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At the Lac d'Anterne lake, you’ll find a bucolic alpine atmosphere: clear waters, reflecting the cliffs, calm and green pastures.
24 points of interest
View on Le DérochoirLe Dérochoir is the result of successive landslides. The first known and documented dates back to 1471. The second and last, at least for the moment, occurred in 1751. At the foot of the cliff stands a huge landslide cone which forms an unstable slope.
These various landslides created a passage making it possible to cross the Fiz ridge.
The mont Blanc before mountaineeringMany mountaineers dream of climbing mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. But it has not always been that popular. In the past, the inhabitants of mountain villages were scared of the mountains environment which led to numerous superstitions, as you can tell from the names given to the summits (“Mont Maudit”, meaning Damned mountain, Aiguilles du Diable, meaning Devil peaks, etc.). Only shepherds, chamois hunters and crystal miners (mining rock crystals) frequented these hostile environments. The first ascents were made by daring "outsiders" who employed these mountain experts as guides.
The Common RavenIt is the largest of all passerines and corvids!
Alternately feared or venerated, it is the hero of myths and legends in many cultures. Persecuted for a long time, it is now protected. The size of a buzzard, it can be specifically recognized by its diamond-shaped tail and its hoarse call. It is an omnivore, which means that it feeds on carrion, eggs, chicks or berries!
The couples, which are united for their life time, carry out aerobatic courtship rituals! Apart from humans, the Golden Eagle is its only predator.
The Golden EagleEverything about this bird is exceptional! With a wingspan up to 2 meters, each couple controls a territory as big as 10 000 football pitches! Its X-ray eyes detect prey movements for over 1 kilometer of distance. Its eyes are like magnifying glasses that magnify 6 to 8 times what its perceives and it has a 240 degrees field of vision. In addition to colors, it is able to detect ultraviolet light, a major asset for this great hunter who can swoop down on its prey at a speed of 350 km/h. But no one is perfect: it misses 9 prey out of 10!
The Rock PtarmiganThis species, using mimicry, is able to transform its plumage according to the seasons, becoming visually part of the landscape. During the winter, its plumage is pure white; during the summer, it has brown and black spots on the top; in autumn it is grayish flaked with white on the top.
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 WoodpeckerIt is the largest of the 8 woodpeckers present in France. Originally an exclusive mountain species, it is now also found in the valleys! Indeed, it adapts to both deciduous and coniferous forests, as long as they cover large areas and include dead wood and old trees with large diameters.
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 GrouseIt is the smallest and most discreet of the mountain Galliformes species.
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 groundhogsGroundhog is the favorite meal of the Golden Eagle and an important item in a fox diet.
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 AshIt is a small tree growing in forest edges. Its fruits are red orange berries loved by thrushes and blackbirds.
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.
The Downy BirchThere are four species of birch in Europe and the one growing here is the Downy Birch. Its sap and bark have many medicinal properties, and is useful for natural drainage and as a remedy against rheumatism, fatigue or allergies!
In the reserve, birches are monitored as part of the "Phénoclim" program implemented by CREA and intended to measure the impact of climate change on plant cycles.
The 'Ayères'Originally, the word "Ahier" comes from a roman patois meaning Sycamore Maple. The words "pierrières" and "roc" are references to the numerous boulders, evidence of the landslides of Dérochoir, including the one in 1751 which killed 6 people and a few domestic animals. All these cabins were alpine cabins for agricultural use. They are now used as holiday cottages.
Architecture of mountain pasture chaletsSome of the alpine cabins are more than a century old.
Construction features at high altitude are strongly related to the immediate surroundings: stones for the walls, basic – but resistant to winter conditions! – framework made out of spruce.
Originally, the roof was covered with ‘tavaillons’, a kind of wooden tiles.
These buildings, used for agricultural activity during the summer, were of rudimentary comfort and housed the shepherd and its owner’s family.
The history of the Passy nature reserveDuring the 1970s, the wealth of the natural areas of Haute-Savoie were highly conveted. The appetite of promoters and the many tourist development projects raised increased protest. The French State responded by the creation of 9 national nature reserves.
The national nature reserve of Aiguilles Rouges was created in 1974, and a few years later in 1977 the Sixt-Fer à Cheval / Passy nature reserve.
A small territory, settled between these two areas, will become the nature reserve of Passy in 1980.
The alpine cabinThe alpine cabine is a small building which, gattered with others, forms a small hamlet. These constructions were originally intended for the organization of agricultural life in the mountains. These cabins were used in the summer to shelter the shepherds and their family. They were also used for milking and the production of cheese and other dairy products.
Livestock guardian dogsThese are livestock guardian dogs, their presence is allowed in nature reserves. They defend sheep and ewes from larger predator attacks, such as wolfs. Often large sized dogs, qualified as "molossoid", they spend their lives protecting herds to which they are very attached.
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.
The wolfThe wolf made his return in France, on its own, since the 90’s. Coming from Italy, the species first colonized the southern Alps, then the whole alpine region.
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!
Mountain pastures, a mountain traditionThe mountain pasture is a mountain meadow intended to feed livestock (cows, sheep, goats, etc.) during the summer, while the meadows in the valley, which are more accessible, are used for mowing (cutting the grass). The grass, once dried, becomes hay that can be kept for a long time. Livestock will be fed on hay during the winter.
The breeding of milk producing cows was once a tradition. Nowadays, in the Passy Nature Reserve, you can find rather large herds of sheep for meat production.
The Great yellow GentianThis large perennial plant, more than 1m high, is found in meadows, moors or forest clearings of the mountain and subalpine levels.
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).
Tintins cabinThis cabin, which is more of a shepherd's shelter, was built under "La Pierre à l'Ours". It served as a shelter for a shepherd looking after his herd here until the 1960s. In 1959, the shepherd was 14 years old and watched over 2000 sheep. But where is the bear? To find it, move to the side of the stone and look carefully, it's there!
The Alpine IbexThis protected species almost disappeared from the Alps at the end of the 19th century, mainly due to hunting or poaching.
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 VultureA wingspan of almost 3 meters, a bright orange body, a red circled eye, black feathers on either side of its beak forming a goatee, were enough to scare the alpine populations who considered the Bearded Vulture as the incarnation of the devil!
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 Alpine ChougThis corvid bird, a familiar species of mountain environments, lives mainly in noisy flocks, including sometimes an impressive number of individuals, especially in winter, when snowfall at high altitude forces it to come down to the valley to feed! It is often mistakenly called "Jackdaw", a completely different species of corvid living rather in the plains!
The Chough can be recognized by its black plumage, its lemon yellow beak and its red legs. It’s a fan of aerobatics and there is no doubt that their group movements will amaze you!
The Griffon VultureIt visits the Haute-Savoie region during the summer. The species is monogamous, that is to say that couples stay together for their entire life!
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.
A Swiss hydroplane on the lake of AnterneIn August 1920, a hydroplane left Lausanne, on the shores of Geneva lake, to fly over the Alps. The aircraft, which had just been overhauled, had engine trouble above the Chamonix valley. The pilot noticed the lake of Anterne and estimated that he could land there, which he succeeded. The lake being too small, the plane, even repaired, could not take off again. The engine was removed, and taken down to the valley, and the abandoned hydroplane gradually disintegrated.
Departure from Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy.
- Take the paved road which passes in front of the restaurant "Lou Pacheran".
- Take the track that climbs towards the Col d'Anterne. Beacon 102.
- At the orientation table, continue on the track to the Col d'Anterne. Beacon 103.
- Continue on the track towards Ayères des Pierrières, Col d'Anterne. Beacon 16.
- Cross the hamlet of Ayères des Pierrières.
- Take the path on the left, and follow the direction refuge de Moëde-Anterne, Col and Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 121.
- At the basin, either continue on the track, or take the path straight ahead (pedestrian shortcut). Caution, aerial passage! Beacon 134.
- Take the path on the left to Col d'Anterne.
- Continue straight on to the Col d'Anterne.
- Pass the mountain pass and go back down in the direction of Lac d’Anterne. Beacon 100.
- For the return, take the same route in the direction of Plaine-Joux
- Departure : Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy
- Arrival : Maison de la Réserve naturelle de Passy
- Towns crossed : Passy
Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.
- Impacted practices:
- Aerial, , Land, Vertical
- Asters - Conservatoire d'espaces naturels de Haute Savoie
Always be careful and plan ahead when hiking. Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.
Bus SAT Mont-Blanc L85
Access and parking
Reach the Passy Plaine-Joux resort by road D43.
Parking at the entrance of the station.
Bus line L85 (SAT Mont-Blanc).
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:
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