Refuge de Sales – Sixt / Passy National Park
Today we discovered our most beautiful Alpine walk yet. On the recommendation of our French tutor we took the walking trail to the Refuge de Sales in the Sixt/Passy National Park in search of waterfalls!
The walk started above the Cascade de Rouget (known as the Queen of the Alps), a stunning waterfall in its own right, at the end of the road in Lignon. Despite the walk being categorised as easy in the local guide book the walk was not actually for the faint-hearted and involved a hard two hour walk up and a one and a half hour ‘knee-jerker’ back down – not helped by the 25+ degree heat! Our legs certainly knew they’d done some work by the time we got back to the van.
As the walk climbs behind the Cascade de Rouget, you pass several amazing waterfalls including the Sauffaz and the Pleureuse that are fed from springs at the top of the rocky outcrop which form the falls.
The walk continues to the Clos de Sales, a highlight of the walk, a wide flat valley brimming with alpine flowers from geraniums to orchids with the river running down the middle and views of the Cascade de Sales and Trainant waterfall in the distance.
The walk ends at a cirque (glacial bowl) where the Refuge de Sales is tucked into the rocks to protect it from the Winter avalanches. Surrounding the refuge are the summer homes of the farmers who have been grazing their cattle in these alpine pastures for hundreds of years – talk about a walk back in time.
On our return journey we had our first encounter with a marmotte! He wasn’t at all bothered by us taking pictures as he had his mid-afternoon snack bathed in the sunshine!
A highly recommended walk for when you are next in Samoëns and of course you have the time and the energy!!