Hike to Gorges du Chéran, Tours Saint-Jacques & Semnoz

Around the end of spring, I went on a hike to Gorges du Chéran, Tours Saint-Jacques and Semnoz (climbing from the southern flank this time). Here is the path I walked (download KML):

In the morning, I took a train from Annecy to Albens then boarded a LIHSA bus (line 171) to reach Alby-sur-Chéran. I made a quick detour to the medieval quarter but was soon on my way. I had planned to pass through the ruins of the Château de Pierrecharve, a castle in Alby. However, the path was closed because of unstable rocks so I walked along the paved road for some time. I then left the road to take a trail that followed the course of the Chéran river. There was the occasional view of the river but it was mostly in the forest. Once I reached the Passerelle de Cusy / Gruffy, a pedestrian bridge across the river, I walked on the Boucle du Pont de l’Abîme (Pont de l’Abîme loop) to the Chaos du Chéran, a place in the gorge beneath the Pont de l’Abîme bridge. I then walked the trail up to the bridge, where I had already been some time ago (by car). There was a great view from there. The loop continues on the other side of the bridge, but instead, I kept going up, using the paved road to get to Allèves and then a car park below the Tours Saint-Jacques (Saint-Jacques Towers). They are a natural rock formation on the southern flank of Semnoz. I started on the ascent and passed by the Tours, but I didn’t spend much time there since I was behind on my schedule. I arrived at the Plateau du Semnoz after a while. The weather had soured by then: It was very cloudy with a bit of rain. I took the SIBRA summer shuttle (Ligne d’été) to get back to Annecy.

Above, near the train station in Albens.

Above, highway bridge in Alby-sur-Chéran.

Above, Chéran river.

Above, medieval quarter (bourg médiéval) of Alby-sur-Chéran. The town was renowned for its expertise in leatherwork and shoe making.

Above, blocked trail to the castle.

Above, poppy field.

Above, cows.

Above, Montagne de Bange.

Above, leaving the paved road.

Above, more cows.

Above, Chéran river at the Moulin Janin.

Above, lilium martagon.

Above, first view of the Tours Saint-Jacques.

Above, Passerelle de Cusy / Gruffy.

Above, at the Chaos du Chéran, looking at the Pont de l’Abîme.

Above, steep trail to the bridge.

Above, Pont de l’Abîme.

Above, Chaos du Chéran from the bridge.

Above, on the way to Allèves.

Above, Tours Saint-Jacques.

Above, beneath the Tours.

Above, cows on the path at La Figlia.

Above, Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Vie.

Above, on the final part of the ascent to Plateau du Semnoz.

Above, Chalets de Gruffy on the Plateau.

Above, Crêt de l’Aigle.

Above, Roc des Boeufs.

Above, Chalets de Leschaux.

Above, Bauges.

Above, Crêt de Chatillon.


Hike to Pertes de la Valserine, Fort l’Écluse, Rocher de Léaz & Pont de Grésin

Earlier this summer, I went on a hike in the Bellegarde-sur-Valserine area: I visited the Pertes de la Valserine, Fort l’Écluse, Rocher de Léaz and Pont de Grésin.

Here is the path I walked (download KML):

In the morning, I took a LIHSA bus from Annecy to Bellegarde. I first walked along the Valserine river to the Pertes, which I have already mentioned in my previous post. After that, I walked to Fort l’Ecluse, using paved roads and forest paths. I first visited the upper fort then took a a trail down and spent some time visiting the lower fort, for which I needed to buy a ticket. There was a great view from there. I then walked a forest trail along the Rhône in order to get to the Rocher de Léaz (Rock of Léaz), the site of a former castle. Some ruins remain but the main interest is the view: The Rhône, Fort l’Ecluse, the Vuache, the Grand Crêt d’Eau could all be seen. For the final part, in order to catch the bus back, I crossed the Rhône using the pedestrian Pont de Grésin: I arrived in Eloise in Haute-Savoie and walked to the bus stop.

Above, Bellegarde train station. The bus stopped there.

Above, Valserine river, on the way to the Pertes.

Above, canyon at the Pertes.

Above, Viaduc de Bellegarde.

Above, walking through Lancrans.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau above.

Above, Plateau de Retord on the other side.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau. There is a path starting next to there.

Above, Vuache.

Above, cutting through a field.

Above, power transmission towers.

Above, upper fort of Fort l’Ecluse.

Above, statue of Saint James (Saint-Jacques in french) by Yvon Raisin, on the path from Geneva to Compostela (Camino de Santiago) through Nantua.

Above, at the upper fort.

Above, Rhône.

Above, Vuache.

Above, trail to the lower fort.

Above, lower fort of Fort l’Ecluse. The courtyard can be entered freely, although a ticket is needed to enter the fort building itself.

Above, Porte de France (France gate).

Above, a lot of butterflies.

Above, I actually walked back up to the upper fort using the underground gallery.

Aboe, Rhône, looking toward Geneva.

Above, Porte de Genève (Geneva gate).

Above, goats.

Above, on the way to Rocher de Léaz.

Above, the Rocher.

Above, ruins of Moulin de Condière.

Above, Nant de Condière.

Above, in Léaz.

Above, Fort l’Ecluse.

Above, final ascent to the Rocher.

Above, ruins of the castle of Léaz.

Above, statue of Sainte-Victoire by Yvon Raisin.

Above, Rhône.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau.

Above, there was a lot of wind.

Above, Vierge de Léaz.

Above, Vuache.

Above, on the way to Eloise.

Above, Pont de Grésin, a bridge across the Rhône.

Above, church in Eloise.

Above, Grand Crêt d’Eau.

Above, LIHSA bus stop in Eloise.

Pont du Diable

The Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge) is small stone bridge in Bellecombe-en-Bauges, not very far from the Pont de l’Abîme. The deep and narrow gorge formed by the Nant de Bellecombe below is a popular place for the practice of canyoning.

Above, walking to the bridge from the car park.

Above, the gorge.

Above, Pont du Diable.

Above, there are paths in the forest along the river.

Above, Mont Colombier.

Below, I had already been there during the summer, while I was passing through on my bike. At the time, I saw a few people in the Gorge.

Above, canyoning.

Pont de l’Abîme / Gorges du Chéran

Last autumn, I went on a car trip through the Bauges valley near Annecy, visiting points of interest along the way. The first stop was the Pont de l’Abîme (literally Abyss Bridge), a suspension bridge linking the villages of Cusy and Gruffy. It was built in 1887 to cross the gorge formed by the Chéran river, 96m below.

Above, Semnoz.

Above, crossing the bridge.

Above, Gorges du Chéran. There are trails to go down.

Above, Chéran river.

Above, Montagne de Bange.

Above, viewing platform.

Above, hotel / restaurant next to the bridge.

Above, Tours Saint-Jacques.

Pont de la Caille

The Pont de la Caille (aka Pont Charles-Albert) is a suspension bridge linking the villages of Allonzier-la-Caille and Cruseilles in Haute-Savoie, on the path between Annecy and Geneva. It was built in 1839 to cross the gorge formed by the Usses river, 147m below. A second bridge, the Pont Neuf (aka Pont Caquot) was added in 1928 to support train and car traffic.

Above, a rest area was recently built near the the bridge, complete with benches, picnic tables and suspended viewpoints.

Above, Pont Charles-Albert.

Above, viewpoint above the gorge.

Above, south gate, with Mont Pelé behind it.

Above, Usses river below.

Above, the 2 bridges.

Above, crossing the bridge.

Above, gorge des Usses. There are a few trails down.

Above, Pont Neuf, with the Bornes mountains in the background.

Above, another viewpoint near the south gate.