|Just below Cap Gros|
This is a type of high trail in the Calanques. You start at Col de la Gineste (326 meters) and you will find yourself on Cap Gros (500 meters) in a good hour. From here, you descend to Col des Charbonniers (278 meters) and follow the Falaises de Stevenson along the coast. The return trail dips down into Vallon des Charbonniers (200 meters) before you start the return to Cap Gros. Fantastic views of Marseille City, Luminy, Cassis and all around the calanques, and the sea is everywhere. This walk is exelent for winter times, but the total time including lunch break etc. will be around 6 hours, so make sure you start early enough (latest 10 am in December) to have good daylight for the return walk.
Park the car at the car park at Col de la Gineste on the D559 road going from Cassis to Marseille (just before the road starts descending all the bends to Luminy).
|View of Cassis and Cap Camaille|
Start walking straight south on trail 6 (marked red), and you will be on Col Richard in less than half an hour. Continue the red markers southeast and at Puits du Cancel (35 minutes) a green and a blue trail starts off paralelle to the red 6 trail. Follow upwards to the 501 meter point (1 hour), where the red trails joins a yellow trail for a short distance. Stay on the red trail and you find youself on Cap Gros in about 15 minutes. Here are fantastic views in all directions; Cassis with Cap Canaille, the sea is everywhere and just in front of you la Grande Candelle.
|la Grande Candelle from the side|
From Cap Gros, you descend steeply down to join the GR51 and GR98, and here the red trail joins the GR-trail to descend further down to Col des Charbonniers (278 meters), followed by a short climb up to the start of Falaises du Stevenson. I suggest you take lunch somewhere along the coast here, for example near the 320 meter mark (about 2 hours from the car).
You could continue on the Falaises du Devenson on the green 8 trail, but since this is primarily a winter walk for me, that could easily be too long for the daylight. I therefore suggest you continue on the red trail (also GR51 and GR98) and cross the Vallon des Charrbonniers (lowest point on hike: about 200 meters) and find the handy short cut across to the blue 3 trail at the 237 meter point (30 minutes from lunch). The blue trail will bring you gently all the way back up again to Cap Gros (1 hour 20 minutes from lunch).
From Cap Gros, you take the same route as you came, and you will be back at the car in about 1 hour 15 minutes. An alternative route back could be over Mont Puget (563 meters). This will avoid some up and downs, but it’s a slightly longer route and will take some 15 minutes longer. For the entusiasts, this is a very nice route, avoiding the deep shady areas of the main route. It requires good knowledge of map reading, however, because it could be difficult to find the small path down from Mont Puget through the steep Falaises de Luminy and onto the Chemin du Centaure (trail 6a) which takes you back to Col Richard.
Duration: 6h (including 1.5 hours breaks because of the 800 meters ascent)
Distance: 12 km.
Ascent: 800 m (accumulated)
Difficulty: Moderate, but heavy going with 800 meters ascent
Start/finish: Marseille/Luminy (Parking at Col de la Gineste on the D559 road)
Map: IGN Les Calanques de Marseille á Cassis (1cm=150 m)