I hesitate to even write this post as Ventoux is a mountain to be conquered à velo (by bicycle). But hey, we needed mountains to climb in preparation for our trip to Nepal and there it was, rising out of the Provençal countryside, the highest climb in the area.
In all fairness I should warn that this is not my favorite hike. The trails are in good condition and it’s a steady ascent with no real scrambles to the top, but maybe there is a reason people go à velo as much of the trail is along forest roads with no real views. It’s only the last section of switchbacks that affords the amazing vast views of the area, which can also be seen en voiture.
From Le Pays du Ventoux…à pied, #45 Sainte Croix. 23.3 kilometers up and back with a total ascent of 1514 meters.
Starting point: Sainte Colombe (463 m), on the D974, 4 kilometers east of Bedoin. Park at the small lot in town. The trail is blazed yellow with frequent signed junctions. Unfortunately at the time we did the hike, September 2012, many of the signs had been ripped off of their posts.
Directions translated from the French.
- Cross the D974, head towards the boulangerie and turn right on a small road. Pass the cemetery and climb to the right towards a reservoir before arriving at Constants (519 m).
- Turn right and go 500 meters to Pins des Constants (526 m).
- Take the forest trail to the left. About 200 m before the road to Cèdres, bear left and cross the road two times before reaching the Cèdres junction (882 m).
- Continue to climb, crossing the road another two times and continue on another 600 meters. Near a cistern cross the road one more time before arriving at jas de la Couanche (1,142 m).
- Take the road to the left (west) to reach Combe Fiole Sud, traverse a forest trail and pass a small valley to reach Combe Fiole Nord (1153).
- Climb to the right and enter the combe (valley). Pass the rocher (rock) de l’Aiguille and continue to climb up the valley. At the road turn left leaving the Petit Pierre valley behind. Look for a trail that climbs on the right a short ways past the turn. Continue to climb to the small shelter at jas des Pèlerins (1514 m).
- Above the shelter take the trail through the beach wood trees to reach the switchbacks that lead to the Sainte Croix church. To the right of the church the trail leads to the restaurant and the Mt Ventoux pass (1883 m).
- Take the road to the summit (1912 m).
For links to all the posts in this series see the South of France page.