Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Les Calanques: Luminy – Calanques de Morgiou and Sugiton


This is our “classic” walk in these parts of the Calanques. The GR used to go here along the coast, but it’s now taken furher inland. This could be because the coastal hike has 3 hard parts marked on the map, but they are really not much for an average fit person (involves chains and ladders). The walk will however be vertiginous for some people, and is not recommened for people that has problems with steep hights (vertigo).

The area is normally closed to the public from 1st July till 15th September (except for morning walks till 11 am) because of the risk of forest fires. But call 0811 201313 for exact information.



This is just a 3 hours hike, but really nice when it’s hot and you can spend more time on the beaches at Morgiou and Sugiton. But for the rest of the year, I have described an optional walk (see bottom page) that together with the main walk will make this walk one of the finest walks in the Calanques. But it’s a bit tough going (up and down), and it’s not recommended on warm days. It will take almost another 3 hours, making it a 7 hours walk including 1 hour for lunch. But you could cut down the walk by about ¾ hour by not doing the last bit towards Cap Morgiou.

Drive down to Cassis and take the main road towards Marseille (D 559). At the round-about just after the plateau, take left for Luminy (University of Marseille) and park as far in as you can get on the large car park. The walk starts here going straight south on the main dirt road passed the police check-point.

As you can see on the map, the dotted yellow 6a trail is the only trail marked from the car park, but it could be difficult to find the yellow dots. The easiest is to follow this road to the large intersection with GR 51 & 98 (about 20 minutes) and here take the GR sharply to the right and walk back along the GR till you see where the dotted yellow 6a starts off to the left, clearly marked for Morgiou. Follow the 6a till you meet the red 6 trail and take this back down to the local beach in Morgiou, where you could take the first swim of the day or visit the local bar/restaurant even further back. You could walk here from the car in about 1 hour.


Now, you follow the red 6 trail around Cap Sugiton and it takes about 45 minutes to get down to the first beach in Calaques de Sugiton. It could be worth using 15 more minutes to walk up and around the path that leads to the other side of Sugiton, just inside of the Torpilleur. Here you could swim from the large rocks.

Back again, take the path going straight up to the 139 meter point, where the fire road ends. Just follow the fire road upwards, taking the short cuts you feel confortable with. The way back to the car will take about an hour from the beach.

For a more challening return to Luminy, try to follow the coast line from Sugiton for about 15 minutes to the east. You walk around the corner just inside of "le Torpilleur" and continue along the beach situated here (nudists have occupied this beach for many years now, so do show respect when passing by). After about 10-15 minutes, when the coast "turns" right and changes direction, you soon see "Luminy" writen on a stone near the water with an arrow marked upwards to the left. From here, there is a small marked path (big red markings) taking you very steeply upwards towards the large trail you see on the map as red 6. But first, your local red trail takes you up to a very nice "balcony" overlooking Sugiton and the Sea. From this balcony follow the trail a bit further upwards and you soon join the red 6 trail, which will join up with the GR51 and GR98 going west. At the 215 meter point, you join up with the direct path up from Sugiton, and now just follow the large forest road back to Luminy. 

If you do not find the red marked trail going up from the beach just after Sugiton, you need to go back to Sugiton and take the ordinary return to Luminy. There are other paths up from the beach to the red 6 trail a bit further along the shore line, but I cannot recommend any of these, and some of them are for certain dangereous! 

Basic information:

Duration: 3h (+ 3h lunch and swimming)
Distance: 10 km.
Ascent: 400 m (accumulated)
Difficulty: Moderate (Some steep cliffs and ladders/chains)
Start/finish: Luminy (University of Marseille)
Map: IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)




Optional Walk: Morgiou – Cap Morgiou – Morgiou

If you decide to take this optional walk, it could be worth deciding before leaving Luminy. Instead of taking the yellow 6a trail (with a tricky decent), it would be faster to take the yellow 7 trail straight down to the road for Morgiou. When you hit the road at the 23 meter point, continue 500 meters down the road towards Morgiou (you might well want a swim before you start also!) and you see on right side a small trail marked red 5, taking off up from a car park just before the road splits.

The walk starts with a steep climb on the red No. 5 trail up from Morgiou to “le Carrefour” on the Crete de Morgiou (about 230 meters above sea-level with fantastic views in all directions). At the Carrefour, you take left along the blue 1 trail that takes you all the way down to Cap Morgiou with stunning views all the way.

At the intersection on the 85 meter point, your return trail to Morgiou takes off down the hill (black 4 trail). From here it takes about 20 minutes on to Cap Morgiou (one way) and about 25 minutes back to Morgiou. So, if you want to cut down the walk by about ¾ hours, you could return straight to Morgiou.




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