For the lack of a more creative title, here is a continuation of what else we found to do around Lake Annecy!
You can read part 1 of my post here
For the next 2 days of our stay, we decided to just wing it and see what comes up. We knew we wanted to take some small hikes (I’m still not experienced enough to do anything really strenuous or long) and just explore what’s around.
The problem in this case was that there’s just way too many hikes and trails around the area!
To help narrow it down, we got a map from the restaurant we had dinner in. From there we decided to kind of just follow what seemed interesting from what was listed.
Thanks to this free map and the trusty visiorando app, we found a trail for some waterfalls that was relatively easy and started off near where we were staying.
So off we went to the city of Angon to start the trail!
But first – Talloires and Basecamp
Before that, we took a coffee stop at Talloires, a city just right before Angon, to buy some groceries for our lunch on the trail. While there, as it was an amazingly sunny day, we decided to take a couple of minutes to sit down and have a coffee on the terrace of Basecamp (every foot of the mountain city apparently has a café named like this). The café was linked to a bike rental shop and we started to get interested about potentially taking a bike tour around the lake. (Sadly, they were closed the following day so that didn’t happen.)
After the pit stop, we drove on to the starting point of the hike to the Cascades.
Chasing Waterfalls in Angon
This was the trail we kind of followed – we cut it short as we started a bit later than expected (thanks to the coffee shop stop) and instead came back the way we started. You can download the details of the trail in the link.
P.S. I’ve noticed that most hiking trails have some sort of parking, so it’s not difficult to drive to the start of hiking trails and come back to your car after.
Of course, while the trails were of the “easy” mode, going uphill for several kilometers is never fun. Nice thing though is that as soon as you get a bit of elevation, you get some great views of the surroundings, such as a great bird’s eye view of the Cheateau on the lake – Chateu de Duingt
After several lifetimes, we finally reached the cascades area, which was less ground but more rocks – and also more slippery as it was partially wet. The waterfalls were nice, not like wow super amazing, but it was a nice goal after a (semi) long hike.
The funniest part was that we encountered a mother daughter pair just going in to the waterfalls area and the mom was complaining about how difficult this was. She stopped to ask us (well more of V) if it was worth it and if it was still far. So V proceeded to pep her up and say it would be worth it at the end and that she wasn’t so far from her goal.
Anyway, after that, we went to the peak of the mountain(?) and thankfully found a bench to sit down and make our sandwiches. We spent a bit of time there, just enjoying the place and watching some rock climbers do a practice on a nearby wall.
After lunch, we went on just a bit further and found the source of one of the waterfalls (at a small stream crossing called Pont des fees). After that, we turned around and went back the way we originally came.
2. Parapente/Para gliding sites
Landing site in Doussard
So after that we didn’t have any real agenda except to try to see what’s interesting on the lake side area. We ended up parking in a place right beside a landing field for hang gliders in Doussard.
This site is just one of the many landing sites for hang gliding and para gliding around Lake Annecy.
We spent a bit of time just relaxing there on a bench and watching all the para gliders come – there were A LOT. I think that day had really good conditions. The funniest part was watching them fold up their chutes (don’t really know what it’s called). I don’t really know and understand why it takes so long to fold the chute, but we must have been there for like 30 minutes watching a couple of guys just try to land their chute on the ground perfectly. We left before they were able to do it successfully.
We also walked into the city/village of Doussard for a little bit – as we were on the hunt for a fromagerie/cheese shop. Didn’t find any but it was a cute city – and I found a bakery/mini market (Le Fournil) that sold some oh so tempting quiches so I was able to get a quick snack.
Take off site at Col de la Forclaz – GO FOR SUNSET VIEWS
After Doussard, we decided to head back to Col de la Forclaz to wait for the sunset views and also watch where the para gliders were launching from.
Like the landing site, this is also just one of the many take off sites around.
We were already a bit tired so we took the car all the way to the top and parked there (there’s a parking area so no need to worry about that).
This area is quite high so it wasn’t a surprise that there was still a lot of snow on the ground around here.
There’s a bunch of dedicated seats to watch the people take off so it was quite nice to sit there and watch, with the most amazing view of Lake Annecy and the rapidly setting sun. Easily one of the best sun set views I’ve seen for some time.
3. Plateau de Semnoz
On our last day before driving back to Lyon, we decided to go and do one last hike. Since we wanted to take advantage of the last remaining winter snow, we decided to go to one of the nearby ski areas, Plateau de Semnoz, wherein there are also some recommended hikes that can be done.
Plateau de Semnoz, is pretty much as it describes, a small plateau on top of the Semnoz mountain. It’s described as mid altitude mountain, so I guess not that high? The place functions mostly as a ski resort with a couple of different pistes.
Initially we made a mistake and did not go all the way up to the Plateau. The starting point of the hikes actually all begin at the top ski station of Semnoz.
On this ski station, if you walk to the top, there is a huge cross where you can have a panoramic view of the different mountains surrounding the area
Most notably, you can clearly see Mont Blanc from this view point.
From around this area, there are several hiking points around the plateau. We decided to take one of the short paths around as we still needed to get to Lyon in the afternoon.
To be honest aside from some of the great mountain views at the start and the middle, this hike was a little less scenic. It was pretty much all snow. And since it was on a plateau, there almost zero shade from the sun.
I honestly had a headache halfway through from the all the sun exposure. I really need to buy myself a hat.
I think this place is a bit more enjoyable for cross country skiers.
I would still overall recommend it though, but just be more prepared for the elements!
The nicest part though, was when we were standing on top of a view point and one of the other older hikers started to talk to me in English. He pretty much just wanted to explain to me all the mountains we could see and what these mountains were. He also told us some stories of of some his more crazy hikes in the Jura mountains and in Mont Blanc.