This trek works its way up from the Hérault valley to Roc de la Vigne. Leaving the village, off the beaten tracks, you'll explore Forêt Domaniale de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert on cobblestone roads. Along the way, the remains of old farms, caves, a semi-troglodyte retreat and a breath-taking view from the top of Roc de la Vigne.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(S/F) From the free car park just after the dam on the Hérault River, arriving from Saint-Guilhem, head back to the village over a hundred odd metres on the D4.
(1) Take the carriage road to the right, just before the small bridge "petit pont de la Combe de Malafosse".
(2) At a junction before a house, keep going along the trail that heads uphill to the right, leaving the one to the left (leading to "Grotte du Sergent"). The trail gradually heads up a western slope then crosses a stream, often dry, and heads up a steep and windy trail on the eastern slope until "la ruine du Mas de l'Arboussier (or Arbousier)."
(3) Keep to the trail arriving at a ledge at high point 328.
(4) In a left turn, leave the path to follow a small footpath to the right heading down towards "Grotte or Baume du Cellier" located thirty or so metres below, of which the entrance is somewhat hidden by vegetation. Careful not to fall in the pitch (hole) over the entrance of the cave. After visiting the cave, head back to the path that goes along Combe de la Blande which heads back up towards the junction with the path coming from "l'Ermitage de Notre-Dame de Belle-Grâce".
(5) Head right and keep going until you get to a hairpin.
(6) Leave the trail taking a right to visit another retreat which is semi-troglodyte, underneath the cliff. To find it, keep to the footpath on the far left and head down a hundred odd metres using your hands and remaining close to the cliff.
(7) After the visit, return to (6) and head right to reach the pass.
(8) Keep going right on the forest trail through "pins de Salzmann" (a subspecies of pine tree) for roughly 200 metres.
(9) At the cairn, turn right onto a small trail that heads up to the foot of Roc la Vigne (10) the climb is easy and the 180° view to the north is exceptional.
Return to (9) and go right onto a path which remains flat until high point 533.
(11) Turn right and tackle the descent, steep and rocky at times, leading to a lovely abandoned hamlet "l'Estagnol".
(12) Leave the trail that heads off to the west and take the one heading south. After crossing l'Estagnol prairie, it heads downhill reaching the car park, just opposite (S/F).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 80m
1 : km 0.24 - alt. 73m - Start on the path to the right
2 : km 0.8 - alt. 98m - Uphill trail on the right
3 : km 2.6 - alt. 310m - Mas de l'Arboussier
4 : km 2.96 - alt. 334m - Baume du Cellier
5 : km 4.76 - alt. 594m - Head right
6 : km 5.23 - alt. 620m - Junction
7 : km 5.48 - alt. 630m - semi-troglodyte retreat
8 : km 6.04 - alt. 640m - Right at the pass
9 : km 6.22 - alt. 646m - Junction
10 : km 6.53 - alt. 689m - Roc de la Vigne
11 : km 8.09 - alt. 542m - Downhill to the right
12 : km 10.53 - alt. 308m - Estagnol hamlet
D/A : km 12.71 - alt. 80m
Bring a torch to visit Baume du Cellier cave and lots of water if it's the summer (season not recommended).
Good shoes are required as the trails are stony.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The Mas de l'Arbousier remains and its oven.
Beautiful concretions in "Grotte de la Baume du Cellier". Do not venture inside without a torch, there are shafts inside which could prove to be dangerous.
The remains of the old retreat under the cliff.
Climb to the top of the Roc de la Vigne, the view is a sight for sore eyes.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.