs live permanently with the sheep. Their very important role is to protect the herd.
  • A Patou can be impressive when we come across it on a hike, if it fears aggression from us towards the herd it protects.
  • When approaching the herd, go around it and move away from it, quietly, even if you have to get out of its way.
  • If the Patou accompanies you from a distance, this is normal: he ensures that you do nothing to the sheep.
  • If he approaches you and barks, stay calm, stop and speak to him gently, looking away when he gets close, to reassure him.
  • Don't run away
  • Don't make big movements with your poles
  • Above all, don't throw anything at him to try to make him go away.
  • Do not scream
  • Do not try to coax him with food or pet him
  • Do not approach the herd
  • Do not stay among sheep or cows
  • If you are hiking with your pet dog, from the start of your hike, make sure that it is on a leash in grazing areas. In the event of an encounter with a protection dog, move away as soon as the Patou gives the alert by barking and leaving the herd.
  • By mountain bike: put your foot down before arriving near a herd and follow the previous rules
  • Place the bike between you and the dog, keep your distance
  • Get back in the saddle once the herd has been bypassed and passed
  • You may also come across smaller and more agile dogs, “driving dogs”. As their name indicates, they are intended to provide assistance to breeders and shepherds in their movements. Trained according to their own codes, they use their agility and speed to the benefit of the breeder or shepherd to gather the herd. Unlike protection dogs, they are physically attached to their master and not to the herd

Motorhome parking, what are the rules?

  • On public roads, parking a campervan is authorized like cars
  • However, parking should not be confused with camping! if you park your vehicle on a public road, you will not be able to unfold your awning, take out your outdoor furniture or your blocks
  • Find our service areas and parking areas

What flowers can you pick?

  • Many protected flowers are found among more common species. Prefer to photograph them
  • The collection of protected species is punishable by a 4th class fine and a fine of €135, under the nature protection law of 10/07/76 and the prefectural decree of 30/03 /90 establishing the list of protected species in Auvergne
  • For daffodils: only the collection of flowering stems is tolerated, in limited quantities, what the hand can hold, i.e. 10 to 20 stems per person and with the authorization of the owner of the land. Beyond these quantities, picking is punishable by a fine of €750.

What regulations apply to picking blueberries?

  • The collection of blueberries is authorized each year from 1er August at 7 a.m.
  • Only owners, tenants or rights holders of sectional land or holders of written authorization from the owners are authorized to use the blueberry comb.
  • Be careful, wild blueberries can be responsible for alveolar echinococcosis, a very serious liver disease caused by a tiny worm. To avoid any risk of contamination, it is preferable to consume them cooked

When hiking, what should we do with our waste?

  • Have a bag to put your waste in (including toilet paper) and keep it until the next bin

Where can we swim?

  • At the Auvergne VolcanSancy destination, swimming in the lake is only authorized at lake of La Tour d'Auvergne 
  • Swimming in the lakes Guery et Servieres is strictly prohibited
  • The banks of the rivers as well as the beds of the rivers are the property of individuals or communities
  • Before swimming in the river, make sure you have permission from the owner(s).
  • In addition, to preserve aquatic fauna, it is strongly recommended not to turn over stones, not to make dams or cairns (piling up stones).

Can we make a fire?

  • Fires are prohibited within 200 m of the edge of a wood or forest throughout the Puy-de-Dôme department.
  • It is only possible when areas are set up

How to climb to the top of volcanoes?

Walk :

  • The majority of volcanoes are privately owned
  • Follow the marked paths as they are the subject of a passage agreement with the owners
  • Stay on the trails so as not to create new tracks and not to suffocate plants or disturb breeding species.
  • Main authorized volcanoes: the puy de Dôme, the puy de Sancy, the Banne d'Ordanche
  • Main prohibited volcanoes: Puy de Côme, Puy de Pariou. Trails allow you to go around it.

By mountain bike: it is forbidden to climb the volcanoes by mountain bike

By bike: access to the summit of Puy de Dôme is no longer authorized

By car and other motorized vehicle: it is impossible to climb the volcanoes

Can we hike during hunting season?

  • On hunting days, stay away from beaten areas
  • Hunters report their presence (information panel) during big game hunt days
  • Visitors to these sites must choose their walking days based on the hunting days.
  • Hunters are rights holders, often owners of the land they use.
  • For any information, the Puy-de-Dôme hunters federation will give you useful information and contacts


What are the regulations in the Chastreix Sancy and Vallée de Chaudefour nature reserves?

  • Dogs are not allowed even on a leash except on the GR (long-distance hiking trails)
  • Cycling, wild camping, bivouac, fire and littering are not permitted
  • Free flight not authorized in Chaudefour below the height of 300 m above sea level. Regulated in that of Chastreix-Sancy
  • Motorized recreational vehicles prohibited

Where to find out?

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