Departing from the resort, this out-and-back hike takes you off-trail up the Bonnet Rouge ridge and above to the Pied Gros de Saint-Étienne ridge, where you can gain height and enjoy an exceptional panorama of the Dévoluy. The view to the south-east is perfect over the Pic de Bure, its plateau, the Combe Ratin, the Vallon d'Ane as far as the Col du Rabou. On the other side, splendid views over the mineral chain from Grand Ferran to Grande Tête de l'Obiou. The itinerary is obvious but requires you to progress off-piste, and the finale on the ridge to the summit at almost 2500m is aerial and impressive. You may also come across tribes of rather shy ibex, which scurry off as we arrive.
■ Type of route: high-mountain out-and-back hike
■ Distance: 8 km
■ Cumulative elevation gain: +950 m
■ Cumulative negative altitude gain: -950 m
■ Estimated total time: 3h to 4h
■ Min and max altitude: 1500 m / 2450 m
■ Beaconing: no
■ Equipment in place: none
■ Equipment required: none
Difficulties: the start of the Pied Gros ridge has a steep section and the end of the ridge is narrower and more aerial. A bit of orientation to find your way to the Pied Gros.
Access to the place
Map & topo
Part 1: from Superdévoluy to Bonnet Rouge
From the parking lot, follow the ski slope to the left of the chairlift to the first big bend on the right (there's a small rocky cliff on the right). At this point, leave the piste on the left and climb between the fir trees at best to reach a yellow-marked path higher up. Follow it to the left and you'll soon come to a flat spot. Before tipping over to the other side, tackle the ridge on the right.
Climb back up, staying on the ridge, with a small, inconspicuous path in places. You can follow the edge to the south-east to gradually discover the Vallon under the Pic de Bure. It's quite a climb up to a small summit with a large cairn. We're facing the round, elongated back of the Pied-Gros.
Part 2: from Bonnet Rouge to Pied-Gros de Saint-Étienne
Descend to the small pass between the 2 humps and start to climb back up. The slope becomes steeper. You can either stay on the right-hand side and climb along a rocky wall to head straight for the summit, or look for a traverse to the left halfway up to join the south-facing ridge (marked on the map). The rest is obvious: follow the ridge, possibly staying on the south-east side where the slope is less steep, to reach the first summit. The final section is on the edge of the ridge, which is narrower and more aerial. We pass a second summit and then, moving forward as far as possible, the final summit at 2448m, just before a much more complicated passage. It's time to turn back. Exceptional 360° panorama.
The return journey takes exactly the same route.