The very secretive and beautiful Chaudefour valley is a classified natural site, closed up by the steep contours of a glacial cirque. Peaks, needles, plumbs are as many natural defences for an intact and preserved valley.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Departure from the Natural Reserve House on the D36 between Chambon-sur-Lac and Courbanges.
Follow the discovery path due South-West passing nearby the Perouse cascade (1)do not miss the indications for coming and going on site. Return to the discovery path and head North West towards the cabin and the Sainte Anne spring (old project of a thermal resort) (2).
After the bridge, at the junction, take the left heading South West for about 600m
(3) At the next crossing, leave the path to your right and take the path in front heading South. After a left turn, leave the path toward the Biche (Deer) cascade (4) and continue on a steep climb, first due North East, then South. It leads grassy underwood to a plateau and to the Chambgourdeix volcanic hill (1570m) (5).
Turn due West on the crest line (chemin de crête) bordering the valley (leave the small pathways returning to the main path to your left), walk past the Perdrix (Partridge) volcanic hill or puy, then to Puiy Ferrand. Following this ridge, due North West, go downhill towards the Cabanne pass and then start a steep Puy de Sancy ascent (6).
Go back down the path on the Pas de l"Ane (Donkey pass) (7). Turn right, due North, and the telecabin pylons (8) then cross a depression heading North East, then East, on GR4E for about 1.2km
(9) Mât de la Dore: take a perpendicular right turn towards the South on the path to Pan de la Grange 500m away (10). Turn left, follow the GR4 along the Puy crests that mark the separation between the Chaudefour and the Dore valleys
(11) Once you get to the Puy des Crebasses , leave the GR4 to your left, and head due North East towards Chambon-des-Neiges.
(12) At the next crossing, go downhill to the right in the Chaudefour valley direction - don't forget to admire the Liadouze rocks, the Spite peak, the Cock and Monk crests, and other volcanic dikes.
Soon you will reach the same path you came in from at the beginning of the walk. Follow it to the left to Natural Reserve House and your departure point(D/A).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Car park, departure of the discovery pathway
1 : mi 0.5 - alt. mi 0.5 - Perouse cascade
2 : mi 0.84 - alt. mi 0.84 - Saint Ann cabin and spring
3 : mi 1.06 - alt. mi 1.06 - Go straight ahead at the junction
4 : mi 1.27 - alt. mi 1.27 - Intersection, left heading North East
5 : mi 2.5 - alt. mi 2.5 - Plateau and Chambgourdeix volcanic hill
6 : mi 4.25 - alt. mi 4.25 - Col de la Cabanne
7 : mi 4.48 - alt. mi 4.48 - Puy de Sancy
8 : mi 4.68 - alt. mi 4.68 - Pas de l'Ane (Donkey path)
9 : mi 4.83 - alt. mi 4.83 - Telecabin pylons
10 : mi 5.36 - alt. mi 5.36 - Cascade de la Dore - Mât de la Dore, 1670m
11 : mi 5.68 - alt. mi 5.68 - Mât du Pan de la Grange, 1720m
12 : mi 6.75 - alt. mi 6.75 - Mât du Puy des Crebasses, 1762m
13 : mi 7.74 - alt. mi 7.74 - Downhill towards Liazoude and the Chaudefour valle
D/A : mi 10.16 - alt. mi 10.16
Dogs forbidden even on a Leach
Stay on the actual paths, some vipers (they don't stay on the path, are slow and flee the slightest vibration).
We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 2432ET.
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- Perouse cascade
- Saint Ann spring
- Dent de la Rancune and Crête de Coq (Spite and cock crests) : remarkable dikes during the ascent next to the St Ann source
- The Natural Reserve House
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.