The Vosges mountains house many cliffs, rocks, and boulders to climb. Whether sandstone or granite, most of the sites are specially equipped to welcome climbing enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned.

escalade martinswand

The Ballons des Vosges Park and its Natura 2000 sites in the Rambervillers area and the ‘Plaine’ and ‘Rabodeau’ valleys (88) count more than 250 rock walls (inventory taken by the Park in 2012 and 2013). Of these 250 rock walls, around thirty natural sites are approved and equipped for climbing. Furthermore, 4 adventure grounds, a Via Ferrata in the Vosges town of Bussang, and several indoor climbing walls (Munster, Bistchwiller, Cernay, La Bresse, Gérardmer etc.) complete the picture.

To allow certain bird species to build their nests, some sites or routes may be temporarily closed. Do not hesitate to contact the local LPO branch (league for the protection of birds) or the ‘Parc des Ballons’ to ensure that climbing is accessible at your chosen site.

Map of natural climbing sites

 > Download the map and list of approved climbing sites


Best Practice Tips on Your Trips

Safety: climbing is a risky sport that requires in-depth knowledge of the different types of materials. Get in touch with the relevant organisations (see below). CAF and FFME professionals as well as certified mountain guides and high mountain guides provide services adapted to your needs: don’t hesitate to contact them for more information. Please note, some hazardous rocks are not accessible to the public or closed for safety reasons, such as the Galgenwag quarry and Schimberg Rock in Buhl (68), and the ‘Roche Busenière’ in Val d’Ajol (88).

Environment: the rock walls house many plant and animal species: chamois, birds of prey, Great Ravens, as well as specific plants such as lycopods and stonecrops. Of the 250 rock walls inventoried in 2012-2013, 50 are currently occupied by rock birds (20 to 30 pairs of Peregrine Falcons and around ten Great Horned Owls) while another 50 are considered suitable for nesting, not to mention the rock walls housing Common Kestrels, Great Ravens, and so on. To avoid disturbing these birds, climbing ought to take place from January until late July only, at officially approved sites.

Some climbing sites inhabited by these species are temporarily closed during the nesting period, e.g. rocks at Rimbach near Masevaux, Voetlingshoeffen, etc.

Moreover, please note that outside of existing approved sites, climbing is forbidden in protected areas (nature reserves etc), subject to a fine.

If nesting occurs on other sites, sports aficionados will be notified via the FFME and the CAF so as to ensure the peace and quiet needed for the broods to thrive. Local sporting and community partners work together to coexist in harmony! In 2016, within the framework of Natura 2000, the different players will sign an agreement for the sustainable management of rock walls in the Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park (‘climbing’ charter).

Code of Conduct

Please comply with the Park’s Charter of Good Conduct drawn up with our partners (CAF, FFME, ONF, and LPO):

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR CLIMBING IN THE Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park

  • Prior to climbing, check the current applicable rock-wall regulations and comply with them as required (see list of regulated rock walls);
  • Check the conditions of access to the sites (roads open/closed to cars and other motorised vehicles, etc.);
  • Respect the fauna and flora;
  • Take your rubbish and cigarette butts with you;
  • Limit nuisances as much as possible, especially noise;
  • Respect the other mountain users (hikers, farmers, foresters, hunters, etc.);
  • Dog owners must keep their animals under control so as not to disturb other mountain users or local wildlife, especially the chamois;
  • Do not make fires, and make sure you comply with current regulations (no fires within 200 metres of forest edges: forest code + prefectural decree, fires prohibited in specific protected sites);
  • Park your vehicle in the allocated spaces and favour public transportation or carpooling wherever possible;
  • Notify the relevant nature protection organisations whenever remarkable species are observed.

LPO Alsace: +33 388 220 735 – BUFO: +33 388 221 176 – Parc naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges: +33 389 779 020

Who to Contact

  • The Club Alpin Français (French Alpine Club) in Colmar;
  • The Club Alpin Français (French Alpine Club), Thur Doller county section;
  • The Club Alpin Français (French Alpine Club), Hautes Vosges section;
  • The ‘Fédération Française de la Montagne et de l’Escalade’ (FFME, French Mountain and Climbing Federation): the Park works in partnership with the regional FFME delegations in Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche Comté;
  • The League for the Protection of Birds (LPO).