A hike mostly through forest, under the canopy of the Bois de Lens.
Throughout the walk you'll experience stunning scenery.
You'll also discover the Pielles Roman quarry, Macassargues caves (which were occupied by Neanderthal man), the pre-Roman sanctuary of Mabousquet (1st century BC), the Clunisian abbey of Jouffre (3rd century) and the Castellas de Montmirat (11th century).
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Markers: Sometimes yellow, but not obvious. Look out for signs at important intersections.
Car park at the bar/stop-off point and in the adjoining street.
From the car park
(D/A)Cross the D6110 and take the Rue des Prades. Continue on it remaining close to the stream. Go under the Castelas.
(2) Ignore the track (damaged by heavy rains in October) and take the trail to the right that rises through the Bois de Pignède. Still going south, continue to climb, and then descend on a very stony path.
(3) At Fond du Frêne, two almost-dry streams join: The Valat des Grazilles and the Valat de Mont Cau. Cross the first stream, and a few meters further leave the main path, turning left on the very pleasant trail that goes up toward the summit of the Ombrens, peaking at 275m (markers on the pylons).
(4) At the summit, make a return trip to visit the Pielles quarry (400m approx). This is the ideal place for a picnic break. Then descend toward the east up to the Combe des Chèvres (a large clearing). Continue on the track, fully north, until the place known as the Fangasset.
(5) At the junction, take a sharp left onto a wide track. At the end of a straight line of 2-300m at the top of the hill, you'll make out an intersection and, set back a little on your right, you can see a small cairn. It marks the entrance of a dense trail leading to the Macassargues caves, about a hundred meters further on (take a torch).
Next, at a point where four paths cross, turn right in a northerly direction for 2km (you'll spot a green tank on the path: it says "tirer la chasse" written on the side (flush the toilet!).
(6) When you arrive at a junction of several tracks for the Col de Majourdan, take the one that goes southwest to walk along the Crête de Mabousquet ridge (here you can make a return trip to the Mabousquet sanctuary on a track to your right, which is barely visible and not marked) then walk toward Montmirat (and there's another return trip to see the Abbaye de Jouffe). To access the abbey, look for an entrance and a sign warning of bulls (which do not exist). Walk through the field up to the abbey.
A few hundred meters further on, to your left, is a beautiful ruined sheep pen from the Roman era.
Arrive at the Castellas de Montmirat (not much remains visible) and finish the descent towards Les Prades and the Montmirat car park.
D/A : km 0 - alt. 85m
1 : km 0.63 - alt. 87m
2 : km 2.48 - alt. 135m
3 : km 4.27 - alt. 266m
4 : km 4.57 - alt. 266m
5 : km 7.2 - alt. 206m
6 : km 7.84 - alt. 241m
7 : km 10.42 - alt. 233m
8 : km 12.54 - alt. 204m
9 : km 13.11 - alt. 159m
10 : km 13.28 - alt. 141m
D/A : km 14.37 - alt. 85m
There are few or no markers for this hike.
A GPS or smartphone with this route will be useful.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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Important note: Ignore the numbers marked on the ground and stick to the VisoRando instructions instead
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Note: To help with orientation, "tricky" sections have been highlighted with blue dotted markers.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.