Easy High Mountain Hiking
Col de Turini
Crêtes de L’Arpiha
by Judy Churchill
The summer is the one time of the year that all the high mountain trails become accessible and you really shouldn’t miss out because you will never see comparable views on the lower levels. However, many people are daunted by the fact that the great majority of these trails are demanding and have a significant positive gain. So here is one that is the exact opposite and takes place in one of my favorite local high mountain haunts – the Col de Turini.
The whole family can enjoy this hike with the most amazing views and you can eat out at one of the small hotel restaurants on the Col. There is also the possibility of buying local cheese from the ‘vacherie’ so don’t miss out on that treat as it’s delicious.
As you will be starting high up at 1604m there is only 160m of positive gain and this is a Happy Hiker green trail which will only take you 2 hours 30 minutes. Everyone can manage this one and you will stay nice and cool as is goes through the forest. The trail can be done any time between June and October.
There is a magical atmosphere at the Col de Turini and it’s a favorite stopping place for cyclists and bikers.
If you live in or around Monaco then your best route is via Sospel and then follow signs to the Col de Turini.
Park by the hotels and from the Col (1604m) walk 700 m up the road until you reach way marker 234 which is the start of the track that leads to the Vacherie de Mantégas where you can buy your cheese on the way back (1690m waymarker 235).
Follow the forest path up to waymarker 235a and then start going down to the baisse de l’Arpiha (1530m – waymarker 236).
For those of you who want to be wowed by the view over mont Meunier, le Brec d’Utelle, le Siruol and the village of Venason and as far as the eye can see, there is a final optional short rocky spike to climb to the top of L’Arpiha (1634m). It’s pretty easy and the view from the top is unbeatable.
The way back winds westwards, then South around the tête de Scoubayon on a lovely shady path. Then going East, the path meets the same point at 1648 m as on the way out at way marker 235a, approximately 500 metres away from the Vacherie de Mantégas (way marker 235) where you can buy your cheese.
Follow the trail back to the start of the track and go back down the road to the Col de Turini.
When walking, I advise taking hiking sticks, as they will help you with both the ascents and descents. 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 quality 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, lightweight golfing jacket from One Eagle Monaco that not only enables 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 “Vallée de la Vésubie” TOP 25 n° 3741 0T map (can be purchased online or in some newsagents and sports shops) to mark out your trail before you set off.
If you are a French speaker you can also find the hike on the following link:
but you will still need your IGN map as these on-line 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.com
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
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