Les cascades du Hérisson / The Hérisson (Hedgehog) Waterfalls

The walk descends the Hérisson ('hedgehog') River with its series of rapids and waterfalls, then returns via Bonlieu, passing through the Dame Blanche viewpoint, with a panoramic view over lakes Val and Chambly and the Herisson valley.

Technical sheet No. 4098385

A La Chaux-du-Dombief walk posted on 23/03/10 by Tamtraductions. Last update : 22/08/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h25[?]
Distance Distance : 12.11 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 329 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 336 m
Highest point Highest point : 821 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 601 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : La Chaux-du-Dombief (39150)
Starting point Starting point : N 46.615218° / E 5.885574°
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The Dame Blanche viewpoint The Saut de la Forge Saut-Girard waterfall Signpost at the start of the walk


Starting from the car park in Ilay, follow the trail (GR559A) downhill to the first waterfall (Saut Girard). (1) At the bottom of the Girard falls, cross the river and follow the track along the left bank. The path is wide and easy at first but can get slippery after the Saut de la Forge. It becomes slightly steeper but is well maintained.
Continue downstream to the Sarrazine footbridge (2), then follow the yellow waymarks and continue towards "Bonlieu". (3) Here you can follow the barrier to admire the view. On the way back, just before the end of the barrier, turn right towards Bonlieu. The uphill path is a bit narrow and very steep on the right, so be careful!
When you are almost above the cliff, you can either continue directly to Bonlieu, or take a detour to the Dame Blanche viewpoint (definitely worthwhile) (4). To get there, follow the yellow waymarks which lead to the viewpoint, then on to Bonlieu.
(5) Go through the village, first taking the rue de la Maison Blanche, then the main street taking you to the other side of the village.
(6) When leaving the village, follow the GR signs up a small road, which becomes a track then a forest path.
The GR markings will lead you back to your starting point via the Girard falls (1).

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 770 m - Auberge du Hérisson
1 : km 0.44 - alt. 741 m - Saut Girard
2 : km 2.87 - alt. 643 m
3 : km 3.05 - alt. 616 m - Cascade de l'Éventail
4 : km 5.81 - alt. 715 m - Dame Blanche viewpoint - Belvédère de la Dame Blanche
5 : km 8.61 - alt. 773 m
6 : km 9.09 - alt. 794 m
D/A : km 12.11 - alt. 769 m

Useful Information

It is possible to start from different points along the route.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Boissellerie du Hérisson, Auberge du Hérisson, Auberge l'Eolienne. (Auberge: Hostel/Restaurant)

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.5/5
Number of opinions : 2
Clarity of route description : 4.5/5
Clarity of route map : 4.5/5
Walk interest : 4.5/5

on Mon 18 Jul 2022 10:10:11 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 17/07/22
Clarity of route description : Good
Clarity of route map : Good
Walk interest : Good

Good walk, but during the summer heat wave there is very little water going through the waterfalls. It's probably much nicer to do this walk in spring or autumn. The second part of the walk after waypoint 4 is mostly in open air with very little shade - keep this in mind in case you want to do this hike in summer. Just next to waypoint 5 in the centre of the village there is a water fountain with drinking water where you can refill your water bottles.

The routemap might be a bit confusing around waypoint 3. You should remain on the south side of the little bridge (passarelle) and continue on a little footpath which goes uphill. If you cross the bridge, you can descend to take a nice photo of the final waterfall but you'll need to climb back up to continue the hike.

on Wed 04 Sep 2019 13:57:24 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 04/09/19
Clarity of route description : Very good
Clarity of route map : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Hello! Tried to follow this rout, but the footpath is closed where you should turn away from the river, just after way point 3. Very sad

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