La Balme de Thuy waterfalls waterfall circuit is a path that leads to the magnificent Balme de Thuy waterfall near Annecy. It was used by the maquisards (group of resistance fighters hidden in the mountains) during the Second World War.
This short hike follows a path leading to 3 waterfalls. La Balme de Thuy is relatively close to Annecy and this hike can be combined with another one nearby. The area was used by the maquisards (a group of resistance fighters n the mountains) during WWII.
A little bit of history
The path goes up the mountain which served as the setting for several armed confrontations during WWII. On August 19, 1944, the town was liberated by the Resistance but was then attacked by the Germans on the Glières plateau. This is why there are a cemetery and a museum retracing the history of Haute-Savoie during the Second World War (Entrance €3).
The loop leads to several waterfalls. The first one is the tallest and most impressive (unless you go at the end of a very dry Summer perhaps!). From the car park, the path starts to the right and goes up towards the forest. It takes 15 minutes to reach the first part (Nantet): the path arrives at the fork. Follow the one on the left which passes over a wooden bridge and crosses a small stream. A little further, you will reach a belvedere with a view of the valley.
The path descends for another 5 minutes to then reach the Morette waterfall. During my last visit, in May 2020, the waterfall had a great flow. We only encountered a few people on the site. But this waterfall can get pretty crowded in July-August during school holidays.
Way back and the last waterfalls
Take the path a little lower to the left, passing over a bridge. It then follows the cliff to arrive at the site of prehistoric excavations. You might think that the hike is over but the last waterfalls are close to the road. It’s a real shame that this isn’t a footpath though!
Another 2 more beautiful waterfalls with short access from the road. Not as high as the Morette waterfall but still impressive. Continuing on the road, you will pass the last waterfall, pass by Notre Dame de Lourdes cave and then in front of a blockhouse dating from WWII.
On the way back to Annecy, don’t forget to stop by the side of the road (GPS coordinates 45.868545, 6.205810) to see the Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard in the middle of the mountains.
Plan your visit
If you have a whole day, I suggest you combine the Balme de Thuy waterfall with the Dard and Nantisses waterfalls near Villaz (18km). If adventure tempts you, the Thônes via ferrata is nearby (3km). For a beautiful sunset, head to the Col de la Forclaz (19km).
From Annecy, drive towards Thônes and then Thuy. At Morette bridge, take the first on the left, towards la Balme de Thuy. Park the car in the parking lot of the Auberge des Morettes.
Average duration: 40 minutes (return)
Elevation: 200 m
Altitude: 765 m