(half or all day trip with lunch)
Click on any red marker for location information. Click on any blue marker for driving directions.
Leave Caunes Minervois on the D620 in the direction of Carcassonne. Turn right onto the D111 at the sign for Villeneuve-Minervois. When you reach the center of Villneuve, turn right at the "T" following signs to Cabrespine and the Gouffre Geant; you are now on the D112. Turn left off the D112 onto the uphill road to the Gouffre just before reaching Cabrespine. A tour of the Gouffre takes about 45 minutes. A nice hike to the Roc d'Aigle also starts from the Gouffre parking lot.
Leave the Gouffre and rejoin the D112 towards Cabrespine. Just past the town, note the ruined castle of Cabrespine on the ridge above you. Continue on the D112 toward the Pic du Nord. If you'd like a detour with a nice 2 hr loop hike, turn right from the D112 onto the D9 toward Castans and follow it to the village of Castans. The "5 rivers" hike is lovely. Otherwise, continue on the D112 to the village of Pradelles-Cabardès. Just past the village, turn left on the road marked "Plan d'eau" which leads to the lake. Lake Pradelle is good for swimming (no lifeguards!). There are plenty of picnic spots and a small café. The path around the lake is a pleasant 20-minute walk.
Leaving the lake, return toward the village of Pradelles. Almost immediately on your left is a turn toward the Pic du Nord. The peak is occupied by a large weather station; you can see for miles in all directions. After leaving the peak (or if you skip it), follow the D112 back to Villneuve and home.
For an alternate route home, follow the D112 to the D9 toward Castans. Turn toward Castans, and follow the D9 through Castans and the surrounding villages. You will cross a ridge of the Black Mountain; the D9 then T-junctions with the D620 just above Lespinassière. Turn right onto the D620 and follow it down the canyon to Caunes.