Happy ascent to Mont Lion

It is the first day of spring and the day of happiness. The morning in Nice is hazy, partly sunny the temperature at about 14⁰C and rising. The planned hike to Mont Lion can go ahead as planned.

The village of Gilette –with one l-is about 30 km northwest of Nice. When using the newish RD 6202 bis road you pass the town of Carros in no time. Continuing north, at the last roundabout just before the bridge Charles Albert, you turn uphill along RD 17 to reach Gilette. You are now in the region of Vallée de l’Estéron.

Today’s goal Mont Lion (1049m) is clearly visible from the village. The guidebook recommends the hike called Tour du Mont Lion where you can visit the summit, then continue around the whole mountain. This hike takes 6.5 hours and climbs 900+ meters vertical. We have previously done the longer alternative, and think it does not add much. Climbing up to the summit and descending the same route is actually strenuous enough, but you are rewarded with great views from the summit. From Gilette, you first have to descend about 100 m to 320 m before starting the continuous ascent (700 m vertical) to Mont Lion. Signposts (4, 13, 14, 15, and 53) are clear enough and the trail is marked with the usual yellow.

This is a great springtime hike. You have a feeling of a certain microclimate when first descending from Gilette into a small valley. In summer, the ascent will be very warm. In autumn, you have to mind the hunters.
It took 2h 20 min for us to reach the summit; the descent was 1h 50 min. Happy hiking!


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