Colorado Provençal

Useful Information

Location: Restaurant les mille Couleurs, D22, 84400 Rustrel, France
A7/E714 exit 24 Apt, N129 to Avignon, after 400 m at roundabout D900 to Apt 42 km, turn left on D22 11 km.
(43.9196888, 5.4996691)
Open: FEB daily 10:30-16:30.
MAR daily 10-16:30.
APR daily 9-17.
MAY daily 9-18.
JUN daily 8:30-18:30.
JUL to AUG daily 8-19.
SEP daily 9-18.
OCT daily 9:30-16:30.
NOV daily 10-16.
DEC daily 10:30-15:30.
Fee: Car EUR 5, Motorbike EUR 2, Campervan EUR 8, Minibus EUR 12.
Classification: MineSand Mine MineEluvial Deposit
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ar=100 ha.
Guided tours: self guided.
Sahara Circuit: L=2-1 km, D=40 min.
Lookout Circuit: L=3.9 km, D=1:45, VR=70 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Association du Colorado de Rustrel, Cabanon de Petacheù, Quartier Brieugne, 84400 Rustrel, Cell: +33-6-43-97-76-06, Tel: +33-4-90-75-04-87. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1871 beginning of ochre quarrying.
1993 last mine closed.
2009 Association du Colorado de Rustrel founded.



Colorado Provençal is a landscape near the village Rustrel, which resembles the badlands of Colorado river, U.S.A., hence the name Colorado of the Provence. The site is actually a open cast mine, in which the ochre pigments were mined. The strange rock formations are harder sections of the deposit, which were thus not mined. The results are stange pilars, whih look like pyramids, are cone-shaped, or completely irregular with a lot of small holes. The old ocher hill site stretches over 4 km, the site has an area of 100 ha. It is visited on a trail which starts at the car park.

The site was actually called les Ubacs de Rustrel by the locals. The name Colorado Provençal was dubbed by Abbot Martel, the president of Alpes de Lumière. He was creating the long distance hiking trail GR6 and surveyed the route for this purpose. When he came to the ochre rocks, the incredible colors reminded him of the canyon of the Colorado Great Canyon. But there is another pun hidden: Colorado means "red" in the local Provencal dialect.

The ochre mining started in 1871, there were hundreds of small ocriers, locals which earned a little extra money by digging for ochre. It was mined for more than a century, the last miner was Roger Arnaud, who retired in 1993. The site is owned by the municipality and some 150 private owners, the heirs of the ocriers. Then the locals earned a little money by charging a parking fee, and there were two parking lots. The Association du Colorado de Rustrel was founded in 2009 and united the two parking lots. They still charge a small fee for the parking, which is actually used for the maintenance of the site. In a way, the site is freely accessible, a hillside with walking trails and outlooks. People coming by foot or bicycle can get a map for the trails for a small fee. Bring good walking shoes, sun protection and raincoat, water and snacks, as you would for any hike. The clay is reddish and hard to remove, so shoes and trousers might get a little coloured.