Monday, May 28, 2012

Lauris: Massif des Cedres and Portalas.

Les Portalas on top left.
In this walk you will enjoy le Petite Luberon and the Cedre forest from the south and you will enjoy a very varying landscape, but mostly open, so the walk is well worth doing at winter times.

Drive up from Lauris and follow signs for the restaurant and Gite d’etape “le Meou”. Pass this and drive on; turn left at the top, but turn right for the Combe du Sautadou at the 244 meter point. You park here at the parking lot.

Tete de la Baraque.
Start walking up the Combe du Sautadou (yellow markers), straight north. You will soon join the GR97 trail at the first yellow sign post. Take left and walk on to the second yellow signpost (40min from the car). Here the GR97 turns left and you will follow this trail up to the top of the hill (15min), or the 448 meter point. 

At the 448 meter point, take the very small path to the right, going straight north up this hill which will be very steep in places. You will see some cairns along the way, and try and follow these. If in doubt, keep slightly to the left, rather than to the right. To be certain to navigate right the first time, you really need to use the GPX-file provided here. It takes about 30 minutes to the top, where you eventually will get to a large open space at the end of a forest track road (like a large car park).

The Portalas ridge with Mourre Negre and the Alps behind.
You follow the forest track all the way up till you meet the main road going into the Forest des Cedres (about 1 hour). You are now on a long north/south ridge, but the trees have grown higher and there is not an awful lot of views, but some. But you have lots of sun shine, which is nice for winter.

At the main road, you turn left and walk the 5 minutes to the end of the big car park. It takes another 10 minutes along the main road to the second or third yellow signpost, which only says Portalas to the left (it will be a sign for Lacoste to the right). From here it will take you another 15 minutes to walk down south to Portalas, where you have the a long open mountain ridge and a great place to have lunch. The best spot for lunch is perhaps out on the ridge (near the cliff), just 150 meters east of the "Orientation map". 

Back along the Portalas ridge.
If it's windy you should try to walk along the ridge line going west instead. First you pass the famous hole in the cliff side, down to the left. But walk further along the small path that follows the ridge line, almost to the end. Here you see a large sheltered "pick-nick area" slightly sloping. It's easy to get down on it right at the end.

Winter views walking down Combe de Recaute, late afternoon.
For the return route, try and follow the small path along the ridge line all the way till you meet up with the main yellow path after some 20 minutes (use the GPX-file). After another 25 minutes you will be down by the yellow signpost at the water reserve (570 meter point). Here you turn left (for Lauris) and follow this forest road all the way till it ends down at Recaute at the 265 meter point. Here you turn left (signposted for PL 240) and you will find the car just 500 meters furher down the road.

Basic information:

Duration:        6,5h (Group, incl. 1 h lunch)
Distance:       15 km.
Ascent:           500 m
Difficulty:        Moderate
Start/finish:    Lauris/Combe du Sautadou
Map:               IGN 3142 OT  -  Cavaillon (1cm=250 m)
GPX-file:         Lauris2        (Link to free download)

VisoRando Lien.
Pour le fichier GPX, vous pouvez télécharger à partir d'ici (voir ci-dessus) ou mettre à jour via ce lien VisoRando où vous pourrez également voir l'itinéraire sur une bonne carte:

For the GPX-file, you could download from here (see just above) or go to this VisoRando link where you also will see the route on a good map:

November 2019 - lunch 12.35 with start 9.20. XL. Alt. route via forest road to 580m point.

Mai 2021 - Marie: Partly the same route. The "Charming trail" heading north just after the parking, I suggest one uses for winter walks instead of the Vallon de Sautadou and for the return walk one can use the Vallon de Sanguinette for summer walks (the rope was missing in 2021!!! - Difficult, bring a rope?). Medium +   Started 9.30 finished 16.45 (long variant).

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