It’s the La Muse classic. Runners and joggers love it up there.
Once you get on the track by the rocks it’s level, obvious and carries on for miles. So just keep walking until you need to turn round.
There are breath-taking views south over the deserted Valley of the Resistance towards Roquefère, Carcassonne and the Pyrenees beyond.
Given it’s quite easy walking once you’re on the track, it can also be rather meditative.
2 km (1.2 miles) 40 minutes return to the Black Cross Rocks. However you can extend this with the ‘There and Back’ options below.
Rocky in places for a short time in the woodland path up, then a cinder track passable for 4×4 vehicles. Trainers/running shoes should be fine.
- Leave the retreat and head for the church. So go past the bins and parking place, up onto the D9 and pass the glass recycling.
- Where the D9 turns right towards Roquefère, cross over to the stone building with the running water called the Lavoire. This was where the village women used to wash their clothes. Turn to the right, following the yellow sign ‘Roquefère par le Roc d’Engalière’
- After 100 metres, turn left, off the road that leads to the church itself, and up through the church’s woodland. Look for the sign pointing up the slope saying ‘Le Roc d’Engalière‘.
- Pass the green cemetery gates on your right and keep climbing up the woodland path for 10 minutes. Trust me, this is the hardest part!
- You will join the main track. There is a stone wall opposite. Turn right up the track.
- After 5 minutes you’ll reach the Black Cross Rocks. You can take in the view and then turn round or turn left and stride off on the Fire Track.
There and Back options from Black Cross Rocks
Just add the following to the 40 minutes of a return walk to Black Cross Rocks:
- 10 minutes there and back to the ruins of the Ancienne Ferme de Viallèle. This abandoned farm was bombed by the Germans during World War II as it was used as a hideout by the French Resistance.
- 20 minutes there and back to the first Boar Hunters Tree House. Look out for a ladder on your right.
- 30 minutes there and back to the Orange Spot #6 sign on a tree.
- 35 minutes there and back to the falling rock and fire road signs.
- 1 hour 20 minutes there and back to the Fire Pool.
- Black Cross Rocks is also the departure point for ‘Fire Track – Roquefère loop south’ – see ‘The roads less travelled’ appendix.
An Easier Return
I would suggest just following the track from the Black Cross Rocks all the way down to where it joins the D9 main road.
This takes about 10 minutes.
After that, just follow the D9 left, down to Labastide-Esparbairenque, which takes about 5 minutes.