Sunday, June 3, 2018

Vitrolles: The eastern ridge of Grand Luberon – 3 hours walk

Very close to the most eastern point of the open ridge of Luberon.
This walk will give you a taste of the ridge of Grand Luberon with its views in all directions. You start at a high altitude (700m) and the trail is fairly gentle going up, so it would also be one of the easiest ways to get up on the Luberon Ridge in only about 1 hour.

This would be a great walk for winter time also, as long as the wind stays moderate. To get maximum sunshine, however, use the return route also for the onwards walk up the mountain.

Drive up past the village of Vitrolles-en-Luberon and continue the D33 till you reach the highest point on the road (le Crete), called Aire des Mascas, and park here. The walk starts along a wide trail going west and is marked yellow and GR (blue & white).

This is where this 3 hour walk ends.
The trail turns slowly north and goes almost parallel to the unsurfaced fire road, both rising slowly. After about half an hour you almost join the fire road for a small section and after another 5 minutes you branch off on the GR trail to the right (just after the 840 meter point). The GR trail will take you gently all the way to the ridge of Luberon (939 meter point) in another 25 minutes. I suggest you climb another 15 minutes up the GR trail to the top at the 1038 meter point for fantastic views in all directions.

This is a bit futher west if you chose to walk longer.

If you have got a taste for this section of the Luberon, you could extend this walk by simply following the GR trail further along the ridge and turn around later.

This walk turns around here on the 939 meter point. However, when you have returned back down on the 939 meter point, follow strait on and take the brisk climb straight ahead. It takes you further on the ridge, first to the 974 meter point and then the 967 meter point. From the last point, you need to head south-east down through some forest to get on the fire road as quickly as possible (5 minutes).

St. Martin and La Motte in front of Etang de la Bonde
You follow around the bend of the fire road (another fire road joins in from the right) and you get down to the 840 meter point in about 30 minutes from you where you left the ridge. Following the fire road all the way back to the car will take about another 35 minutes.

Basic information:

Duration:       3h (excluding lunch)
Distance:      11 km.
Ascent:         400 m
Difficulty:      Easy
Start/finish:   Vitrolles-en-Luberon (Parking des Mascas, 700m)
Map:             IGN 3243 OT (Pertuis Lourmarin)

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