If you're staying on the western side of the French Riviera, anywhere near Le Muy, Frejus, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, La Motte or in that general area, here's a nice hike on mostly flat open terrain.
Why do I like this hike? Because it's close to Frejus, yet it's out in the forest of the Colle du Rouet where a few beautiful parasol pines, oak trees and bushes of mimosas flourish. Parts of the forest burned last year (see our article about it below), but this particular hike avoids the burned areas. Along most of the trail, you're surrounded by "Le Roc" or the Rocher de Roquebrune to the south and by the reddish brown volcanic hilsl of the Rouet to the north.
The full loop is 8 km long. The hike takes about 3 hours, going at a slow pace.
As with many footpaths in the region, this one is poorly indicated. Plan a little extra time in case you get lost and carry a cell phone... here's how to follow the route:
- Begin on the G78 Piste de Palayson after the ONF forest ranger station and before & to the left of the Maison Forestiere de Palayson.
- Stay on this wide G78 footpath and leave on your right a series of branching footpathes: G89, G88, G87 Les Flacs Sud, G86 Les Facs, G85 Les Flacs Nord.
- Turn right onto the G90 Le Catchéou footpath.
- At the end of the vineyard, take the path on the right, opposite the one way sign.
- You'll cross a small river twice (river may be dry in summer), once with stepping stones and once with a jump (again, depends on weather).
- You'll hike with the Rouet hills to your back and continue along heading south on the Piste du Trou de la Jarre. Unfortunately, I found no sign here to indicate the name...
- You'll leave the G85 Les Flacs Nord, G86, G87 etc... to your right and continue straight on a path parallel to the one you took the other direction.
- You see the G88 La Borne path, and again leave it to your right to continue straight ahead.
- At the T intersection where the Trou de La Jarre path stops, go right and then left on the main G78 Piste de Palayson that began this journey. You're back at your car.
View AzurAlive.com: Trou de la Jarre Hike in a larger map
The hiking terrain is flat the first half the way, with a short rocky downhill on the loop back. Not as rocky as in the Esterel Mountains, mostly wide sandy footpaths that you could also easily bike with an all-terrain bike. As with all of our hikes, you need hiking shoes or at least supportive walking or sports shoes.
The trick is not to miss the entrance to this "Forêt Domaniale de la Colle du Rouët" after Puget-sur-Argens when you're coming from Fréjus, on the other side of the A8 from Roquebrune-sur-Argens. The entrance is immediately after the discrete A8 overpass after the round-about that heads to Roquebrune-sur-Argens.
See the below Google map to pin point it.
View AzurAlive.com: Forêt de Palayson in a larger map