OverviewThis modest page is describing one of the southernmost hills of Massif Central, already quite close to the town of Monpellier and the Mediterranean coast. It is a nice small hiking area, with a very panoramic summit and some very beautiful natural characteristics.
When the broad limestone plateaus of Cevennes (called also Causes) finish on the south, also some geological characteristics of those hills change. The mountain itself is made of calcareous and dolomitic rocks and so is the Cirque de Mourèze (the valley of Mourèze), south of it. But on the north, the surrounding of Lac du Salagou is made of the so called "ruffe" rock, formed by the combination of the clay sediments and iron oxides, dated into the Permian period (280 million years back). Iron oxides give the landscape very picturesque red, yellow, orange and brown tones.
Cirque de Mourèze and Lac du Salagou together are classified as one of 37 Great Sites of France, environmental protected areas of special interest.
Montagne de Liausson itself is a nice hiking destination. I guess the dolomitic rocks on the southern side are not popular with climbers (and may be also not allowed). But hiking paths are fine, well marked and popular. The panorama from the summit is very broad and interesting. On the north the reddish landscape around Lac du Salagou, on all other sides the hilly landscape with some distinct summits, as for example Pic St. Loup, north of Monpellier, or, in nice days, even the summits of Eastern Pyrénées.
Lac du Salagou
Cirque de Mourèze
The place has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is interesting to learn that the rock labirynth was used for defense purposes and that some rock towers were very likely additionaly carved by people as they served as totems.
The picturesque villages of Mourèze and Liausson are the two main trailheads for the ascents on Montagne de Liausson.
1. Yellow route
It is a circular route, ascending Montagne de Liausson from the north, from Liausson village, 224 m. In the clockwise direction it ascends from the village towards the SE to the first rocky outcrops. Then it ascends more steeply towards the S and SW. Just before gaining the main ridge, the path passes a small cave (Grotte du Liausson), which is nothing very special. Then you soon gain the summit ridge and a very panoramic walk leads you by it towards the W on the highest point. Before reaching it, we pass the ruined hermitage of Saint Jean d'Aureillan (from 13th century). From the summit you descend steeply by the SW ridge, on 460 m turn sharp right and descend further across the slopes towards the N on Col de Portes, 381 m. There you deter right and by a shallow valley descend back into the village. 2 h 30 min, easy paths, only a few steeper places.
2. Blue route
3. Green route
This is (in the counter-clockwise direction) the same route as the above described Blue route. But from Col de Portes, 381 m, it continues further towards the NW and does a long detour, before descending again towards the south to the village of Mourèze. 4 h, easy paths, only a few steeper places.
4. Red route
This route visits the eastern part of the rock towers area. The beginning is also in Mourèze village, 225 m. Into the cirque and then towards the east, the route is identical with the above described Blue route. But on the crossroads (after some 30 minutes) the red route branches towards the right, continues eastwards and then turns back southwards. Through the rock towers area we return on the main road and then towards the west to the parking place. 2 h, easy paths.
When To Ascend?Montagne de Liausson can be ascended any time of a season. Choose a day when visibility is good. In summer, parts of southern ascents can be hot. On the mountain there is no water source, but routes are short, so you don't need big supplies.
Outside LinksIn French: Daniel Anker, Jacques Maubé: Languedoc, Roussillon: Les 50 plus belles randonnées. Bergverlag Rother GmbH, 2009, Page 35.
In German: Daniel Anker, Jacques Maubé: Languedoc, Roussillon: Les 50 plus belles randonnées. Bergverlag Rother GmbH, 2009, Page 35.
Your Help NeededIf you have more information about this area, please add. Especially the following:
> Any other interesting route description. There is also a more demanding direct southern route on Montagne de Liausson, etc.
> Any other interesting point of interest.
> More pictures about the rock towers of Cirque de Mourèze.
> The views on Montagne de Liausson from the north and pictures of the landscape around Lac du Salagou.