Mont Brune between Esteron and Var River Valleys

Viewing Mercantour summits from Mont Brune
Viewing Mercantour summits from Mont Brune

 At 1518 m, Mont Brune is the second highest peak in the mountain ridge dividing the Esteron and Var River Valleys. We have previously hiked to the highest, Mont Vial (1550 m) as well as to Cime de Collettes (1513 m).

The mountains here, south of the Var River are Castellane Prealps. This particular summit seems to be much less visited. The easiest way to explore this peak is to start from Col de Vé Gautier by the narrow and sinuous D27 road 5 km west of Toudon

View from Col de Vé Gautier
Path from forest road to Mont Brune
Path after signpost#96
View towards Ascros
We found a good parking by the D27 road, just opposite the forest trail that actually zigzags all the way to a clearing under Mont Brune. The hiking trail crosses this dirt track several times and sometimes follows it.

We started to ascend along the forest trail from D27 road and located the hiking trail after the second bend where we forked right. This part of the trail was a narrow, sometimes overgrown path and yellow markings were sporadic. We reached signpost #96, and followed its instructions. Now heading northwest along Mont Brune’s southern flank, the trail became a little wider and easier to follow.

Shortcut to Baisse du Mont Brune
Cime de Collettes and Mont Vial
On the trail to Mont Brune
Var River seen from Mont Brune
At signpost #95, we turned sharply to the east, and climbed to signpost #94 by the dirt road, which we followed about 150 m before making a shortcut again. We climbed along a narrow path, quite steeply for about 30 m. The trail then levelled off and came back to the dirt road a little before signpost #93 at Baisse du Mont Brune. Here, at a clearing, water reservoir and helipad we took the final leg to the summit. Parts of the trail were steep and in places the vegetation was dense. Just before the summit the trail made a 90° turn west (a cairn). We then climbed, sometimes off-piste, to the top of Mont Brune.

View from Mont Brune eastern flank
Easy scramble before Mont Brune summit
Summit of Mont Brune
The summit itself was marked with a bigger cairn and a stick. The panorama was perfect. We descended back to Baisse du Mont Brune and then took the forest road down to D27 road for a change.

Climb: 430 m

Distance: 7,7 km

Duration: 3h 10 active

Map: IGN Vallée de l’Esteron Vallée du Loup 3642 ET

Mont Brune hike track
Mont Brune hike track


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