A beautiful circular walk through the varied and undulating landscapes of this part of the Monts du Lyonnais, taking you through the pretty, shady valley of the Bâtie stream and along the Rontalon botanical trail. The route follows an old railroad track from the early twentieth century, before climbing up through a Mediterranean style forest and past some market gardens. End by visiting the medieval village of Rochefort where you can visit the remains of the keep and the chapel.
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.
(D) Leave the car park on the D311 along the small road down to the right. Follow this tarmacked road as far as the houses at La Bléniere, which the path skirts around to the left. The tarmacked road turns into a dirt track, which runs along the edge of the forest.
(1) After taking a 90° turn to the right, ignore the path down to the river and keep going along the pleasant shaded path that runs along the Artilla valley. When you reach the small stream, cross over the first bridge and then the second. After the second bridge, climb up to the right. Keep going along the path until you reach a small tarmacked road, which you then take to the right as far as Niguet farm.
(2) Take the path to the left (northeast) between a shed and a cross. Keep going along this path for about 1km, ignoring any paths off to either side.
(3) At the T-junction, turn right (south) uphill. After the stone barn at Le Combet, take the path off to the left. As you go past a farm, the track becomes tarmacked. Keep going as far as the road (4) which you then take to the left towards the farms you can see on the hill top.
(5) Shortly after the hamlet of Tiremanteau, take the path to the left. Stay on this stone path until you reach a small tarmacked road (ignore the path off to the left).
Keep going for about one hundred metres until you reach the junction at point 549, where there is a cross. Take the dirt track opposite you.
Ignore the two paths off to the right and (6) continue into the undergrowth of Rontalon botanical trail. There are fact sheets at the start of the trail and information boards.
(7) When you reach the orchards, take the path to the left. Walk along the ballast of an old railway track (early twentieth century), and keep following the bends until you reach the main road.
(8). Cross the D311 and take the road that bears off to the right opposite you. Before reaching the hamlet of La Burlière (you'll recognize the typical architecture of the small stations of the early twentieth century), take the small path up to the left through the woods. When you reach a tarmacked road, turn right. After about two hundred metres, take the path up to the left. Continue on this path which winds up through a beautiful forest, ignoring the marked path on your left which leads down to la Martinière.
(9) Come out of the forest and continue straight on, ignoring all the paths off to the right. The path widens and then reaches the hamlet of Le Bayard.
(10) Continue along the road opposite you (west) along the hillside. As you come out of the bend, you will be able to see the farms of Gazanchon up ahead of you. You don’t need to keep going as far as the crossroads.
(11) Take the grassy path that cuts through the fields. Then continue along the road to the left, which takes you past a farm.
A sign indicates that you are leaving France and entering La Poipe (!) Don’t go down towards the farm, but instead go straight on down the red and white marked GR trail (Grande Randonnée – Long Hike). Follow this path past some livestock buildings on your left and keep going until you reach the road. Continue straight over the road towards the village of Rochefort ahead of you.
(12) Keep going as far as the village along the path that climbs up ahead of you. When you reach the village, you can visit the remains of the keep and the pretty chapel. Take the stairs down to the right at the entrance of the chapel. A small path runs between the walls. Cut across to a small path which you take to the left. This path leads onto a small tarmacked road shortly afterwards, which you take to the right to get back to the car park (D/A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 630m
1 : km 0.84 - alt. 522m - Right-hand bend
2 : km 1.83 - alt. 610m - Le Niguet
3 : km 2.86 - alt. 559m - Right at the crossing
4 : km 3.72 - alt. 629m - Left down the road
5 : km 4.44 - alt. 629m - Path on the left
6 : km 5.53 - alt. 539m - Start of the botanical trail
7 : km 6.22 - alt. 476m - Beginning of the old railway track
8 : km 8.15 - alt. 421m - Main road
9 : km 9.93 - alt. 664m - Botanical trail
10 : km 10.61 - alt. 698m - Le Bayard
11 : km 11.39 - alt. 749m - Take the left-hand path
12 : km 13.57 - alt. 717m - Rochefort
D/A : km 14.27 - alt. 629m
Departure point: the large well signposted car park on the right of the D311 (as you drive up to Saint-Martin-en-Haut).
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Old railway line
The remains of an old railway line (with 1 metre spacing) which used to run from Fourvière to Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise. Built between 1910 and 1914, it ran until 1933.
Medieval village of Rochefort
A medieval 13th century town with some beautiful relics, including an old door, the remains of the keep, and a chapel which houses a beautiful stained glass window from the 15th century.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.