After quite a few days of rain and DVD marathons during our fall break in Fréjus, France, we were aching to stretch our legs and see some of the sights. The red volcanic rock formations of the Massif de L’Esterel and Cap Roux, in particular, were beckoning.
A short 20-30 minute drive from our rental property took us to the bottom of the Massif where we quite literally had to cross the Ste Baume creek. The rain from the last 4 days overflowed the road leading to the Ste Baum car park. Not familiar with the area it almost meant we didn’t walk at all but fortunately, we encountered a French couple coming our way on their bikes. Apart from the flooding at the bottom, the rest of the road was in good condition.
What is more fun than racing through the below with water splashing up to the windows?
Pic Cap Roux
Halfway up we reached the Ste Baume car park, and we found a spot alongside the road as most of the other spots (maybe 10 in total, be aware in high season!), had already been taken. A bottle of water in hand we set off for this approximately 5 km trail.
Pic Cap Roux is around 453 meters high and though the trail isn’t too hard, it is quite uneven. At the top you should have a 360-degree view. Should. In our case, we climbed up and up into the low hanging clouds which made for very beautiful pictures and views too.
On top of the World
We made our way through the fine misty clouds that took away the sunlight and reached the summit. In an eerie, kind of dark atmosphere. As we rested with another family who enjoyed a picnic at the top, we waited to see if the sun would break through again. Walking up, sun and clouds had chased each other away off and on thereby also changing the entire feel of the climb. Uplifting, bright and beautiful or changing to secretive, dark and dangerous when you looked down the slopes. Or a combination when the glint of the sun reflected on the Mediterranean Sea peeked from underneath the moist and clingy cloud.
Well, we waited in vain both for the sun and thus for that amazing 360-degree view. Not that we minded because most of it is visible as you climb anyway. After a short 10 minute rest, we started our descent, and the lower we got, the more the sun accompanied us.
Cap Roux Tips
I normally love to tell you about all the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ of the 320km2 mountain range. But I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Just some tips:
Depending on the season: bring water and realize the car park really is very small, so either come early or late in the day in high season.
Make sure to wear proper footwear: the track is uneven with some big steps to take and sharp rock to circumnavigate. After or during rain it can be very muddy and slippery. At certain points, the trail is narrow and you’d easily slide down the side
The entire trail will take between 1.5 – 2.5hrs depending on how busy it is or how much time you have. Kids as young as 4 years made it up and down the track.
We didn’t go here but you can extend your time in the Massif with a visit to the Honorat Cave nearby.
Do you like hiking? Would Cap Roux make it onto your to-do list for Southern France?