4 hours; climb: 600m
A climb from Casteil to the famous Romanesque abbey of St Martin du Canigou, followed by a further climb, on mountain footpaths, to a magnificent dry-stone cabin hidden in the forest.
1 - The START (car park at the entrance to Casteil). We follow the road to the right... Bifurcation (village centre on the left): we go straight ahead, on the same road... Bifurcation (animal park straight ahead): we follow our road, which bends to the left.
2 - Bifurcation. We go to the right (sign for 'Massif du Canigou').
3 - Bifurcation, road and path (car park on the right). We follow the path, to the left... We pass a building (for water treatment).
4 - Bifurcation. We follow the path on the left...The path crosses a footbridge... We climb, in a forest... We follow carefully the yellow waymarks.
5 - Abbey of St Martin du Canigou. (Straight ahead: ticket office, then a viewpoint.) On the right: some steps and a path which climbs again; we follow this path.
6 - Path fork. (On the right (out and back): a magnificent viewpoint over the abbey)... We go to the left, still in the forest.
7 - Viewpoint, on the left, over the Cady valley.
8 - Bifurcation. We go straight ahead (signpost: 'Cirerola')...The path climbs in zig-zags... We cross some wet sections.
9 - Cirerola (an impressive dry stone cabin)... We return to the abbey of St Martin du Canigou by the same route.
5 - Abbey of St Martin du Canigou... We descend on a lane on the right... The lane descends in zig-zags.
10 - Restored chapel (on the right). Viewpoint towards Vernet-les-Bains... The lane descends again... (On the left, the Cady gorge).
11 - Casteil village (bars, accommodation, information, animal park). At a bifurcation after a barrier, we go to the left... At a small chapel, we go to the right... We pass through the centre of the village... We return to our point of departure.