During the lockdown, I chose to go back to my hometown and stay at my parents’ in Annecy. France only allowed a 1km radius from home. Needless to stay that after 2 months, I really need to go out. So for the first post-lockdown weekend, I decided to hike in the Aravis massif. On the agenda for the day: 3 waterfalls: cascades de La Balme de Thuy, cascade de la belle inconnue (beautiful stranger) and finally, la cascade Mystérieuse (mysterious waterfall).
Le Grand-Bornand is located 30 km from Annecy in the Aravis mountain range. I love the Aravis, especially in Winter. Unfortunately, the resorts of Grand-Bornand and La Clusaz have become so touristy that I rarely go there anymore. But in Summer, the place is peaceful and perfect for hiking. The Mysterious waterfall is in Chinaillon, a small resort above Le Grand-Bornand.
The Mysterious waterfall is a nice walk that very few people have heard about. Yet, it’s pretty impressive. I visited in spring, after heavy rains and it explained why there the waterfall was powerful. A small path branches off from the main road with a sign indicating the waterfall. The path starts in a meadow and runs along the forest. Very quickly, it reaches he first part of the waterfall (the most impressive).
It’s difficult to get an idea of the actual size of the waterfall. The photos doesn’t give it credit. But it is quite impressive It had rained a lot and the flow was strong. This is why it wasn’t possible to reach the pool under it.
By following the rather steep little path (indicated with a “no exit/sans issue” sign), it’s possible to descend to the torrent in 5 minutes. A gorge was dug by the water and ends its course in the Chinaillon torrent. It is a tributary of the Borne river (33.6 km).
The water was rather icy! A little further, the path reaches the torrent. On the other side of the bank is a small platform with a dead end path.
The waterfall is too well indicated to be described as ‘mysterious’. Legend has it that this site was the meeting point of a young couple who gave birth to the first Bornandins! (the inhabitants of Grand Bornand). But that does not explain why it is called “mysterious” …
From Annecy, take the direction of Thônes, then Grand-Bornand. At the entrance to the Chinaillon village, the waterfall will be indicated on the right.
Start of the walk
Adress : L’Arbelay, 74450 Le Grand-Bornand, France.
There are several places to park, including a small parking lot (1 space!) Just before the bend, next to the path. But you can also park before the 2 chalets (called Carbolaz).