Lac de Pormenaz: an oasis of biodiversity
The Griffon Vulture
This bird lives in colonies of different sizes, the closest of which are located in southern Vercors. Especially the young individuals who explore new territories. To feed, this bird is also able to cover hundreds of kilometers thanks to its gliding technique, depending on favorable weather conditions.
The Golden Eagle
The Rock Ptarmigan
Its name, which means "hare's foot", refers to its foot digits covered by fuzz in the winter!
It is one of the most endangered bird species in the Alps.
Every year the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, in collaboration with "L'Observatoire des Galliformes de Montagne", carry out population monitoring in order study their evolution.
The Black Woodpecker
It is easily recognized by its entirely black plumage enlivened by a bright red spot, limited to the nape on the females and more extensive on the males.
The Hazel Grouse
It is much less known than the Black Grouse or the Rock Ptarmigan because it lives exclusively in the forest!
But it is as important as the others from a biological and scientific point of view: it is an indicator species of environmental changes. Its specific demands in terms of vegetation and diversity of tree species ask for an adapted forest management. Bad preservation management of this habitats is one of the main causes of regression of the species.
The whistled language of groundhogs
Always vigilant, standing up, it surveys its environment to avoid to be caught. Thanks to a very wide field of vision, and excellent hearing and smell abilities, nothing goes unnoticed. In case of alert, it warns the others with an alarm call: very high-pitched and brief for a danger coming from the sky, whistled and repeated for a danger on the ground. And that danger may be you!
The Mountain Ash
The fruits can be used to make to make brandy, jelly or jam. But be aware that they are toxic at maturity, so you have to pick them earlier!
In the nature reserve, the Mountain Ash is part of a participatory science program intended to measure the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the mountain.
Livestock guardian dogs
When approaching the herd, it’s very important to observe carefully the dog’s behavior and to take it in account while respecting the following instructions:
- Stay away from the herd (bypass it if possible) - Announce your presence by speaking out loud to avoid surprising the herd and dogs
- Keep calm and avoid sudden movements, keep walking without running. Talk gently to the dogs so that they get used to your presence and accept it.
- Avoid looking straight into the dog’s eyes and hold an object between you and the dog.
Since the summer of 2019, there is evidence of its presence in some of the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, which explains the presence of livestock guardian dogs watching over several herds.
Indeed, the wolf is carnivorous. It feeds mainly on wild animals such as Chamois or Roe Deer. But it can also consume ewes or sheep, especially from unprotected herds.
So in order not to interfere with the work of the dogs, please follow the instructions!
The Great yellow Gentian
Used in phytotherapy, it should not be confused with the highly toxic False Helleborine – also called White Hellebore-, next to which it grows and which looks very similar!
Only the flowers are not alike, those of the Gentian are yellow. When not flowering, you can use the leaves to distinguish both species: Gentian is opposite-leaved, while the leaves of the False helleborine borne along the stem alternately (alternate-leaved plant).
The Alpine Ibex
Various successive reintroductions in the entire Alps region have made it possible to increase the numbers of the populations although the stability of these populations is still threatened.
In the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, Ibexes are included in the monitored species and research programs intended to study its health conditions or to improve the management of its populations
The Bearded Vulture
Exterminated from the Alps at the beginning of the 20th century, this harmless and majestic bird is back in the alpine skies thanks to the largest animal reintroduction program initiated 30 years ago in Europe.
The "laouchets" of Pormenaz
Locally they are called "laouchets", which means "small bodies of water". Shallow, these bodies of water are home to a rare and protected species, the Sparganium or Narrowleaf Bur-reed, as well as to significant biodiversity. Eventually, these “laouchets” will fill in and become peat bogs.
The Narrowleaf Bur-reed
The mines of Pormenaz
Encounter with a wild animal, what to do?
- Stop and wait quietly untill the animal goes away.
- Do not shout or make sudden movements which would stress the animal even more.
- Do not try to approach it nor follow it.
There are two stages in their lifecycle: a "larva" (or nymph) stage which is aquatic followed by a terrestrial stage, when the adults are grown to adults.
Dragonflies are predators: they are carnivores that feed on different types of prey depending on their stage. They eat other insects as well.
Their distribution is strongly linked to climate conditions and any change has a strong impact on their presence. Destruction of their wetland habitats is one of the main threats to dragonflies.
The Common Minnow and the Common Chub
The Chub is a rather large fish, very widespread in France. It is an omnivore, which means that it eats everything. In many European countries, especially in the east, it is of highly culinary interest.
The history of Plaine-Joux
As early as the 1930’s, the inhabitants of Passy were already practicing ski activities in this location enjoying a magnificent panorama. It was around 1965 that it officially became a communal ski resort. Even nowadays, Plaine-Joux remains, as well in summer as in winter, a popular family resort for skiing, hiking, paragliding... and contemplation.
The placid Ibex
Unlike most other mountain species, it remains at altitude even when winter and snow arrive.
It then reaches ridges and snow-cleared areas where it will more easily find grass to feed on. This search for food costs a lot of energy. So, if you see it, do not approach and let it leave quietly in order to avoid wasting its precious energy, especially in winter.
- Take the paved road which passes in front of the restaurant "Lou Pacheran" in the direction of the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col and Lac d'Anterne.
- Take the track up to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col and Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 102.
- At the orientation table, continue on the track to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col and Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 103.
- Continue on the track to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col et Lac d'Anterne.
- Continue on the track to Ayères des Pierrières, Col and Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 16.
- Cross the hamlet of Ayères des Pierrières.
- Take the track on the left to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col and Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 121.
- At the basin, either stay on the track that goes up to the left, or take the track straight ahead (pedestrian shortcut). Caution, aerial trail! Beacon 134.
- Stay on the track to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col d'Anterne. Beacon 123.
- Stay on the track to the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Lac de Pormenaz.
- At the refuge, take the track to Lac de Pormenaz. Beacon 124.
- Take the track in front of you to Lac de Pormenaz. Beacon 126.
- Take the track on the left to Lac de Pormenaz.
- Follow the same track to the Moëde-Anterne refuge.
- Take the track on the left to the chalets of Souay, Plaine-Joux. Caution: aireal trail! Otherwise return to the refuge and follow the up going route. Beacon 99.
- Continue to go down in the direction of the chalets of Souay, Plaine-Joux. Beacon 98.
- Pass between the two chalets and take the track on the left to the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge, Lac Vert. Beacon 97.
- Stay on the track to the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge, Lac Vert. Beacon 162.
- Go past the Châtelet d'Ayères refuge. Beacon 161.
- Take the track on the left to Lac Vert, Plaine-Joux. Beacon 95.
- Stay on the track to Lac Vert, Plaine-Joux. Beacon 160.
- Take the paved road after crossing the car park to Plaine-Joux. Beacon 159.
- Leave the paved road by taking the trail on the left, direction Plaine-Joux. Beacon 93.
- Take the path on the right, direction Plaine-Joux. Treehouses.
- Take the paved road on the left to Plaine-Joux.
An alternative trail to go back down is possible.
Access and parking
Parking at the entrance of the station.
Bus line L85 (SAT Mont-Blanc).
Report a problem or an error
If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: