Loop on the heights of Mont Pilat

An easy walk to enjoy as a family. Very popular in summer, it is worth the detour to admire the panoramic view over the Alps and the summits of Mont Blanc, the Lyonnais mountains and the Giers valley, the Vercors massif and those of northern Vivarais. With a wealth of flowers in spring, you can gather bilberries in August and raspberries in September. Unless you choose to go ski touring or cross-country skiing here in winter.

Technical sheet
No. 4098475
A La Valla-en-Gier walk posted on 10/08/12 by djhoward. Update : 19/06/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h20[?]
Distance Distance : 9.65km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 204m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 205m
Highest point Highest point : 1425m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1283m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Areas Areas : Massif central, Massif du Pilat
Location Location : La Valla-en-Gier (42131)
Starting point Starting point : N 45.390199° / E 4.573775°
Download : -


(1) Park your vehicle on the large La Jasserie car park. Walk back up the road and, when you exit the first hairpin bend, take the first path that climbs through the mountain pastures (on the left-hand side of the road, but to the right of a wide path)(2) (There is often a bottleneck designed to limit the number of cows toing and froing on the pasture in summer). Follow the very-visible trail through the pasture. In the summer, walk calmly through any herds you encounter without making any sudden movements. You will arrive on the route des crêts, which you follow on the right until you get to a crossroads(3). Turn left and follow the signpost to "Crêt de la Chèvre" The trail continues to climb.

You arrive on a grassy plateau, where you take the path that goes behind the Chalet Bourguisan(4) in the direction of the Crêt de l'Arnica. The path seems never-ending, but the the Crête de l'Arnica offers the first panoramic view of the Lyonnais mountains, the Rhone valley and the Alps. Go back over your footsteps and resume the trail in the direction of the Crêt de la chèvre(5). Soon you'll find the first view of the Haut Vivarais mountings. With binoculars or by zooming in with your camera, there are lots of natural curiosities to see.

Make a half-turn and retrace your steps. After you have passed the chalet(4), continue to the left and then take the path to the right. Then turn right along a broad path. You'll rejoin the Route des Crêts. Keep to the right until you reach a fork. The Jasserie can still be seen below.

At the fork, take the wide trail signposted "Crêt de l'étançon" (7) (the sign may have been removed). The rising trail narrows quite quickly to become a path that meanders pleasantly through the heath.

Then, to get to the Crêt du Rachat(9), you have two options:
- either you go to the right via the Crêt de l'Étançon(8) to admire a great view. Then, you go back down on the Crêt du Rachat and simply continue along the path to the east. This is the route marked on the map.
- Or you continue to meander through the heath to enjoy the heather and blueberries in the direction of the Crêt du Rachat. This route passes to the north of the previous route.

You then arrive at the Crêt du Rachat(9), marked by a log-signpost as well as a pylon visible from a distance. You can always stop for a meal break on the scree to enjoy the view.

Go back down following the path to the col d'Etançon where several paths intersect. Resume the Route des Crêts on the left straight ahead. When you arrive at the foot of the Crêt de la botte, the col de la Botte (up on your right), take the grassy trail on the right which climbs up and around it. You quickly rejoin a section of tarmac road that you walk up.

Before arriving at the barrier that closes this road, on the left, take the trail that points to a paragliding take-off area. Follow this path straight ahead making sure you continue to climb. You can see the pylon of the Crêt du Rachat far ahead of you. You come across scree that you can cross while maintaining a gentle climb. You rejoin the Col de la Botte coming down from the Crêt de la Botte, still following the path. At this crossroads, take a trail to the right (Sentier de Claude Berthier)(10) which begins to go back on itself on the right-hand side, and then a hairpin that starts a gentle descent through trees in the direction of the Jasserie.

Follow the trail without any particular difficulties until you reach the Jasserie. This trail is very pleasant, with lots of flowers the summer and a superb view of the Giers valley. The end of the trail climbs as you begin to exit the forest. It leads onto the road where where you took the trail through the pasture (to the left). Walk down to find your vehicle at the Jasserie, taking advantage of a final refreshing break at the fountain in summer, or on the terrace.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 1306m - La Jasserie - Gier (rivière) à finaliser
1 : km 0.44 - alt. 1325m - Monument marking the start of the Berthier path
2 : km 1.6 - alt. 1392m - Crossroads
3 : km 2.09 - alt. 1420m - Chalet Bourguisan
4 : km 2.5 - alt. 1409m - Crêt de la Chèvre - Crêt de la Chèvre (1427m)
5 : km 3.67 - alt. 1396m - Route des Crêts
6 : km 4.28 - alt. 1366m - Path of the Col de l'Etançon - Col d'Etançon (1365m)
7 : km 4.63 - alt. 1383m - Crêt de l'Etançon - Crêt de l'Étançon
8 : km 5.11 - alt. 1371m - Crêt du Rachat - Crêt du Rachat (1380m)
9 : km 6.69 - alt. 1340m - Claude Bertier path
D/A : km 9.65 - alt. 1305m

Useful Information

Before you start your walk, you can fill your water bottles at the remarkable fountain, which is the source of the Giers.

Even though this walk is possible as a family, don't forget that you are at altitude and that a wind-proof jacket and fleece are recommended.
For example, during a heat wave in summer 2012, the temperature was 12°C at 8am and 15°C at 2pm. This wind can also be very strong and increases the feeling of cold, but also the risk of dehydration. Consider taking sun protection as soon as the sun rises (+ hat as the first part is exposed).
Good shoes highly recommended.

If you choose to do this in the winter: for skiing, avoid travelling to the Crêt the Chèvre, stop at the Chalet Bourguisan. Feasible in snowshoes.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.