After spending the night in the parking lot at Eagle Peak in Chaux-Du-Dombrief, following my morning hike to the summit, we decided to continue our path to the Cascades du Hérisson, which was indeed very close. When we arrived at the parking lot, which I had chosen beforehand, we seemed to be the only ones present. Only an elderly French couple stopped as we got out, curious for information. After assisting them, we began our hike. We had no idea what awaited us; it was almost noon when we set off.
On the trail, we quickly realized we were not alone; it got busier, with people of all ages. I usually prefer avoiding highly touristy places, and during this hike, it became evident why. It surprised me how many people were walking in flip-flops, some even carrying children on their backs. They were holding everyone up with their unsuitable footwear for the trail. Though everyone is free to choose, sometimes I think people should use their common sense. For your own safety and the health of your back and feet, please wear appropriate shoes, preferably sturdy hiking boots.
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I tried to capture a perfect moment for a photo, a moment that lasted only a few seconds when the space was empty – the ideal picture. But constantly, others walked in front of my camera or had their dog pose, all while trailing behind me and clearly seeing that I was just trying to take a photo. They all went for that perfect Instagram shot or video. It seemed like the world revolved around them, and the rest didn’t matter. They didn’t take a moment to let others ahead of them enjoy the moment but repeated their ‘perfect’ shot 10 to 12 times. My frustration grew with every step I took (I almost ate my shoes on the spot—would those in flip-flops have done the same?), but patiently, I waited for my own moment. And made it clear that I was waiting.
Despite all this, I can honestly say that the hike itself is absolutely worth it. But to avoid the crowds, I recommend starting around 9 a.m. That way, you’ll likely be back before the real rush begins. The trail seemed initially easy, simply downhill toward the last waterfall. But once down, you quickly realize the way back will be slightly more challenging, especially if it’s crowded, as there are paths where passing is difficult, so you must wait if there are oncoming hikers. They often stop to take a thousand selfies too. However, the waterfalls and the babbling river as you walk amidst the shelter of the trees offer a calming and beautiful sight.
Upon returning to the parking lot, I changed out of my sweaty clothes, set up our camping chairs outside, and enjoyed soaking in the sun. My girlfriend had prepared some sandwiches, delightful to eat in the sunshine, especially considering the temperatures in late September still hovered around 23°C – just delightful! We also noticed the parking lot was nearly half full. I can genuinely recommend this parking lot as the starting point for this hike. You don’t need a downloaded route; just follow the path downhill. Along the way, you’ll encounter more than 7 waterfalls. So, if you plan to visit this place, avoid the peak season and leave early enough in the low season.”
Capturing the Enchanting site 'Cascade du Hérisson'
A nerdy deep dive into Cascades du Hérisson
The Jura Mountains in France are a beautiful area with abundant natural beauty. One of the most popular attractions in the Jura is the series of waterfalls from the Hérisson River. The 7 Cascades du Hérisson are a breathtaking hike not to be missed when in the Jura. I read later that more than a million visitors come here each year, and it can get really crowded in the peak season. After reading this, I can say that for that number of visitors, the park is well maintained, and most of their visitors are very respectful to nature.
The Hérisson Waterfalls are formed by the Hérisson River cascading through a lower valley, causing the water to drop nearly 300 meters over a distance of 3 kilometers. Comprising 31 distinct falls, including 7 main waterfalls, these cascades constitute a spectacular natural attraction.
The Waterfalls The 7 Cascades du Hérisson are located in the municipalities of Menétrux-en-Joux, Le Frasnois, and Doucier. The waterfalls, from top to bottom, are:
- Cascade de l’Éventail (65 meters high)
- Grand Saut (60 meters high)
- Gour Bleu (20 meters high)
- Saut du Château Garnier (15 meters high)
- Saut de la Forge (12 meters high)
- Moulin Jeunet (10 meters high)
- Saut Girard (35 meters high)
Each waterfall has its unique character. The Cascade de l’Éventail is a beautiful horseshoe-shaped waterfall. The Grand Saut is the highest waterfall in the series, plunging in a powerful stream. The Gour Bleu is a natural cave filled by the waterfall. The Saut du Château Garnier is surrounded by a castle ruin. The Saut de la Forge is a waterfall formed by an old forge. The Moulin Jeunet is a waterfall formed by an old watermill. The Saut Girard is the final waterfall in the series, falling in a single powerful stream.
The best way to view the 7 Cascades du Hérisson is via a hiking route of about 7 kilometers. The route starts at the Maison des Cascades in Doucier and ends at the Saut Girard. The hike takes about 3 hours. (if you take it slow)
The hiking route is well-marked and suitable for all levels. There are many stairs and paths to walk, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes. Also, bring enough water and snacks as there are no restaurants or cafes along the route. There is a café at the beginning (which is also the end) of the route how I did it.
- Wear comfortable shoes as there are many stairs and paths to walk
- Bring enough water and snacks.
- Do not leave any trash behind.
- Respect nature and the animals.
- The waterfalls were formed by the erosion of the Hérisson River. Over time, the river shaped the landscape, creating the waterfalls.
- The waterfalls are a popular tourist destination. Millions of people visit the Cascades du Hérisson annually.
- The waterfalls are an important part of the local culture. They are often depicted in paintings, photographs, and other artworks.
The waterfalls are located in a beautiful natural area. The hiking route takes you through forests, meadows, and along streams. You can enjoy stunning views of the surroundings along the way.
The waterfalls can be visited year-round, but in spring or autumn, there is more water in the river, making the waterfalls even more impressive.
Any other interesting sights in the vicinity?
Besides the waterfalls, the area also offers many other attractions, such as the castles of Château-Chalon and Château-Fondant, Lake Chalain, and the Jura Mountains.
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