Colour CodePays du Mont-Blanc 🇫🇷 further France 🇨🇭 neighbouring Switzerland 🇮🇹 Aosta Valley (Italy)
🇫🇷 FURTHER FRANCE
CLUSES ARVES & MONTAGNESCluse Arves & Montagnes is made up of 10 communes, and across these you’ll find some super family hikes to 💦 waterfalls and gorges . . .
La Cascade d’Orlier (Magland)The pretty 💦 Cascade d’Orlier runs down the cliffs and comes from Arâches-la-Frasse. You can sometimes spot it from the main road, when driving towards Annemasse; good to know: there is a sentier pédagogique for families through the Bois Credo to the waterfall, conceived with the help of Magland’s écoliers – it leaves from the Mairie de Magland; [ ⇒ see here for more information ]
Canyon de Balme (Magland / Les Carroz d’Arraches)The access to this canyon is from the road between Magland and Les Carroz (in the hamlet of Balme), and this natural site lends itself to randonnée aquatique and canyoning – natural slides, jumps, abseiling . . . it is a great spot for beginners, and the perfect activity for ☀️ a hot summer’s day (open in July and August, and possible as a night-time activity too!) / note: canyoning should be done with professionals and with the proper equipment! contacts for canyoning:
- Evasion Canyoning – tel: 06 52 09 05 71 / email@example.com;
- Guides des Carroz – Place de l’Ambiance, 74300, Les Carroz-d’Arâches / tel: 06 99 20 24 01 / email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Canyon de Barberine (Vallorcine) – good for beginners / see Oxo Canyoning here;
- Canyon de la Belle aux Bois (Megève);
- Canyon Pointe Percée (Torrent de Lanchéron) – for more experienced canyoners / more information here;
- Canyon de Nyon (Morzine) – more information here;
Cascade de l’Englennaz (Cluses)The short walk to the💦 Cascade de l’Englennaz in Cluses starts at the Hôtel Le 4C, (address: boulevard du Chevran, 74300, Cluses), and you get to 💦 the waterfall after a short 5 minute walk (also possible with VTT)! The walk is poorly indicated! [ ⇒ more information here ]
Cascade du Dard & Gorges du Bronze (Mont-Saxonnex)Recommended by Cluses Arves & Montagne, this is a 5km hike that allows you to get up close and personal with the 💦 Gorges du Bronze and the 💦 Cascade du Dard. You leave from ⛪️ la Chapelle de Pincru, located in the centre of Mont-Saxonnex, and this 2h to 2,5h boucle will take you on a refreshing walk . . . [ ⇒ see here for more information ]
Gorges du Cé (Mont-Saxonnex)This is a 2h boucle (3,5km), with a dénivelé of 220m, that will take you through the Gorges du Cé. This hike is recommended for a HOT summer’s day; NOT recommended during 🌧 rainy weather, as the path down to the gorges is steep and slippery when wet! You need 🅿️ to park at the school (turn right after the résidence touristique Le Jarbay, and park in front of the salle des fêtes); ⇒ 🗺 more information and map here and 🗺 explanatory leaflet here; good to know: ⛪️ the pretty church L’église Notre Dame de l’Assomption is set on a promontory overlooking Mont-Saxonnex, and is visible from the Arve Valley below. A visit allows a great panoramic view over the valley floor. Built from 1829 to 1834 (in a neo-classical style and in the form of the Greek cross), the church spire has been struck twice by lightning and rebuilt!
LA VALLÉE du GIFFRE
Les Anciennes Gorges des Tines (between Samoëns and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval)A couple of summers ago, after 🏞 a Giffre riverside picnic – where the kids had a blast paddling in the shallow water and having their de rigueur water fights (and even immersing themselves entirely in the icy water!) – we decided to head for a hike in Les Anciennes Gorges des Tines, a hike in 🌳 the shade of the trees (for which we were grateful, for it was a HOT day!). This is a superb hike for families (though not suitable for tiny ones, as there are ladders and sharp drops; I’d recommend 5+ years!), and one that had been on my list for a while. You get a real feeling of having entered a Jurassic Park ® set at times . . . The hike ended for us at 🏞 the Gorges des Tines, where we watched rafters jumping off the rocks! You can hike the boucle in either direction . . . we opted for the clockwise route, though this did involve walking DOWN ladders within the gorges, so if you’d rather climb UP ladders, then you’d be advised to hike anti-clockwise (you’ll still have a small section dowhill with a metal rail); [ ⇒ more information here ]
Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval – the land of 30 waterfalls !Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval is not far from 🗻 the Pays du Mont-Blanc, but absolutely a must if you want to see 💦💦💦 many, many waterfalls all in one area! The best time to admire these waterfalls is during spring melt, when they flow with great gusto, but the higher altitude walks aren’t advised until the summer, as by then the dangerous, slippery névé spots should have melted! Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval is known as the 💦 land of 30 waterfalls and it is just stunning! When the Giffre glacier receded 12,000 years ago, it left in its place a beautiful valley, including the impressive cirque of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, a natural amphitheatre of cliffs bordered by trees and meadows, which is dominated by the Corne du Chamois, the Tenneverge (2985m) and 💦 . . . the waterfalls! Here is a short list of some of 💦 the most well-known waterfalls to be found in Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval:
- 💦 La Cascade du Rouget – we’ve had a couple of visits to this incredible waterfall, nicknamed La Reine des Alpes: once on a rainy springtime day (which was incredible) and once on a calmer autumn day.
- 💦 Les Cascades de la Pleureuse et de la Sauffraz – more information here;
- 💦 La Cascade de Trainant – more information here;
- 💦 La Torrent de Sales – I love this 📷 photo from Frederic Pactat, full of movement and flow / more information here;
VALLEE d’AULPS & LE CHABLAIS
Cascade d’Ardent (Montriond, Vallée d’Aulps)This 💦 pretty waterfall is located above the majestic mountain lake Le Lac de Montriond, on the way to the pretty goat village of Les Lindarets. You’ll have a pretty forest walk to get there / see here for more information; good to know: though you can’t get to 💦 the waterfall itself with a buggy (you’ll need a baby carrier or backpack), you can walk around the lake with a good buggy, and along the Dranse river.
Cascade des Brochaux (Montriond, Vallée d’Aulps)The stunning 💦 Cascade des Brochaux is located a 40mins walk from the village of Les Lindarets. It’s a beautiful spot to admire the sun’s reflection on the water! [ ⇒ for more information, see here ] good to know: it is well worth giving yourself to visit Les Lindarets – in this village, the goats roam freely in summertime and you can buy food to feed them!
Cascade de Nyon (Morzine)💦 La Cascade de Nyon is located around 2km south of Morzine, and you can get to it by following the ruisseau de la Dranse de la Manche. You’ll find a car park and restaurant on-site (Restaurant de la Cascade de Nyon – chemin sous le Rocher, 74110 Morzine), and it is an area known for its canyoning and ice climbing too.
Les Gorges du Pont du Diable (La Vernaz, Chablais)These 💦 impressive gorges are located within a forested area (of beautiful beech trees) in Le Chablais, between Thonon-les-Bains and Morzine. The gorges were forged from the erosion caused by the 💦 Dranse river descending from Morzine. You’ll hike for about 20mins through the forest to get to the gorges, with explanatory pannels along the way / NEW sensation: Le Pas du Diable is a glass case suspended 50m above la Dranse de Morzine and under le Pont du Diable, allowing you an awe-inspiring view upon the river and gorges! [ ⇒ read about the history of tourisme in the gorges here and see website for more details ] good to know: there are porte-bébés (3,5kg to 20kg) at your disposition at the gorges (but please bring your own, if you have one) / NO buggies!
LES ARAVIS, LAC d’ANNECY & LES BAUGES
Cascade Mystérieuse (Le Grand-Bornand)Legend has it that at this mysterious 💦 waterfall a young couple met and gave birth to the first bornandins . . . [ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
address: L'Arbelay, Chinaillon, 74450, Le Grand-Bornand;
Cascade de la Balme-du-Thuy (La Balme-du-Thuy)The walk to this 💦 waterfall is along a 1h30 historic path – it was used by the maquisards during WWII. [ ⇒ for more information, see here or The Other Paths here ]
Cascade du Saut du Moine (Talloires)A 45mins hike will bring you to this small waterfall in the forest, located on the way up to the pretty Ermitage Saint-Germain in Talloires. You depart from the car park opposite the mini-golf at the entrance to Talloires, and follow the signs to the Cascade d’Angon. You might see people canyoning here . . . [ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
Les Gorges du Fier (Lovagny, near Annecy)A spectacular canyon, which you visit via a walkway suspended 25m above the water! [ ⇒ for more information, see website ] good to know: located just 10km from Annecy, near the Château de Montrottier and the Jardins Secrets.
Grotte & Cascade de Seythenex (Seythenex)Here, you get a cave (the only one open to the general public in Haute-Savoie!) and a waterfall ! ” Les eaux tumultueuses du St Ruph prennent naissance au col d’Orgeval dans le massif des Bauges. Elles chutent en une cascade de près de 45 mètres de hauteur en formant quelques marmites de géant avant de s’écouler jusqu’au Lac d’Annecy. ” (website) / price: see here; good to know – you can combine a visit with a visit to the nearby Fort de Tamié (30mins away); [ ⇒ for more information, see website ]
address: 576 route des Grottes, 74210, Seythenex;
Les Gorges du Sierroz (Aix-les-Bains)After 40 odd years of being shut to the public, the historic 💦 Gorges du Sierroz are now open, with new passerelles and information panels. At one time, meuniers families settled along the gorges, and in the XIXth century, there were 14 scieries, 39 moulins à farine, 9 huileries, 18 battoirs and 1 forge. You can see vestiges of some of these buildings along the walk. [ ⇒ for more information, see website ]
Cascade du Pissieu (Les Bauges)A lovely flat hike will bring you to the Cascade du Pissieu in Les Bauges. You can hike further and do a boucle to the Iles du Chéran . . . [ ⇒ for more information, see this article on website Découvrir les Alpes ]
🇨🇭 NEARBY SWITZERLANDJust across the border, easily accessible from Vallorcine, you’ll find some more superb 💦 waterfalls and gorges . . .
VALLÉE du TRIENTTrient has 💦 plentiful waterfalls to visit . . .
Les Gorges Mystérieuses de le Tête-Noire (en-route to Col de la Forclaz)The MBFF tribe had driven past the starting point to the 💦 Gorges Mystérieuses de la Tête-Noire on numerous occasions, on our way to the 💦 Bisse du Trient family hike, or en-route to 🇨🇭 Martigny or the 💦 Bains de Saillon . . . but until a couple of summers ago, I hadn’t ventured any closer to this “ mysterious gorge ” . . . though I had certainly wondered what was so mysterious! And now I know! Mysterious and impressive indeed, this force of nature! It took the visit of my intrepid dad to spur me on with my quest and to venture forth (and after having already hiked to the Glacier du Trient and back, no less!). My boys have yet to learn much from their grandpa about hiking stamina! The most direct hiking path is not long (30 mins down and 1h back up), but it is a steep descent (and therefore a steep return!), with a few ⛓ chains to help you on the tougher sections, so it is not for the faint-hearted! With small children, you do need to be vigilant, and especially down on the wooden viewing platforms, some of which weather damage from the elements each year! 🅿️ parking & departure point: 🅿️ parking de la Tête-Noire (Le Plan bus stop, 1929, Trient, Switzerland) / distance: 2,7km (direct aller-retour) / timing of direct hike & gorges visit: 2 hours (there are further hikes to do in the area / best time to visit: May until October (to be avoided after huge rainfall, as path and wooden walkways would be very slippery); [ ⇒ see MBFF article here for more details ]
Gorges du Triège (Le Trétien, Salvan)💦 Les Gorges du Triège, with their passerelles and 3 bridges, retrace the communication history of the valley. Located in the village of Le Trétien, you can access the hike via the Mont Blanc Express. [ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
Gorges du Dailley (Salvan)The 💦 Gorges du Dailley, with 💦 La Salanfe running through, will take you across passerelles and up stairs, all the way from the Granges à Van d’en Bas. Look out for the famous ” rocher coincé ” . . . [ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
Gorges du Trient (Vernayaz)A powerful geological example of erosion, the 💦 Gorges du Trient form a deep cut a few hundred metres from the torrent glaciaire. You’ll cross two of the highest bridges in Europe, at a dizzying 200m. Located at Vernayaz, you can get to the gorges via the Mont-Blanc Express / price: CHF 6 (children) and CHF 8 (adults), and families CHF 25; good to know: e-bikes available to rent nearby!
Cascade de la Pissevache (Vernayaz)A long time before tourism took root, the 116m high 💦 Cascade de Salanfe (Pissevache is a nickname!) was of primordial importance to its nearby inhabitants, who used its hydraulic force to their benefit . . . at the end of the XVIIth century, one could find a moulin-battoir, a martinet and a sawmill . . . A century later an electric plant was built at the top of the waterfall, and a water intake was built higher up in the gorge to allow the turbines to run. 💦 La Pissevache (the pissing cow!) started to attract tourists from 1860, and artists began to immortalise the waterfall.
Gorge de la Veudale (Emosson, Finhaut)An alternative route to the Vieux Emosson is via the Gorge de la Veudale . . . Charlotte la Marmotte à Emosson – [ 2021 note: under renovation! You can still hike the route, but the panels are not in place! ] a 10km long didactic (3h30 / 522m dénivelé), interactive aller-retour boucle, perfect for families with older children (6 to 12 years) / start and finish: Col de la Gueulaz / themes: geology, hydroelectricity, nature / note: parts of this walk (the alphalt path) are possible with a buggy! / [ ⇒ for more information, see website and pdf document to download ]
🇮🇹 Italy (Aosta Valley)
Orrido de Pré Saint-Didier (Saint-Didier, near Courmayeur)Just beyond the famous 💦 Thermes de Pré Saint-Didier, you’ll find the 💦 Orrido de Pré Saint-Didier and its passerelle for viewing . . . [ ⇒ for more information, see here ]
Cascate del Rutor (near La Thuile)My husband and I discovered these beautiful waterfalls on a parent away weekend to La Thuile a couple of years ago – they are stunning, and the hike there is fabulous. The 💦 Cascate del Rutor descend from the torrent of the same name, which in turn is fed from the north-west of the Rutor glacier (sixth largest in Italy). You can get to the waterfalls from the hamlet of La Joux (1603m) in 1h20, which is 3km beyond La Thuile. The 3rd watefall is at an altitude of 1996m. The first part of this hike is along le chemin muletier, which takes you through pine forest . . .
Cascate de Lillaz and Cascate de Bioulé (Lillaz, Cogne)From the hamlet of Lillaz (just beyond pretty Cogne), a boucle of about 1h30 will allow you discover the 💦 Cascate de Lillaz, with its three levels of cascade, totalling 150m high! parking: you’ll find a large car park at the entrance to the village of Lillaz. Cross the bridge and the hamlet, and continue across the left side othe Urtier river, to the bottom of the waterfalls . . . all along the footpath, you are in the Parc géologique, with its explanatory panels (also in braille). From Lillaz to the waterfalls, the path is suitable for an all-terrain buggy or wheelchair; after that, the path becomes more difficult. The Cascate de Bioulé are a further 5mins away;
Il Sentiero di Ponti e degli Orridei (Pontboset)
MBFF discovered this gorgeous walk just the other weekend, and we even had a (very cold!) bathe in the pools of water – do be careful, as the current runs fast in parts!
The hike is a 1h30 boucle, taking you through the pretty mountain village of Pontboset, down through forest, along the river Ayasse and acros 6 bridges (some wooden, some made of stone).