Fond de la Combe since Le bout du Monde
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Fond de la Combe since Le bout du Monde
Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval

Fond de la Combe since Le bout du Monde

Fauna
Flora
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An accessible loop in the heart of one of the largest french glacial cirques where the numerous springs of the Giffre river tumble down like waterfalls on either side of the slopes.
Following all the long the Giffre torrent, the path crosses woodlands and meadows before arriving at a spectacular view of this former glacial valley and its steep cliffs.

9 points of interest
Geology

A landscape sculpted by nature

This impressive landscape was formed by the four elements. The rocks, of limestone origin, were formed in a marine environment more than 200 million years ago. The tectonic movements that formed the Alps slowly folded the rocks to raise and form this massif which was then exposed to erosion.

Finally, the cirque at the bottom of the Combe was carved out and shaped by a glacier more than 20,000 years ago. These gigantic limestone walls are only the visible part of the mountains which extend higher.
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Fauna

A sample of alpine fauna

Fond de la Combe, which is located at an altitude of approximately 1000 m, is surrounded by many giants that exceed 2500 m of altitude. This altitudinal amplitude leads to a great diversity of natural environments, where almost all the animal species of the French Alps live. We can find the most emblematic here: Groundhog, Golden eagle, Griffon vulture, the Bearded vulture, Chamois and Ibex. You may observe the latter from where you are standing: don’t look for this talented tightroper in the meadows or the forest, but on the rock walls in front of you. All these species are easily visible for those who are willing to take the time and be discreet!
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You are in a protected area!

You are standing at the entrance of the national nature reserve of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval/Passy. The Conservatoire d'Espaces Naturels de la Haute Savoie takes on the management, protection and enhancement missions of the reserve. Open to the public and very busy, it involves regulations for the protection of species and environments. Guards are present to answer your questions and to ensure compliancy regarding these regulations.
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Fauna

Cliffs, refuge zones

Sunny rocky escarpments attract feathered species of all kinds for several reasons.
First of all, these reliefs create ascending currents which are very useful for large birds of prey to gain height and move without wasting energy.
These environments also serve as refuges, nesting and feeding areas for many birds.
In this protected area, these environments are reserved for bird species: any disturbance in the wrong place, at the wrong time, by a paraglider, a drone or by any other human activity during the breeding period can compromise its success.
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Panorama

A living landscape

This place, named in the back of beyond : "le bout du monde", offers a great open view of the valley. Springs and waterfalls appear at many spots on the slopes to join the Giffre river, which winds through the bottom of the valley. By little streams or furious torrents, the water carries away an incredible mass of alluvium which influences the stream bed over time and according to the flow. The landscape is constantly changing, life adapts to its new environment.
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Geology

Almighty nature

The knowledge developed over time makes it now possible to understand the natural risks in our mountains. However, while some may be predictable, their magnitude and consequences still seem uncontrollable. Even if the bottom of the combe seems flat and quite vast, the slopes on either side of the valley provide excellent downhill trails for avalanches and rockslides. We can observe evidence of these avalanches during the summer season with snowfields still present at the foot of the cliffs. Keep your distance, the ice caves they form may collapse at any time.

During the winter, access to the site is forbidden by prefectoral decree !
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Livestock guardian dogs

These 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.
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Flora

Floristic diversity

The great diversity of the territory's natural environments created a very rich floristic diversity: there are 942 species of plants, 63 of which are rare or protected.
This route, which nevertheless remains at an altitude of approximately 1000 m above sea level, has the particularity of hosting species living normally at higher altitudes: this can be explained by the vertiginous inclination of the slopes, where avalanches and floods deposit plants or seeds living on higher levels.
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Traces of the past

The first humans to settle here were extremely courageous. Few flat areas, forest covering the valley, devastating natural risks, 6 months of winter... Settlement implied a necessary and formidable technical adaptation to the environmental conditions induced by the slopes and the seasons, determinating a specific way of life. The architecture, the landscapes, and the local traditions relate this former life of the village
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Description

  1. From the car park, reach Plan des Lacs (free access) hosting the Chalet d’accueil.
  2. Take the path leading into the forest and follow it in the direction of "Chalet de Prazon".
  3. Turn left and take the footbridge towards "Chalet de Prazon".
  4. Continue on the right of the Prazon snack and follow the river towards "Le Bout du Monde".
  5. At the "Bout du Monde", make a U-turn on the same path until you reach the Fond de la Combe footbridge.
  6. Cross the suspended footbridge which will allows you to discover the other side of the valley and follow the path to the footbridge at the bottom of the combe.
  7. Turn right to cross the river again, and reach the parking via Le Giffrenant.
Departure : Parking « Fer à Cheval »
Arrival : Parking le Fer à Cheval
Towns crossed : Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

This itinerary runs through a nature reserve, please consult the regulations.

However, dogs are allowed on a leash as far as the Prazon refreshment bar.

Limited accessibility from November to June depending on the snow cover related to the significant avalanche risk and the absence of footbridges.

Bike access regulated by municipal decree (July-August).

Transport

Line 94 Cluses - Taninges - Samoens - Sixt Fer à Cheval

Summer shuttle: without reservation, 1 euro / person / day, 7/7 in July and August

Access and parking

Reach the village of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval. Stay on the main road, cross the village and follow the direction "Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval". The road will pass through several small hamlets before arriving at the paid parking lot.

Parking :

Parking Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval

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