Located at an altitude of 800 meters, in the town of Arcon, the Grands Murcins forest estate is a place for walks, discoveries, observations and studies. This 120 hectare natural space overlooks the Roanne plain and enjoys magnificent panoramas.

Arboretum des Grands Murcins
Arboretum of the Great Murcins © Fanélie Seychal

Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a Sunday hiker, you are bound to find an activity that suits you. Hiking or mountain biking, orienteering, picking seasonal fruits (mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts)… there is something for everyone. So, don't hesitate any longer, and at the first rays of the sun, come and enjoy the woods for a nature walk.

An arboretum with more than 250 tree species

Created in 1936 by the “Amis des Arbres” and the Caisse d'Epargne, the arboretum has today become a veritable botanical conservatory where visitors can discover forest or ornamental species from all continents. Some forest species are even planted on an experimental basis.

Thus alongside the Douglas-fir and other large species of the American West, thuja, tsuga, the prestigious giant sequoia, the oaks of the East American, Canadian birches and other pines ... the visitor will be able to discover species such as the cryptomeria of the Japan, the metasequoia… and even new subjects resulting from hybridizations such as cherry trees, larches, walnut trees.

The arboretum is open all year round. Guided tours on request can be organized for groups.

Handivisite, the arboretum of the Grands Murcins accessible to all

Thanks to the Handivisite application, the visit is accessible to all. An audio guide, a video in sign language, and visitor assistance documents are all available in one app!

The events

Chalet pédagogique des Grands Murcins

The Grands Murcins welcome you!

In addition to finding an exceptional panorama on the plain of Roanne, the Montagnes du Matin and in clear weather, as far as Mont Blanc, you will find in the Grands Murcins:

  • Picnic areas, toilets and a play area for children,
  • On reservation, a room without bag,
  • A chalet which houses a permanent and interactive exhibition on the environment of the Monts de la Madeleine. It offers a wealth of information for forest enthusiasts and school audiences. It is open every Sunday from May to September,
  • Un annual entertainment program free and general public from March to November.

Key figures

  • 120 hectares of forest: far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Grands Murcins is the ideal place for a stroll or a picnic with the family, to recharge your batteries or to play sports with friends ...
  • At the heart of a forest rich in biodiversity, the 250 tree species in the arboretum will make you travel to the 4 corners of the world.

The different circuits

  • La Squirrel loop is a 2-kilometer interpretive loop accessible to all which allows you to discover all the riches of the site (the forest, the meadow, the educational pond),
  • The douglas and redwood curls (4 and 6 kilometers) allow you to lengthen the visit by going deeper into the woods,
  • One Sunday per month, the guided walks will allow you to learn everything about the Grands Murcins: its history, its fauna, its flora ...
Borne de poinçonnage pour la course d'orientation

The orienteering race at the Grands Murcins

With 4 permanent courses, the Grands Murcins area in Arcon is a privileged area in the Loire for the practice of orienteering.

Thanks to the 40 terminals installed on the site, discover or rediscover orienteering. Scattered in the most remarkable corners, they will invite young adventurers or proven competitors to surpass themselves.

The courses are classified green, blue, red or black. They were designed for a wide audience: family, sports and school. Here you will find the possibility to download the route map.

Staff picks

  • Near the educational chalet, you will find around fifty aromatic and medicinal herbs.
  • With a lovely view of the Monts de la Madeleine, the Bellevue rock is a little haven of peace. Can you find it?
  • On the edge of a cultivated meadow in the heart of the forest, away from prying eyes, discover a hedge enclosure.


  • From 1934 to 2011, the estate belonged to the savings bank… the squirrel emblem was kept by Roannais Agglomeration! The smallest marked path bears the name of the “Boucle de l'Ecureuil”.
  • Come and hug the large sequoias planted in 1936… the bark of the sequoias is spongy and supple. You can bang into it without hurting yourself! It protects the tree during fires.

The most beautiful points of view

When you arrive, take the time to contemplate this breathtaking view of the plain. Using the orientation table, have fun recognizing the landscapes available to you. Take the time to admire nature before going for a walk in the woods. And if you want our opinion, don't miss the flowering of the Virginia tulip trees!

Key dates

  • 1936 : Creation of the arboretum,
  • 1992 : Extension of the arboretum,
  • 1999 : Storm which brings down part of the forest,
  • 2011 : Roannais Agglomeration becomes owner of the site.


The Grands Murcins offer an exceptional setting in the Monts de la Madeleine massif. Each year, Roannais Agglomeration is committed to promoting the site through an annual program of activities rich in discoveries.

  • Festival of the Great Murcins - June
  • Discovery of the arboretum with the association Les Amis des Trees - August 15th


Arboretum and Forest of the Grands Murcins
Educational Chalet
42370 Arcon

+ 04 77 64 85 72 XNUMX


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Frederique's opinion

For me, from the first sunny days, it's an inevitable family outing! A word of advice: arrive early to sit on the table hidden in the trees near the orientation table. It is an unusual corner to have lunch out of sight. In this hiding place, the little ones invent stories and you will admire this incredible panorama. Plus, the play area which will allow the youngest to stretch their legs before embarking on a walk on the squirrel trail.
And, for early risers, if you want to take in the sights, I advise you to come very early in the morning to admire the sunrise over the Roanne plain.

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