Another original way to get to this beautiful viewpoint that is the Saint-Sabin chapel on a small bluff in the heart of the Pilat Park, pouring into the Rhône Valley, with some of the best views of the Alps and pre-Alps (especially across the south). At the chapel, many signs and indications tell the story of the place and its flora.
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.
Saint-Appolinard is located between Maclas (42) and Annonay (07). The starting point is the hamlet of Pourzin, located in the north-east of this county. From the D503, just before arriving in Pourzin, park in the tennis courts’ car park (one passes under a wooden portico limiting access height), plenty of spaces.
(S) Head north and climb a hundred metres towards the hamlet.
(1) At the intersection, cross the road and go straight between the new houses to the left and a stone wall on the right. Do not follow the ATV or GR markings. Climb about 200 m to the new houses.
(2) Above, pass between the last two houses turning left on the path becomes quite hard going (especially in winter) to turn into a "single" (narrow track) for mountain bikes heading west. This lovely trail becomes flat and joins a path that comes from the left.
(3) Turn right. From there, the route only takes you up to St. Sabin. So if the descent is steep, then there has been a mistake.
(4) 200 m further on up, at the fork, take the trail to the left on the most clearly marked path. After an intermittently sustained rise, you reach a more open area and a crossroads.
(5) At that crossroads (signposted for the Park - Maison Sabot, hill 655) turn left and then, after 50 metres, turn left again towards Le Verdier (6). The path (narrower) continues between the hedges and meets once the D34 which is to be crossed. Continue through the woods to get back on the road that we follow to the right for 100 m, before taking the wide path to the right. Leave a higher road on the right and reach a more open ledge (new park sign - hill 830).
(7) Continue opposite in the direction of Buet, and turn right at the following junction. A sign with information about to the hamlet of Le Buet which is crossed by heading due north. Continue up and leave Le Buet to arrive on a small plateau with chapel slightly to the left.
(8) At hill 935, at an intersection of roads lined with stone walls, turn left towards Saint-Sabin (sign for the Park). The trail continues to climb and sometimes takes quite a steep climb. Go through a fir forest to reach a ledge and a wide track. Follow this track to the right for 200 m to a fork.
(9) Turn right at a final sign pointing to the chapel. Last lovely passages on a narrow path alternating between deciduous underwood and views leading the Saint-Sabin chapel. This arrival is always magical.
(10) Down from the chapel by the north side of the stone is a path that walkers use from the car park.
(11) Down the road, turn right to the two houses of Saint-Sabin. Go behind the Vert Ane inn and begin the descent by the path (signpost indicating Veranne Park by Nordet). The trail is nice and quietly descends through the Michodon and Ligue farms to lead to a track (hill 790) just after a nice hairpin bend to the right.
(12) Cross the path to across the south-east oriented path that goes down steeply (do not stay on the flat track).
(13) 300 m lower down, where La Selle branches out, do not go left but continue down a few metres and then turn sharply to the right to find the slightly hidden path to Plode crossing a thalweg. If you missed the trail down to the asphalt road and then turn right to go up Plode (you will have barely lost 5 minutes).
Cross the hamlet of Plode and, at the intersection, continue due south towards two hangars on the left of the path heading gently uphill. Pass by two paths on the right and the access road to the hamlet of Varizière also on the right and cross the road (D34). Pass along a house on the left of the path and find the path to ascend hill 654 (6).
From here follow the signs for Pourzin and go along the outbound path in the opposite direction to get back to the car 10 minutes later (S/F).
D/A : km 0 - alt. 464m
1 : km 0.13 - alt. 475m - Intersection, go straight ahead
2 : km 0.28 - alt. 487m - T-junction, turn left
3 : km 0.61 - alt. 513m - Intersection, turn right
4 : km 0.82 - alt. 536m - Fork, turn left
5 : km 1.74 - alt. 651m - Junction of paths, turn left
6 : km 1.83 - alt. 656m - T-junction
7 : km 3.16 - alt. 835m - Separation of paths, turn right
8 : km 4.37 - alt. 939m - Fork, take the left
9 : km 5.44 - alt. 1077m - Separation of paths, turn right
10 : km 6.19 - alt. 1102m - Arrival at the chapel
11 : km 6.66 - alt. 1053m - Behind the inn, go down to the right
12 : km 8.41 - alt. 793m - Junction with a wider track, cross in front
13 : km 8.76 - alt. 748m - Junction of paths, take right towards Plode
D/A : km 12.25 - alt. 464m
At the first signs of spring, this hike allows a good recovery with the altitude, in a nice setting, typical of the Rhone’s Pilat: small streams, hamlets, stony paths, flowering meadows. Southern exposure (warmer than the northern slopes).
This route is not marked as such, the departure is not "obvious" and it is good to have a map with the route and the description with you. The travel time of course depends on age, fitness, aims (the site time calculator give margin for error)
(10) Back to Pourzin by the same route.
(11) Climb up to the antenna, due north by the Odouard trail. This should take about an hour.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
At Chapel Saint-Sabin, 180° views: The Alps, the Grandes Rousses, the Ecrins, Belledonne, Vercors... clear weather including a southerly wind (synonymous in the Pilat with the next arrival of rain but also the impression of the closeness of mountains). The antenna in the north seems close (despite being 3/4 of an hour away above) and you can see all the way down the path taken a few minutes ago.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.