A course over hills, with beautiful views of the Massif des Trois Pignons. Passages on platières in the middle of the moor with an unobstructed view, interspersed with passages in undergrowth and amid boulders. A varied, rather sporty hike.
N.B. The drop is probably underestimated: expect something more in the order of 300 metres.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Park at the car park at the Canche aux Mercers (from Arbonne-la-Forêt, take Route d’Achères-la-Forêt - D64; after a kilometre and a sharp turn left, take a small road on the right, go under the motorway leading to the car park).
This hike follows the Denecourt-Colinet trail No. 16, in Blue on the IGN map. Markings are dense with very clear indications on the ground (signs indicating variants in particular). Nevertheless, there are few passages where you have to be careful not to lose the route.
(S) At the end of the car park, take the path due west. Quickly reach the junction of the two branches of the circuit, heading south and north (sign). Follow the left branch towards the west. The path winds through the woods while remaining parallel to a wide path some distance to the left. Cross a short sandy area with some rocks and then continue through the woods. The trail, which becomes “carved" into the sandy soil, stands in open field (clear signs of an old forest fire). Return to the the underwood and continue to the west.
(1) Continue westward through the woods. The path veers to the south to then reach a wider path (Chemin de la Charme). Cross the road, continue south slightly uphill and reach a ledge lined with many rocks, where you can enjoy a beautiful view (junction with the circuit of the 25 bumps (25 Bosses), marked in Red).
(2) Do not follow the Red markings, but head right at acute angle on the trail marked in Blue. Continue west. The trail descends turning right, crosses another path to then go up opposite (north).
(3) Continue to the west. The path mostly runs along the plateau edge, with beautiful views on the left. The trail takes a west-northwesterly direction, it goes up and down in the middle of a large cluster of sandstone boulders the size of paving slabs (old quarries).
(4) The trail turns right to the north and begins a descent into the Gorge aux Chats. After crossing several perpendicular paths, head up steeply. The trail turns left and makes a hairpin on the right.
(5) It is on the north branch of the circuit and the trail takes a generally east orientation. Remaining at an almost constant altitude, ignore some trails heading to the left. After a pronounced bend on the right, the trail leaves the plateau to lead to a clear area of heathland on platières (the Laris).
(6) Continue on the moor and back north along the edge of the plateau. Walk due east to a viewpoint (in front of the stone building slightly to the right is the water of the Loing, noted on the IGN map).
(7) Do not move away from the edge of the board (it is possible to confuse this with the 16-16 shortcut, which turns south), but instead continue to the east. Head down over a short distance, cross a path and head up opposite. South-east oriented, the trail alternates short climbs and descents, passing by some boulders.
(8) The trail turns left and goes down steeply. At the bottom of the descent, turn right and ignore a path on the left towards the car park of the Feuillardière. Soon after, back on the right. The trail continues up amidst the boulders. Continue eastward. Head down to reach the Loing aqueduct facilities and head round it to orient yourself south. After turning left, the trail makes a final short climb and then head down and join the south branch of the circuit taken at the start of the hike. Turn left onto this road to quickly reach the starting point.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 253ft
1 : mi 0.78 - alt. 381ft - Starting point of the first shortcut
2 : mi 1.18 - alt. 364ft - Junction with the Circuit des 25 Bosses
3 : mi 1.72 - alt. 390ft - Starting point of the second shortcut
4 : mi 2.31 - alt. 341ft - Change of direction
5 : mi 2.9 - alt. 364ft - Natural shelter
6 : mi 3.48 - alt. 387ft - End point of the second shortcut
7 : mi 3.92 - alt. 367ft - End point of the first shortcut
8 : mi 4.24 - alt. 367ft - Beginning of a fast downhill portion
D/A : mi 5.19 - alt. 253ft
In case of rain there is natural shelter (rock overhang) (5).
The hike is described here in the clockwise direction, but the reverse is just as practicable (there are markings for both directions).
‘’Alternatives to shorten the hike''
Two shortcuts are possible on this hike, indicated by signs on site.
- First shortcut - At point (2) turn right and follow trail 16-16 indicated on the IGN map (blue markings). Go through an intersection in the forest, then take the path that goes due north and crosses the platière. Join the north branch of the circuit at (7). Turn right and follow the end of the route to the starting point. Expect this shortened circuit to take approximately one hour on foot.
- Second shortcut - At point (3) turn right and follow trail 16-16 as indicated on the IGN map (Blue markings). Journey north and then turn right into the Gorge aux Chats. Turn right to get on the platière and join the northern branch of the circuit (6). Turn right and follow the end of the route to the starting point. Expect this shortened circuit to take approximately two hours on foot.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- from (3) to (4) on the “Bosses" of the Trois Pignons massif (including the monument to the guerrillas);
- from (5) to (7) at Sucremont.
Platières, heathland and moorland to Calune from (6) to (7).
Old sandstone quarries between (3) and (4).
Numerous rocks of various shapes, some carved rocks, the remains of an old telegraph... indicated on site by letters in Blue.
The Massif des Trois Pignons is situated on the edge of Fontainebleau forest. The walk takes you past the Rocher des Guetteurs, the Sables du Cul du Chien, the Diplodocus, and the Rocher de la Tortue.
As the name suggests, is this route ascends 25 mounds that form a circuit of the of the Trois Pignons forest. A hike amid the rocks that makes an excellent training run before mountain hikes in the summer.
N.B. The elevation is underestimated: between 800 and 900 metres total cumulative change in altitude. It’s difficult to find a larger change in altitude in the Ile-de-France, unless you want to take the steps up and down the Eiffel Tower three times on the trot. Expect to be walking for 6 to 7 hours.
A pretty hike in the Massif des Trois Pignons, on the edge of Fontainebleau forest.
Starting from an old retreat which has been visited since the 11th century, this hike allows you to explore the Gorges de Franchard and the surrounding areas. Winding through rocks and several rock shelters such as the well-known Antre des Druides.
N.B. The difference in altitude is probably higher than stated: roughly 100 metres and a 2 hour walk.
From the Ermitage de Franchard, this is a very varied hike which will take you past old sandstone quarries, the Gorges du Houx and the charming Mare aux Pigeons. On the route are several vast viewing points, numerous spectacular rocks and the curious Grotte du Serment cave.
N.B. The elevation and the time shown appear to be under-estimated: count on about 250 meters and 4 hours of walking.
Fontainebleau forest is one of the most beautiful French forests thanks to its varied landscapes and, in particular, its sandstone blocks. This hike circles the Apremont gorges along the Colinet-Denecourt path N°6 and lets you enjoy it in all its beauty and fragility, the latter due both to natural erosion and human use, and is near the Paris region.
The very enjoyable scent of pine is everywhere. And the small sand dune that I would the "Little Dune of Pyla" is lovely.
Depart from the Maison Forestière de Maintenon for a 16 km walk.
For more walks, use our search engine.
The GPS track and description are the property of the author.