Hikes Near Gourbeyre
The trail then bears to the east, going near the steep wall of la Madeleine. Now you begin the ascent. This will be long and arduous—about 1.5 hours--and you will no doubt need several recovery stops to catch your breath.
Warning: be careful not to grab hold of tree ferns. They can spike you with thorns that are difficult to extract.
After about 40 minutes of ascent, you should have on your right an almost vertical rocky wall covered with vegetation. After scaling a steep passage, the trail flattens out as it approaches a ravine.
Continue parallel to the ravine, until you can cross it on some large rocks. There now remains the ultimate ascent, that of Piton l'Herminier, at 971m, the highest point of the Madeleine range.
Thirty minutes of acrobatic weaving through the jungle of mountain mangroves is necessary to reach the summit. Appreciate the mountain lilies or orchids as you climb.
The summit plateau of la Madeleine is much more far-reaching than that of La Soufriere, with its mere 1,500-meter diameter and its deep longitudinal depression dominated by several peaks. If the sky is clear, nearly all of Guadeloupe will be laid out before you.
At the summit, you will also find a concrete cylinder with instruments that monitor the volcano.
The return trip is by the same trail and should be slightly faster than the 2.75 hour ascent required to reach the top of Piton l'Herminier.
A Quicker Trail: It is possible to make this ascent by leaving from Moscou in Gourbeyre. This greatly reduces the approach walk, and you start approximately 300 meters higher. But be careful not to wander into the middle of the banana fields and the drainage canals where you could get lost.