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From prehistory to history – hiking the GR 461

JLHébert (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From prehistory to history – hiking the GR 461

Hiking Collection by Fred Urrutia



3-3 h

/ day

15.8 mi

2,025 ft

2,000 ft

You don't have to travel far to travel back in time. This 25.5-kilometre (16 mi) Collection on the GR 461 is proof of that...

Not only does the GR 461 link Montignac-Lascaux to Terrasson-Lavilledieu through the magnificent Périgord Noir, a traditional natural region of France, but it also links prehistory with the present. It's an exceptional route that allows you to immerse yourself in the ancient history of mankind, while admiring the varied landscapes before you.

From the very first steps, you'll be captivated by the majestic beauty of the Périgord Noir. The paths of the GR 461 take you through vast stretches of woodland, where the foliage of centuries-old oaks filters the sun's rays. The scents of the forest envelop you, creating an enchanting atmosphere.

As you hike, you’ll pass through charming hamlets and villages that seem frozen in time, such as Les Combes, Claveillère, Saint-Amand-de-Coly, Asplats, Mortefond, Biat and Coly. The stone houses with their red-tiled roofs blend harmoniously into the lush vegetation that surrounds them. You'll feel transported to another time, where the pace of life is calm and serene.

This long-distance hiking trail is not devoid of breathtaking scenery. Overlooking lush green valleys, the spectacular vistas stretch as far as the eye can see and are just as rewarding. The rolling hills, carpeted with cultivated fields and bright green meadows, create a picturesque picture worthy of a postcard.

Along the way, you'll also cross sparkling rivers and streams. Their gentle murmur adds a note of freshness and serenity to your adventure. The picturesque bridges you cross are all opportunities to stop, admire the scenery and let the tranquillity of the area lull you to sleep.

The geological wealth of the Périgord Noir is also revealed. Prepare to be amazed by the fascinating rock formations, underground caves including the famous Lascaux cave, and imposing cliffs along the way. These remnants of the region's geological past bear witness to its turbulent history and add a mysterious dimension to your adventure.

I've divided this Collection into two stages to allow time to visit each site. It would be a real shame to do this trail without visiting the Lascaux International Centre of Cave Art. I recommend that you spend the night in Saint-Amand-de-Coly, where you'll find gîtes, hotels and B&Bs. This little weekend adventure is available all year round, regardless of the season. That said, the best time for walking in the countryside is from spring to autumn.

If you're coming from Paris or Toulouse, you can get to the starting point via Brive station. From here, you can make daily return trips on the Trans-Périgord network, with a single fare of just €2. For more information on timetables and services, please visit transports.nouvelle-aquitaine.fr (in French).

Enjoy your journey through Périgord, history and prehistory!

On The Map


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Montignac-Lascaux to Terrasson-Lavilledieu (GR 461) – full route

15.4 mi

2,050 ft

2,000 ft

Last updated: October 5, 2023

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  1. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Montignac-Lascaux to Saint-Amand-de-Coly – GR 461

    7.89 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your two-day adventure begins in Montignac-Lascaux, an enchanting village. From your first steps in its cobbled streets and among its stone houses, you will be captivated by the peaceful and authentic atmosphere that reigns here.


    Before venturing further, be sure to stop at the International Center for

    translated byView Original


  2. 03:40
    7.93 mi
    2.2 mph
    925 ft
    1,225 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your route on the GR 461 resumes at Saint-Amand-de-Coly. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to visit its imposing Romanesque abbey, this is your last opportunity before continuing your journey.


    The route of the trail alternates between wooded passages, enchanting clearings and bucolic paths, offering

    translated byView Original



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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    15.8 mi
  • Duration
    07:18 h
  • Elevation
    2,025 ft2,000 ft

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