FAMILY HIKES: Lacs des Ilettes, la Cascade de l’Arpenaz & Luzier

This Sallanches hike is ideal any time of year (except on an icy winter’s day!); in 🌸 early springtime, many of our 🗻 higher (and even mid-range) altitude mountain hikes are still snow-covered, but the paths on this trail should be snow-free; in autumn, the colours are just spectacular!

The hike (which is also 🚵‍♂️ a bike trail) is ideal for families for several reasons:

  • 🗺 short distance – about 5km;
  • relatively flat (except for ↗️ the slightly uphill 🌳 forest section after 💦 the Cascade de l’Arpenaz);
  • varied: 💦 lakes, 💦 river, 💦 waterfall, 🌳 forest and pretty village;
  • 🦆🐟 lake wildlife – ducks, couts, fish to spot at the lake and from the cabane d’observation;
  • 🍏 picnic tables and grass at 💦 Lacs des Ilettes or at 💦 the Cascade de l’Arpenaz;
Lacs des Ilettes – autumn ©

Hike details

🗺 distance: about 5km boucle;

⏱ timing: 2h (or more, with time to explore);

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 buggies: only around Lacs des Ilettes;

🅿️ parking: 3rd lake Lacs des Ilettes (Lac de Promenade et Navigation);

🗺 carte de randonnée: Les Belvédères du Mont-Blanc (Carte des Sentiers de Randonnées Pédestres au Pays du Mont-Blanc), for sale at tourist office for 6€ (with accompanying booklet);

Lacs des Ilettes hike © Carte des Sentiers de Randonnées Pédestres au Pays du Mont-Blanc

The hike – step by step . . .
Lacs des Ilettes – parking and start of hike

You’ll need 🅿️ to park at the 3rd lake (the nature reserve) at 💦 Lacs des Ilettes.

Next to this car park, you’ll find the parcours santé, which you could save for your return journey:

Parcours de Santé at Lacs des Ilettes ©

You head along the lakeside path, and at the far end of the lake, you’ll come to the wooden cabane d’observation – here you can look out for 🦆 aquatic birdlife and 🐟 fish, and you’ll get a good view of 🗻 the Mont-Blanc massif, behind 🌾 the reed beds. This is a protected zone, and you can read about it on 🗺 the explanatory pannels.

[ for more information about 💦 Lacs des Ilettes, see separate MBFF article here ]

Cabane d’Observation at Lacs des Ilettes ©
Cabane d’Observation at Lacs des Ilettes ©
Lacs des Ilettes – autumn ©
Autumn at Lacs des Ilettes ©
Lacs des Ilettes – autumn ©
Lacs des Ilettes – autumn ©
Lacs des Ilettes – autumn ©
Autumn at Lacs des Ilettes, Sallanches ©
The Arve river and across the fields

Once you reach the bout du lac, then you’ll see an observation point over 💦 the Arve river (currently being repaired). You follow the signs towards 💦 the Cascade de l’Arpenaz, through the woods. Look out for signs of beaver activity – mud slides down to the river or gnawed tree trunks).

Along the Arve river at Lacs des Ilettes ©
Lacs des Ilettes – Arve river ©
View from Lacs des Ilettes ©
Le P’tit Castor from CNM @

Soon you’ll come to this little metal bridge, which will allow you to cross the stream without getting your feet wet!

Lacs des Ilettes hike – bridge crossing ©

After this, you cross the road leading to Luzier (⚠️ be careful crossing this road, as you are on a bend). From here, you head across the fields, and you’ll have a view of 💦 the Cascade de l’Arpenaz.

Towards the Cascade de l’Arpenaz ©
Cascade de l’Arpenaz ©
Cascade de l’Arpenaz ©

Cascade de l’Arpenaz

You’ll arrive at the beautiful 💦 Cascade de l’Arpenaz, the waterfall that you often spot from the main road!

Here, you’ll find plenty of green grass and picnic tables. In summertime, you’ll often find locals escaping the heat, some braving the water . . . and kids playing in the stream below (note: be careful on the rocks, as they are slippery, and DO NOT let children head off on the path above the waterfall, as this is DANGEROUS).

[ for more information about the 💦 Cascade de l’Arpenaz , see separate MBFF article here ]

Cascade de l’Arpenaz – picnic spots ©

☀️ summertime in water . . .

Cascade de l’Arpenaz ©

Through the forest to Luzier

After taking the time to explore the waterfall, you’ll head off on a path into 🌳 the woods towards the village of Luzier. The beginning section is uphill, and then the path flattens out . . .

Into the woods at Cascade de l’Arpenaz ©
Cascade de l’Arpenaz woods ©
Woods towards Luzier ©
Woods towards Luzier ©
Woods towards Luzier ©
Woods towards Luzier ©
The ruches at Luzier ©

Luzier hamlet

Take time to head into the pretty hamlet of Luzier – there is a fountain, a chapel (built in 1716), and plenty of cats roaming around the old farm buildings . . .

It is thought that the word Luzier comes from “leuze” or “louze“, meaning muddy terrain with puddles (which makes sense, as the hamlet is near the Arve river and the Cascade de l’Arpenaz!).

Luzier fountain ©
Chapelle de Luzier © Sallanches Tourisme

Luzier back to Lacs des Ilettes

After exploring Luzier, head back onto the forest path. You’ll pass 🧗‍♂️ the Ecole d’Escalade climbing rocks, and eventually, the path will lead back down to 💦 Lacs des Ilettes . . .

Rocher d’escalade Lacs des Ilettes ©

On this side of the lake (where there is occasional rockfall, so be careful), you’ll find some boulders to climb, and you can look out for 🦆 ducks (and sometimes sheep and goats!) . . .

Lacs des Ilettes scrambling ©

Lacs des Ilettes – early springtime ©
Autumn at Lacs des Ilettes ©

Treasure Hunts and Geocaching

There are 🗺 two treasure hunts available around the lake – one for walkers, one for 🚵‍♂️ bikes – offered by Sallanches Tourisme:

© Sallanches Tourisme

You’ll also find some géocaches . . .

Géocaching Sallanches © Sallanches Tourisme

Springtime and summertime – Le Transat restaurant and Le Parc en Folie softplay

From springtime (weather and Covid permitting), your’ll find 🌈 Le Parc en Folie at the beach end of the 2nd lake (swimming lake) of 💦 Lacs des Ilettes. My younger son celebrated his birthday there last summer, and had a blast.

Le Parc en Folie at Lacs des Ilettes ©

🥗 Le Transat restaurant, friendly and with a great terrace, is normally open over the summer months, at the beach-end of the middle lake, open from May to September, where you can also get 🥤 drinks and 🍦 ice cream to take away (tel: +33 4 50 58 24 64);

Le Transat at Lacs des Ilettes ©

Practical Information Lacs des Ilettes

🗺 map & leaflethere;

🗺 Sallanches document Promenade au Fil du l’Eau – for more information about some of the sites on this walk (you can start a longer walk from Le Vieux Pont in Saint-Martin, though this bridge is currently being renovated), see here;

🚾 toilets – there are public toilets at the car parks of the 🎣 Lac de Pêche and the 💦 Lac de Baignade;

🅿️ parking – the most practical 🅿️ car park to start this hike is the one located between the 💦 Lac de Baignade & the 💦 Lac de Promenade ( Parking Nord);

address: ancienne route impériale, 74700, Sallanches;
Lacs des Ilettes map © Sallanches Tourisme

3 thoughts on “FAMILY HIKES: Lacs des Ilettes, la Cascade de l’Arpenaz & Luzier

  1. We did this walk yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it – especially the chance to cool off in the waterfall! Been coming to our apartment for several years and we have done three new different things to do from your website – just when you think you’ve done all there is to do! Thanks for the tips!


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