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near Fontpedrosa, Occitanie (France)
An unforgettable hill walk which starts from Fontpédrouse, a village on
the railway line and main road between Perpignan and the Cerdagne
mountains. The route climbs to the village of Sauto, perched high above
the Têt valley. Then it descends right into the valley, crosses the river
and follows forest paths before emerging above the hot spring baths of
1 - START: Fontpédrouse. From the junction of the St Thomas road and the N116 main road, we take a path (with a yellow sign) which is going up the hillside opposite. The path zig-zags up the slope, it crosses scree, then it ascends in woodland... The path eventually crosses a small stream on the left. Then there are a couple more zig-zags.
2 - Path bifurcation. We go straight ahead, on the path signposted for Sauto gare (station)... The path contours around the steep hillside, with some great views across the Têt valley.
3 - Path bifurcation. We meet the path coming up from Sauto gare. From here, there are yellow waymarks and the path is better used. At this bifurcation, we go straight ahead, uphill... The path climbs to a canal and the path crosses the canal... The village of Sauto soon comes into view.
4 - Sauto village. We go through the village, towards the church.
5 - Just before reaching the church, we go left, down a path called the Chemin de la Cassanya. This path is particularly delightful... We cross a hydro-electricity pipeline... We cross the canal again... A steep stretch of path takes us down to the main road.
6 - N116 main road. We go straight across the road, we go over a barrier and we turn left.
7 - Junction, road and track. We go right, down a track towards Cassanya.
8 - Cassanya. Just before some buildings, we go left, down a steep path with steps... The path crosses a stream on the right and the path descends towards the River Têt. We have a view of Pont Gisclard and of the mountains beyond.
9 - River Têt (footbridge). We cross the river at a fine old stone footbridge. We go to the left... The path climbs a little, then the path goes under Pont Gisclard.
10 - Path junction (another path joins on the right). We go straight ahead... The path contours through the forest.
11 - Path bifurcation. Here, where a path goes off to the left heading down to the river, we carry straight on.
12 - Path junction (another path joins on the right). We go straight ahead... We emerge into open ground. The village of Prats Balaguer is on the other side of the valley, and the hot baths of St-Thomas-les-Bains* are below... We follow the path as it winds down the steep, open hillside.
13 - Path bifurcation (a short distance above the baths). Here, we go to the left, in the direction of St-Thomas village.
14 - Footbridge over a river near the village entrance. We cross the bridge, we enter the village and we go through the village. (We do not go up the signposted path on the right). Then we follow the road which leads out of the village.
15 - Road junction. We go straight ahead, down the road. We follow the road all the way to the start of the walk in Fontpédrouse (1).
(A pdf version of this walk description is at:
http://www.walks-vernetlesbains-canigou.eu/wikiloc/Fontpedrouse-Sauto-StThomas.pdf - or click on 'View more' below.)