Between marlstone and forests, a hike to the south of Gap.
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.
Access : To the south of Gap in the direction of Barcellonnette, via the departmental road 90 B. 5km after exiting the city at point 658, on the right is a car park of a dozen spaces in which you can park.
(D/A) Take the bridge across the river and follow the road which becomes a track, until you find two barriers.
Push the right-hand barrier to continue and reach the intersection of spot height 713.
(1) Continue opposite on a gentle climb, fully south, to join a well-marked trail. Follow it south to an intersection 900m further on.
(2) Turn right to reach the Crêtes de Cristayes (sport height 909).
(3). Turn left to reach the highest point of the hike 900m further south. Continue along the ridge descending southwest to join the GR653D.
(4) Follow the GR left for about 900m before you find an intersection.
(5) Turn right in the direction of Tallard and Chateauvieux, southwest, through marlstone and rocks to join a tarmac road.
(6) Leave this, turning right in the direction of Chateauvieux, on a well marked trail through the marlstone.
Arrive close to a kennel, cross the village of Chateauvieux until the chapel and turn right. After 250m find a trail on the left.
(7) Leave the tarmac road, follow the trail and rejoin the road further on in Bel-Air. Follow this for about 300m where you'll come to a new crossroads.
(8) Turn left on a track that leads to the GR you took earlier.
(9) Cross it and take the forest track opposite which leads you for 120m on a gentle slope to the intersection of ridges.
(3) Go slightly left (north) on a trail that's easy at the beginning, but which then becomes more slippery and very steep. Reach an intersection at an altitude of 800m.
(10) Turn left and then right to join a track that leads to point (1) and then the car park (D/A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 664m
1 : km 0.73 - alt. 729m - Exit the track
2 : km 2.05 - alt. 780m - Intersection, turn right
3 : km 3.01 - alt. 894m - Arrive on the ridges
4 : km 4.37 - alt. 888m - GR, turn left
5 : km 5.22 - alt. 834m - Turn right
6 : km 7.37 - alt. 751m - Direction: Chateauvieux
7 : km 9.72 - alt. 816m - Leave the asphalt road
8 : km 10.98 - alt. 882m - Leave the asphalt road
9 : km 11.36 - alt. 881m - Take the track opposite
10 : km 13.25 - alt. 775m - Turn left and then right, forest track
D/A : km 14.7 - alt. 664m
Apart from the GR, the trail doesn't have route markers, but it is always well defined. Drinking water available in the village of Chateauvieux.
Variant: at point (3), reach the starting point on the outward leg by passing point (2) and then(1).
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Marlstone (source Wikipedia): Marlstone is a sedimentary rock, a mixture of limestone and clay in more-or-less equal proportions varying from 35% to 65%. Beyond 65% limestone, it is an argillaceous limestone, while below 35% limestone it is calcareous clay.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.