The Charabotte waterfall is a must in the Albarine valley, and one of the highest in France.
One hour from Lyon, it stands proudly in a wooded and green landscape, ideal for a family outing.
115 meter high waterfall
Grand! The Charabotte waterfall is from an ecological, geological and landscape point of view. Its impressive cataract of 115 m high observed between Chaley and Plateau d'Hauteville, in the valley of Albarine, named after the river that flows from the cliff.
From the beginning of the 1909th century (XNUMX), the site was classified as “natural monument of artistic character”. This amazing title says a lot about the heritage value of the waterfall. Since 2002, the cliffs have been protected in order to preserve the habitat of birds, such as the common raven or the peregrine falcon. More recently (2017) the place was labeled Sensitive Natural Spaces by the Department of Ain, as part of its Nature Plan.
Beautiful from top to bottom…
The top of the waterfall is also a dream location. In the woods, the sound of water is heard, then Albarine river becomes visible. The water is crystal clear. The rock is worn, smoothed by the friction of the water. Everything is curves and delicacy. Suddenly, the mountains of Bugey extend into a verdant panorama. A quick glance to the left and you have the impression that the river stops there… In reality, intrepid, here it is thrown into the void, between the rocks. Magical !
The timid river is transformed before our eyes into an impetuous waterfall: beautiful, strong, changing, poetic. In a word, feminine. Besides, where does this charming name “Charabotte” come from?
Here we believe we are elsewhere. Here time stops.
The legend says ...
One day, when almost everything was submerged by water in the small village of Chaley, appeared the cat in seven league boots. Indeed, he sometimes happened to cross our region during his long journeys. And as everyone knows, our cat went from mountain to mountain without difficulty, thanks to his enchanted boots.
However, that day, assured of crossing his obstacle, our cat slipped on the rocks and fell heavily in the flooded meadows. An old peasant, present during the incident, laughed: " Look ! The water has never been so high, the cat has water up to its boots! » And as we were helping our famous cat to get up from his bad posture – at that time, men and animals were in perfect harmony – the latter replied: “Since it is so, whenever you are flooded by the waterfall, call me, I will remove the water from the meadows with my boots. » This is how an adventurous cat and a pair of water-filled boots were born the name "Charabotte".
Access to the waterfall
To observe the waterfall, a belvedere is on the Plateau d'Hauteville road from Chaley (a small car park has been set up for this purpose in the hairpin bends).
The approach on foot can be done from below, starting from the old Charabotte mill in Chaley.
WARNINGS : the trail is not marked and poorly maintained. It is recommended to be careful and well equipped. A development project is under consideration.
When the snow melts or after heavy rainfall, the waterfall is transformed, becoming even more majestic and above all indomitable!
Also we recommend the periods from March to June and from September to November. The summer period is to be avoided.
NB: The path of the "tunnel hike" or "phantom train ride" is currently the subject of a prefectural decree prohibiting access, due to the risk of accidents. The security of the site is under consideration.