Hike the Cliff of Hortus

Rate this Adventure 6.5 miles 1476.4 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Thib Muller

Less known than the Pic Saint Loup but more wild and aerial, the cliff of Hortus offers stunning views of the area and the Pic Saint Loup, before ending in an old and abandoned castle.

You can park your car at the crossroad between the D122 and the D17E6 roads. There are some spaces in the shadow on the side of the road, as well as a little bit further up the road D122 (but no shadow).

From the crossroad, take the road D122 going to Rouet (there is a sign) and then after 50m take the rocky path which will be on your left side (on the other side of the road). This path will go west, parallel with the D122 road for less than a minute, and then it goes South and start going gently up.

After some time, you'll find a first cairn at a crossroad, with a yellow arrow on a rock at the bottom, pointing left. Take left, and you'll join quickly the edge of the cliff. A few minutes later, there will be another crossroad and a cairn, with this time a red mark on the ground. Now, take right (you'll be back by the left side at the end). If you have any doubt, there is a razor wire fence on your right side. Stay between the fence and the edge (keep the fence on your right side all the time, and do not cross it).

The path will go up following the edge of the cliff. Going a little bit in the forest sometimes, but the path stay most of the time along the edge. Be careful, rocks are steady but sometimes it's high ! And it's probably slippery if wet. The path is generally not well marked (we can even say that it's not marked at all) but you can easily spot tracks of mud on the rocks, or smooth rocks indicating people walked here often. It could be confusing sometimes because you'll find several paths. Stay close to the edge, and follow your instinct. 

The "top" of the Hortus is not really obvious, but as you have plenty of viewpoints it doesn't really matter. Keep going along the edge until you'll see the old castle. Take some time to visit the ruins, it's really nice and it offers beautiful views of the Pic Saint Loup.

After the castle begins the way back. Go straight down following a "not so obvious path" for 50 meters. Then you'll find a path going left, and 5 minutes later the path will join a forest road. You'll be now almost at the bottom of the cliff. This part is not really interesting, but after spending 2 hours under a burning sun (there is not so much shadow on the edge), it's nice to walk in the shadow. The forest path is flat, and after some kms, you'll find a cairn with a path going on the left, directly in the forest. Pay attention, the path is almost hidden. This last part is quite steep, going up, as you'll join back the path from where you started.

If you have time, you can also visit the Hortus caves. The begining we'll be on the way back, along the forest past. Look for a small path and a big sign on the left side.

Don't forget :

  • The path is not well marked, with a lot of aerial parts. Pay attention.
  • Almost no shadow, and no water on the way.
  • This place is really hot during summer.
  • I don't think it fits for children.
  • In this area, weather changes fast with heavy rain and storm. Keep it in mind.
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