The MBFF team players are huge fans of the 🌳 Parc Thermal in Le Fayet . . . as well as the famous 💦 Thermes de Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc, this park has so much to offer: hikes & strolls, 🧗♂️ climbing & via ferrata, a newly renovated sports complex, a playground, le petit train du Parc Thermal, lots of green grass for running and ball games, art in the summer . . .
This article is going to explore in more detail some of the strolls and hikes possible within the park (and from the park).
⇒ for more details about the other activities within the park, see separate MBFF article here;
⇒ for more details about 💦 a visit to the Thermes de Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc en famille (highly recommended!), see separate MBFF article here;
Family stroll : boucle du Parc Thermal
This stroll is perfect for families with buggies or small children on push bikes. You’ll walk along 💦 the Torrent du Bonnant, you can admire the park and learn about its thermal water history (you can walk all the way down to the 💦 Thermes de Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc), kids can stop off at the super playground, you could stop for a picnic (plenty of tables!) or the kids can look for ducks and fish in the fishpond. In summer, you can enjoy the outdoor art display and the petit train (Wednesdays and weekends).
The stroll will take about 45 mins to 1h, and though easy, you should have a decent buggy, as the paths are pebbly in parts.
good to know: there is now a parcours d’orientation to do within the thermal park! Balises 1 to 4 are easily accessible on this stroll through the park, and you’ll also learn facts about the park along the way. This you can pick up from the tourist office!
Family hike : easy route to the Cascade des Thermes & the Passerelle des Thermes
The easiest and shortest hike you can do with young children within the park is to 💦 the Cascade des Thermes (630m) and then up to the Passerelle des Thermes (668m), and then back down to the 💦 Thermes de Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc.
You’ll be rewarded with views of the waterfall, and the hike is nicely shaded in the broadleaf forest.
distance: about 1km;
timing: around 45mins;
dénivilé: +/- 60m;
The Passerelle des Thermes is located 51m above the water, and you’ll have a breathtaking view upon 💦 the Cascade des Thermes, which then flows into 💦 the Torrent du Bonnant, which flows through the park.
Family hike : longer and harder route up (and down!) to the Cascade de Crespin & les ruines de Châtelet
Over the spring holidays, I decided to try out a longer hike I’d been wanting to do for a while within the Parc Thermal, so that I could write it up for you!
distance: about 4km;
timing: around 3h (with time for exploration and pauses);
dénivilé: +/- 200m;
This hike is a boucle :
I started my hike (⭐️ a yellow star on the map above) on the path to the right of 🧗♂️ the rocher d’escalade. This path leads up into 🌳 the woods (but there are other points to start) :
The path is fairly steep in parts and takes you into 🌳 a forest of broadleaf trees, so in spring and summer this is very green and shaded. In autumn, you’ll have lovely rustic colours (be careful if wet, as the leaves and ground underfoot will be slippery).
You’ll follow the signs to the Passerelle des Thermes . . . at 🌳 la Chênerie (740m), you start to head DOWN towards the viewpoint and the passerelle :
From the Point du Vue des Gorges (715m), you’ll have this fabulous view of 💦 the Cascade des Thermes (you can also see some of the via ferrata route) :
You continue down to the Passerelle des Thermes at 668m (see photos in shorter hike detailed above) and from here you are suspended across the gorges (if you suffer from vertigo, you may find this tough! Dogs, also, may not like crossing the bridge!) and you get great views of 💦 the waterfall once again:
After crossing the passerelle, you’ll head back into 🌳 the forest on the other side of the torrent, and you’ll start heading up again, following signs to 💦 the Cascade de Crespin and Saint-Gervais:
On your way up, you’ll pass through a cool hole in the rockface and then you’ll climb some metal steps :
Don’t forget to look at the view over Passy as you come to the top of the metal stairs !
You’ll arrive at the Belvédère du Châtelet (790m), your highest point on the hike :
At this point, you can do a small detour down to see 💦 the Cascade de Crespin, which is well worth your while. You stand on another passerelle to admire the falling water.
You’ll have to head back up the same path after observing the waterfall, as the path across the bridge is currently shut.
As you continue up, you’ll notice through the trees that you are walking near the viaduct.
At this point, if you’d like to see the old ruins of the 13th century maison forte du Châtelet, then you’ll come out of the forest and turn left. It’s worth exploring . . .
Right by the ruins is the entrance to 🖼 the Pile Pont Expo – over the summer months, this exhibition space within one of the viaduct’s pillers, holds interesting exhibitions. There is now a permanent sculpture, once part of the Re-generer exhibition, to admire by the entrance.
If you wanted to head into Saint-Gervais, then at this point you’re a 5mins walk away.
To get back to 🌳 the Parc Thermal, you’ll need to get back onto the path in the woods, which turns into a wider vehicle track for a while. You’ll arrive at a junction, with a path to the left leading off to the sentier des Ecoliers, and the path straight on leading to Le Fayet du Milieu. You, instead, need to head RIGHT, back into the forest.
You’ll pass 💦 a water tower (la tour d’eau), and you’ll follow the water pipe for a while (we used to tell our kids this was the ultimate water slide!) . . . at first, you’ll be hiking down through 🌳 the forest, and then the view opens up, and you’ll be walking next to houses and gardens!
Eventually, you come out of the woods at the Passerelle du Parc Thermal. After crossing the bridge, you can just cut across to the playground and then head back to wherever you are parked (or head back to the train station).
🅿️ parking: there are plenty of places to park in the Parc Thermal – at the entrance, by the playground, nearer the Thermes;
🚞 gare SNCF du Fayet: you can also access the Parc Thermal easily from the station in Le Fayet;
address of Parc Thermal: 355 allée du Dr Lépinay, 74170, Le Fayet, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains;
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