Saturday, February 22, 2020

Cucuron: Mourre Negre (1125m)

Etang, Cucuron.

This is a great walk on days with mistral winds or if you want to stay away from the sun. But don’t try it first time on a hot day. Mourre Negre is the highest peak in the Luberon and its situated just north of Cucuron. This walk takes you first up to the lovely Chapelle l’Hermitage where you enjoy good views of the Durance Valley and later views of the Luberon on your way just after the Chapelle. A bit further up I have opted for the old road between Aix and Apt for the climb to the top. Just before the top, however, we take the route to the right in order to arrive on the pass just 500m south of the peak in about 2 ½ -3 hours from Cucuron. This is a great place for lunch. For the route back I propose a combination of the forest fire road (fantastic views all the way) and a final shortcut through the woods strait to Cucuron.

Chapelle de l'Hermitage.
We start off from the Cucuron l’Etang (parking on the right at the end of the basin). At the end of the Etang, you follow the yellow signpost for Chapelle l’Hermitage up the steep road passed the village school. Take left just after passing the school and continue following the yellow markings all the way up to the Chapelle, where you will be in about 30 minutes.

You pass by the Chapelle (either side) and continue the forest track road on the back. In about 15 minutes you will be on the 530 meter point where you meet up with the main forest fire road (GL-31) going all the way up to Mourre Negre. Just across this road, however, you see the red & white GR markers on a path going into the woods here for la Tuiliere (the GR route comes along the road from Cucuron and turns right here). You want to take this path in order to join the old road between Aix and Apt at la Tuiliere (Chemin d’Apt).

Mourre Negre
It is at la Tuiliere the real climb starts, but for the time being just follow the GR markings up to the next yellow signpost at Vallon de la Fayette, where the GR route take off to the right for Cabrieres d’Aigues. You arrive here about 30 minutes after leaving la Chapelle and you have another 40 minutes climb along this track road to the place where the yellow markings leaves the road off to the left. You do not want this; just continue the track road for another 5 minutes (350m) and take right here up another track road. This track takes a south-eastern direction and after another 30 minutes you will be at a big pass at about 1060 meters, in between the two peaks at 1111m and 1084m, both just south of Mourre Negre.

Here is fine spot to lunch if you don’t insist on lunching on Mourre Negre proper (not a very nice place with its antenna). You could also find shelter from the wind here. If you really want to explore this mountain more before moving on, walk up on the 1084 meter peak for a really secluded lunch setting.

Chemin d'Apt.
For the route back to Cucuron, I suggest you walk straight north towards the peak of Mourre Negre. You first pass the smaller 1111 peak but in about 10 minutes north of the pass, you will be down from the 1111 peak and looking up towards Mourre Negre. Here you see a track route taking off at an angle to the left. I suggest you take this and at the top here (you have now Mourre Negre to your right), you follow a path further along the ridge in a northern direction (later turning north-west) and you will be down on the Ridge Road at Jas Bremond (1006m point) in less than 20 minutes.

Montagne Saint Victoire.
You could now follow the GR-markings along the ridge westwards or simply follow the road the 1.3 km distance down to the l’Amourralhadou pass at 953 meters. Here you take big forest fire road to your left down the side of the valley. The about 5km on this road down to the citern (water reservoir) in the 360 degrees turning at the 627 meter point will probably take some 1h 15m.

At the citern, you could continue the road all the way to Cucuron (direct or via la Capelle l’Hermitage) or you could take off to the right here in the 360 degrees turning and take a small forest path further down through the woods and save 30 minutes’ walk. (The GPX-file takes this path.)

Mourre Negre.
Leaving the forest fire road here at the Citerne, you start on a fairly large path going down to the 582 meter point, where you will see a cairn on your left. This is the path that will take you to Cucuron in about one hour. You take the small forest path going off to the left here and continue this path for quite a while. You will pass 2 ruins of old houses on your way before meeting up with the main path at the bottom of the valley. Now take right and follow the path along the bottom of the valley till it reaches a surfaced road. You go straight across the road and continue the path on the other side till you are down on another surfaced road. Take left here and follow the yellow and GR markers to Cucuron.

Basic information:

Duration:       7h (incl. 1h lunch)
Distance:      17,5 km.
Ascent:         790 m
Difficulty:      Moderate (but exhausting climb for 2h)
Start/finish:   Cucuron
Map:             IGN 3243 OT (1cm=250 m)

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.

If you have problems with this VisoRando link, download the GPX-file from above and import it to VisoRando or other application.


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