Hiking Sentier des Gardes is hard work and challenging underfoot, especially coming down, but worth it for the breathtaking views across the Hérault towards the Mediterranian.
Great parking at the Gorge d’Heric car park (with services, no electric), where you can stay overnight for €6. This is a large car park with lots of secluded level spaces and shade.
No, hard going up and even harder coming down.
There are loos and a small cafe in the car park, beyond that there is nothing until you get to the village of Saint-Martin-de-l’Arcon at the bottom.
Reasonably busy on the first third, after that as the going gets tougher, you may see one or two people. We had the orientation table to ourselves with no other sign of people anywhere close.
Hiking Sentier des Gardes, Caroux, Hérault
This is a shady hike with little respite from the ascent which can be steep and shaky as you near the orientation table. The path is not always clear and you may have to pick your way across scrub and rocks.
Start the hike from the first bridge over the Gorge d’Heric as you head out of the carpark, you will see the first sign on the opposite side. The path in places is not always clear so pay attention and look out for marks on rocks, follow the red and white markers. You may pick up blue triangles, these are for downhill MBX madmen so do not follow!
There are truly spectacular views from the top at the orientation table. On the return, at the signpost you will have passed on the way up, turn left towards Saint-Martin-de-l’Arcon if you want to do the circular route, be aware this descent is tricky underfoot. If you prefer just head back the way you came, which is an easier descent by far.
If taking the circular route, follow the signs through the village of Saint-Martin-de-l’Arcon back around the base of the Caroux mountain to the bridge you first crossed. It would be helpful to be able to access Google Maps for the route from Saint-Martin to the bridge as it is not marked well once out of the village.
There is an opportunity for a swim in the Gorge d’Heric, with crystal clear and refreshing water, at the end of the hike if you have the energy!