The mysterious waterfall in Grand Bornand (Aravis)

During 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

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 walk to the Mysterious waterfall

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” …

Access to the mysterious waterfall

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.

Car park

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).