Last visit: January 2020
Located in the Bauges massif, the Pissieu waterfall is more a walk than a hike: it is easy, short and has no elevation. Because the waterfall is easy to access, it can get crowded in July and August. Not with tourists but with locals. I have been there many times, in all seasons but I’ve never met many people there. In the middle of summer, however, I would recommend going in the morning.
Starting from the parking, the trail follows the river. Very quickly, It becomes a shaded at the edge of the forest (truly welcomed during the Summer months!). The trail passes by a farm (Le Martinet) on the left, where you can buy goat cheese> The last part leads to the waterfall.
The Pissieu waterfall is the outlet of the Margeriaz plateau. It never dries up and is subject to strong variations in flow (up to 8,000 litres per second). Most of the groundwater forms proper underground torrents that flow out here. Due to the melting snow of the Margeriaz plateau, It is in spring that the flow is most important. The waterfall is best seen from the other side of the river. My friend crossed it in winter but the water was ice cold! Even in the height of summer, I have never managed to bathe. But I’m not very good with cold water!
Don’t forget to climb into the forest on the right of the waterfall to see the start of the torrent which springs from a cave. It’s not indicated but the trail is still visible.
I climbed on the upper part of the waterfall leading to a moss garden and a cave. The climb is not dangerous, but be careful not to fall, especially when the water freezes on the rocks.
The way back is via the same trail. However, it’s possible to take another small one next to the river. It meets the other one at the farm.
The Bauges and the Pissieu waterfall are 30km away from Annecy. The waterfall is indicated from the road. However, it is easy to miss it. Note that Google Maps does not lead you to the start of the trail. Instead, use the GPS coordinates below. Drive across the bridge and park on the left. If it is full, there is another one a little lower.
Address: le Châtelard, 73630 Atilly
GPS coordinates: 45.688358, 6.118042
Approach: 20 minutes
Return: 20 minutes