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Need to Know
The Roc de Chere Nature Reserve is criss-crossed with lots of identical looking, unnamed trails. To navigate, be sure to figure out the name of your destination ahead of time, using the info boards at the trailheads. Use the name of your destination to follow the abundant directional signs that are posted at trail junctions. The trail junctions are also named and have been noted using "points of interest markers" on this Hiking Project map.
Although this route can be done in either direction, the south to north way described here dispenses with all the steep vertical right away - leaving you with the leisurely remainder of the hike to enjoy.
Starting from the paved path along the waterfront at Talloires, continue west past the abbey and high end hotels. The walkway becomes a wooden boardwalk and appears to end at a gate. Pass through the gate and negotiate a skinny concrete path past one last villa. The official trailhead info board marks the start of the steeply ascending trail. Grunt your way steadily up the hill, using occasional handrails to negotiate the rocky terrain. The climb is broken up by ledges and small cave named "Cave of the Birds." The vegetation along the cliffside is scrubby and parched.
Mercifully, the trail levels out at the Sous le Belvedere trail junction. Continue in the straight direction (towards Menthon St. Bernard). The path widens and becomes packed dirt/leaves while the surrounding forest becomes more shady and lush. Continue contouring through the preserve, following green/yellow arrows at any confusing spots. Skirt the edge of a golf course and eventually arrive at a strange circle of stones reminiscent of Stonehenge. At the next 3-way trail junction (named Le Mur des Moines), head downhill in the Menthon St. Bernard direction.
A steady, winding descent over more undulating ground deposits you at the La Valliere trail junction. Soon you find a pretty stone wall covered in moss with a collapsed building inside the enclosure. Follow signs along neighborhood roads and paths to end at the Le Bouverat parking area in Menthon Saint-Bernard.
Background: The Roc de Chere National Nature Reserve was created in 1977 to protect its high levels of biodiversity and microclimates. Its sandstone and limestone rocks were carved by a glacier from the south, and the glacier also created a peat bog here. Monks from the nearby Abbey of Talloires had previously logged this forest and created the trail system.
Flora & Fauna
Sessile oak, hornbeam trees, moss, rhododendron. Martins, peregrine falcon, gulls, black kite.
Shared By: Megan W