Among the oldest forest massifs in Europe, the Bois Noir massif dominates the Roannais, under their inaccessible and distant airs. They nevertheless remain a remarkable natural space sheltering a rich fauna and flora. A place conducive to disconnection and outdoor activities!

Brume des Bois Noirs
Mist of the Black Woods © F. Brosse

The Bois Noir massif is located on the borders of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It extends over 3 departments: Allier, Loire and Puy-de-Dôme. It culminates at 1637 meters in Pierre-sur-Haute and in the Roannais in Puy-de-Montoncel at 1287 meters. A preserved massif which offers magnificent views of the Roanne plain, the Alps and Auvergne!

A remarkable natural space

This vast massif of more than 10 hectares is one of the oldest forest massifs in Europe. It is a space surrounded by nature, rich in local, abundant and diversified fauna and flora:

  • Personalized natural ancient forests in beech forests - fir forests over 250 years old cover the massif. They are in danger of disappearing due to the change in silvicultural management and their conversion into plantations of Douglas fir, an American species.
  • In the Black Woods, thewater is everywhere, whether it gushes out in a limpid source or sleeps in the listed peat bogs Natura 2000. Peat bogs are the exceptional habitat of a rare viviparous lizard or even a small carnivorous plant, the Round-leaved Drosera.
  • On its top, the montane moorland offer a magnificent view. A nice reward after walking the paths to the Puy-de-Montoncel, summit at 1287 meters. Callune, blueberries and gentians rub shoulders giving different colors to each season.
  • Finally, at the bend of the paths, the massif hides some granitic chaos including stones with legends or druidic stones, such as "The fairy stone" or "the dancing stone". In the midst of trails of mysterious mist, we almost expect to see fantastic little beings appear!


The analysis of pollen from the oldest peat bogs in the Bois Noirs has made it possible to date the first agricultural activities in the sector with hemp pollen, in particular to – 3900 years BC!

An ideal playground for outdoor activities

The Bois Noir massif is a paradise for sports enthusiasts or any nature lover. On foot, by bike, for relaxation or for sport, it is an ideal playground.

Mountain biking

It offers a multitude of reliefs and specially marked routes for mountain biking. The mountain bike / FCC area of ​​the Bois Noirs massif it is moreover 2780 kilometers of tracks with 125 possible circuits from 26 municipalities. This space is part of Open air destination“, the largest mountain bike area in France with the FFC label. It will delight lovers of speed and technique.


On foot, hikers will appreciate the absence of roads, there are only paths! In the mid-mountain zone, the circuits crisscross the massif sometimes in the humid undergrowth covered with soft green moss, sometimes on the mountain moors as far as the eye can see. We will find for example:

The Black Woods in numbers

  • 10 000 years of history for this massif,
  • From 1995, some areas are Natura 2000 classified,
  • A peak at 1287 meters,
  • 12 protected natural habitats,
  • The massif is on the borders of 3 departments.


  • Oxygen Black Wood - June
    Every year in June, the Bois Noirs Oxygène hike labeled "Rando d'or FFC" is organized. The event brings together between 800 and 1000 mountain bikers and aims to discover the territory. This race offers 6 circuits of 10 to 100 kilometers. A 40-kilometer enduro-type circuit with 7 specials called “Endurolle” and a free semi-night outing supervised by the Bois Noirs mountain bike club accessible to all participants. Find out more
  • The Rendez-vous of the Madeleine mountains - September

    An event of festive and fun importance, which brings the inhabitants of the massif and neighboring towns, whose notoriety and scale are constantly increasing. Two days of festivity to highlight the riches of the massif and the specificities of each village according to a different theme each year. Find out more
  • Roanne-Thiers market - December

    Since 1925, the Roanne mountain group has been organizing this 57 km night itinerary, from town to town. Over the years, courses of 17, 25 and 40 kilometers have been added to make it a sporting event accessible to as many people as possible. Find out more
Chausseterre dans les Bois Noirs
Chausseterre © Michel Cramois
L'avis de Lucile

Lucile's opinion

It is on foot that I prefer to discover or re-discover this magnificent massif. Each season, it is different and the charm operates. In the summer we seek freshness there, in the autumn we can walk with our feet in the orange leaves that have fallen to the ground… I will try my hand at snowshoeing this winter to discover this space in another way. It is certainly the number 1 nature spot in Roanne!


MTB-FFC area of ​​the Massif des Bois Noirs
53 route des Salles
42430 Floorwear

+04 (77)65 00 29 XNUMX XNUMX

+06 (73)24 07 49 XNUMX XNUMX


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