Hike le Pic des Salines, French Pyrenees

This pleasant hike through open forest and across a high ridge starts in the hills above Céret, along the Spanish border. Vantage points promise views of the Canigou peak to the west, the Mediterranean to the east and the Spanish Pyrenees to south.

We hiked this loop on two separate occasions, May25th and June 16th. Unfortunately, in May cloudy conditions around Canigou greatly diminished the views while in the other direction the sea was visible even if hazy. In June we enjoyed much improved views towards Canigou and the Spanish Pyrenees while the Mediterranean remained undercover.

Still, the potential views and pleasant hiking conditions are worth a third or even fourth attempt.

To reach the parking area at Fontfreda  follow the signs from Céret along D13F. It’s a long winding road through the mountains but remains paved. At the lot (elevation 1021 m) take the trail starting next to the  Fontfreda spring.

The yellow blazed trail climbs and quickly reaches a ridge through open forest.

At the fork continue to the left, still following the yellow blazes. The trail to the right will be your return track. Continue to follow the yellow blazes past the col (pass) dels Cirères. Along a flat grassy area look for the yellow blazed trail that splits off to the right from the red and white blazed GR10.

From here the trail climbs steeply up the hillside to the ridge and on to the Pic des Salines and the Spanish border, with views of Canigou and the Spanish Pyrenees.

Just past the peak the trail (still blazed yellow) turns to the right and follows the border until you reach a paved road winding up the hill from Spain.

At this crossroads look for the red and white blazes at the base of a large rock on your right (the other side of the rock shown in the photo above) and follow them back along the ridge through open forest back to the first crossroads mentioned above (marked 1 on the map). From here take the yellow blazed trail that climbs back up the ridge to the left (do not take the larger road to the right) back to the parking lot.

11 kilometers with a 550 meter total ascent.

From Les Pyrénées-Orientales – balade et randonnée à pied, #6 Le Pic des Salines.

And if you get an early start and finish at lunch time, remember that restaurant Can Jordi, 10 Boulevard Jean Jaures in Céret has a lovely montagne et mer salade.

May 25 and June 16, 2012

For links to all the posts in this series see the French Pyrenees page.