Gorge Mysterieuses and Grotte aux Nymphes
Elevation + / -
346m / 346m
When to go
Mid Apr - End Oct
1.0 - 1.5 Hours
969m / 1213m
Very Nice (4/5)
30 - 45 Mins
4+ Years old
This trail is a short little loop starting at the Tete Noire parking along the main road between Vallorcine and Trient in Switzerland. The main destination of the loop is to visit the so-called Gorges Mysterieuses and the Grotte aux Nymphes. The Trient river cuts a deep ravine right across from the town of Finhaut and along this ravine they have installed wooden footbridges to enable access to the multi-level Cascade aux Nymphes and the Grotte aux Nymphes, a small cave into which the waterfall drops. You can access the cave through a series of staircases that are dramatically suspended from the rock above. It is definitely a very worthwhile sight to visit and the trail we have chosen for this provides the easiest access. The trail to and from the main sight is also nice enough with nice forest and some fantastic viewpoints over Finhaut and the valley below. We have chosen to do the loop in a clock-wise direction. This makes the downhill a steady easy grade and saves the steeper part for the uphil. You can of course opt to go the other way around. You can even leave out the loop and head straight down from the parking towards the gorge and take the same trail back. That would be the quickest for sure.
The downside of this route would be the need for a car to start the trail as we suggest it here. If you are coming by public transport then another option would be the train to Finhaut or the bus to Trient. More details under the starting point section below.
Photos of this Trail
We have a large library of pictures from in and around the Chamonix Valley. All pictures are categorized and geo location tagged. These are the pictures we have for this trail. Click on any picture to view it's details and location.
Trail Directions & Safety Considerations
4+ Years old
Keep your dog on a leash. We would not recommend taking your dog down to the actual cave part.
When to Go
Mid Apr - End Oct
Risk Considerations & Difficulty Assessment
This trail reaches an altitude of 1213m and should be snow free from mid April to the end of October. You start at the highest point and then make your way down. So if there is no snow cover at the start of the trail then there is unlikely to be much snow cover when continuing on the trail. This trail is definitely not recommended for winter. It is quite steep and they physically block the entrance to the gorge in winter so the main attraction is not even accessible at that time.
The trails are very well marked and it is a basic loop walk with all trail markers clearly indicating the Gorges Mysterieuses. The trails are steep at times and the climb up from the gorge back to the parking on the eastern end of the loop features a number of staircases. Its not overly technical just the usual roots and rocks.
Trail Starting Point
We start the trail at the Tete Noir parking along the main road between Vallorcine and Trient. There is a Tete Noir bus station nearby although we are not sure to be honest which route goes by there and how often it departs. If it is a viable option, then please let us know. You can also reach the gorge from Finhaut from a fairly steepish path going to the gorge and back. Finhaut is fairly easy to reach using the train which departs from Vallorcine and Vallorcine, in turn, is easily reached from anywhere in the Chamonix Valley using the train which starts all the way in Saint-Gervais. You could also come from the direction of Trient and do the trail as it is written here.
We start at the Tete Noir parking along the main road between Vallorcine and Trient. You will notice a number of information signs at the parking. From there we proceed in a south-western direction on a path that runs right next to the main road. It will quickly dip below that road using a wooden bridgeway. From there proceed and you will veer off from the main road on a wide trail that runs next to a big imposing rock formation and through a tunnel cut out in the rock. There are good views of Finhaut from here. Continue on and take the first right turn and follow the sign for Finhaut. You will reach a couple of structures and an information sign for the Gorges Mysterieuses. Take the trail eastward towards Finhaut. At the next junction stay on the course heading North-east. The trail marker will indicate the Gorges Mysterieuses. At the next junction there will be an old structure and a trail sign for the gorge again. Follow it as it climbs up in an eastern direction. You will now reach an information sign and the entrance to actual gorge. Follow it on the footbridge to the end and enjoy the views of the waterfall. On your right you will see staircases going down to the view point below the rock. Once you are done enjoying this area, head back in the same direction you came from using the same wooden bridgeways. Take the trail going up hill on the right side of the information sign towards the Tete Noir. It's quite steep but not too difficult. Keep going till you reach an opening and a trail a marker that points to your right in the direction of a view point. Follow it and you will reach a nice view point with a few benches. Once you are done there, go back the same way you came. You will pass by a picnic area with a little hut. Keep going up and you will come back to the parking area where you started.
Points of Interest for this Trail
We have a large database of all of the points of interests in and around Chamonix. These are the points of interest you will find along this trail:
3D Map & GPS
Trail Route Map & GPS
You can download the GPX file and load this route into your own GPS enabled device or application. If you are on Strava, then you can open this route in Strava and save it to your account.
3D Map of this Trail
FATMAP in an incredible website and mobile application that you can use to view the trail in full 3D, do a fly over of the route and get a detailed vertical profile. You can view the FATMAP of this trail below and use the 'View larger map' link to visit the trail on the FATMAP website.