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cirque de saint meme
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Cirque of Saint Meme

The circus of Saint Meme and the Guiers waterfalls, a breathtaking landscape

A circus made up of cliffs 500 meters high above a green alluvial plain, the Saint-Même circus offers walkers a unique landscape. Renowned for its waterfalls that join the course of the lively Guiers from the top of the cliffs, it offers many possibilities for walks and hikes. At the end of the Chartreuse massif, at an altitude of 900 meters, the Cirque de Saint-Même is an important site for speleology. The cliffs are home to the caves of Guiers-Vif, Mort-Rû and Masques. The underground course of Guiers-Vif comes out of the cliffs into four impressive waterfalls, which mark out magnificent hiking circuits: the sources waterfall, the Grande cascade, the Isolated waterfall and the Pisse du Guiers. The mineral amphitheater and its waterfalls form an idyllic green setting. The entire site belongs to the Hauts de Chartreuse National Nature Reserve. The meadow of the circus is a dream place for picnics. In high season, from May to September, a paying car park is provided at the entrance to the protected site.

The Cascades trail

From an hour to an hour and a half long, the hike on the waterfall trail is accessible to all. When you leave your vehicle in the parking lot, head towards the circus to reach the sign marking the start of the waterfall trail. The start is in a wooded area. The panels are reinforced with yellow markings. The first waterfall is quickly reached, followed by the Grand Cascade. A wooden walkway allows you to cross the stream, and offers a remarkable view of the cliffs and their waterfalls. The return is made again on forest path. With very small children, it is possible from the circus to opt for a very short loop of 30 minutes, allowing to reach the bottom of the circus and the waterfall called "Pisse du Guiers". On the contrary, seasoned walkers and hikers can join the waterfall trail from Saint-Pierre d'Entremont: allow 4 hours round trip.

The Footsteps of Death

Much longer and more technical than the waterfall trail, the Pas de la Mort trail will take you about 5 hours to walk. Very steep in places, the course is fitted with cables, steps and ramps that facilitate the climb. On the cliff side, the view is sublime over the valley. The loop begins at the circus parking lot and is almost 10 km away. Allow about 3h30 for the ascent and between 1h45 and 2 hours for the descent. The circuit takes you first from cascade to cascade: Pisse du Guiers, Isolated waterfall, then Large waterfall. He then joined the Guiers cave on the heights, which can be explored provided he is equipped with a flashlight. The ascent continues to Pas de la Mort, which offers a breathtaking view of the valley. The place is also particularly steep and perilous, on the cliff side. The hike continues in the forest of Aulp de Seuil, then on the Alpette, before descending to the village of Saint-Même-d´en-Haut then to the parking lot of the circus.