Spectacular Trails on Monaco’s Doorstep
Cime de Baudon
If you are ready for a challenging Happy Hiker Red trail but don’t want something too long or demanding then the Cime de Baudon is a great place to start.
This is one of my all-time favorite local trails. Not only will you get to see some amazing views but you will also have the opportunity to visit the picturesque, historic village of Peille.
Just a stone’s throw from Monaco, the Peille countryside will transport you into another world, a mountain environment of green, Mediterranean, unspoiled woodland and fresh air. It’s not surprising that so many people have made Peille their second home.
This 7 km hike has a vertical gain of 620m and will take you under 4 hours to complete including a stop for a picnic.
Drive up to Peille via la Turbie and park on bd. Aristide Briand at the top of the village as near as possible to the St. Bernard steps (at the upper end of the road) which is where you will find your first-way marker.
Go up the steps and then the Barri path and after 1 km you will reach the col St-Bernard (746m).
Carry on up the forest trail following the yellow ‘balises’ and then onto a wider path taking you through the pine grove and then along the Assalin ridge. You carry on up the trail until you get to a vast plateau (974m) above the Col de la Madone. Here you will get an amazing view of the coast towards Menton and Italy.
The next part is steep. Keep following the yellow ‘balises’ up through the rocks (you need good mountain boots/shoes for this – don’t do this trail in trainers). The trail levels off and you will reach the summit by taking a right turn northwards.
When you reach the top you will be astounded by the spectacular 360° panorama you have before you. You will be able to see not only the Riviera coastline but also the incredible mountaintops of the Mercantour. There are very few places offering such a mind-blowing view at such a relatively low altitude (1264m). The orientation table is a great spot to take pictures and find your bearings.
Go back down the trail to the point where you took the northwards hook and then set off back in the opposite direction along the ridge, northwestwards towards the Rocher du Pied de Jacques.
Just before the two electricity pylons, turn left, southwards and go down the windy path which leads to the forest. Carry on along the mountainside and you will eventually rejoin the trail you took on the way up via the Assalins ridge. Carry on down to the start point at the Col de Bernard and don’t forget to visit the village and have a drink there.
When walking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you with both the ascents and the way down. They also guarantee you get a full body work out. You’ll need a cap and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face (the sun is a lot stronger in the hills and mountains so don’t forget the sunscreen). Remember to take more water than you think you’ll need (at least a litre and a half per person) and enough protein bars for during and after the hike. I always have a high fibre, high protein breakfast before I set off which means that I don’t need to carry a large picnic with me as good protein bars are sufficient (always take a couple of extra ones). Purpose-made hiking boots/shoes, a roll-up rain jacket, first aid kit, and a rucksack are a must and you will need lighter wear for the Spring/Summer season and heavier/warmer for Autumn and Winter. I have a Bogner zip-up, long-sleeved, light-weight golfing jacket from One Eagle Monaco which not only enables a full range of movement but is also great for cooler Spring/Autumn walks as it keeps you at the perfect body temperature. In the winter months, you will need extra layers of clothing, gloves, a warm hat, and thicker socks. Last but not least, you will need the IGN TOP 25 map n° 3742 OT map (Nice-Menton) to mark out your trail before you set off.
If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on this link: https://randoxygene.departement06.fr/pays-nicois/cime-de-baudon-9302.html but you will still need your IGN map as these online guides are only approximate. There are also hike specific apps such as Visorando, which have both free and purchasable versions and can be very useful guides and even have GPS options https://www.visorando.comhttps://www.visorando.comwhic.
If you have Strava you can record your walk on this app and it will give you lots of fascinating statistics at the end as well as totaling up the number of km/altitude you do in any given year.
When you’re done, I strongly recommend a foot massage using Young Living Essential Foot Oil (a combo of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender) – your feet will thank you later!
Enjoy your hike and don’t forget your camera!