The Gorges of the Abime and Crêt Pourri
The Gorges of the Abime and Crêt Pourri

The Gorges of the Abime and Crêt Pourri

Fauna – Flora
Lakes, rivers and waterfalls
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Saint-Claude’s surroundings are marked by an abundance of rushing gorges, strange ridges and majestic cirques. This physical hike invites you to discover some of its jewels.

At the bottom, the boiling waters in the Abime’s cauldron flood before gushing out into the waterfalls further along. At the top, the verticality of the Fresnois rocks clashes with the eroded sides of the crêt Pourri, on the summit of which you may spend some time simply sitting and watching.

5 points of interest
Lakes & Rivers

Formation of Giant’s kettles

During heavy rain, the torrent carries stones and sand which, when whirled around by ferocious eddies, dig rounded, polished cavities into the riverbed. These holes, called potholes (or “Giant’s Kettles”) take on three forms which attest to the depression of the river:

  • Permanently active potholes, at the bottom of the river.
  • Potholes that are still active during flooding, higher up.
  • Fossil potholes, at the waterway’s former level and which are no longer active.
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History & Heritage

The lime kiln in Très-Bayard

In Très-Bayard, the path heads between old buildings that once served to make tiles and lime. Quicklime was produced by cooking limestone. Then, depending on the type of lime desired, it was “extinguished” and contained a higher or lesser percentage of water. The first indications of lime manufacturing date back to ten thousand years ago. Some kilns were merely a buried hearth. Others, like the one in Très-Bayard which was operational from 1882 to 1910, were much more elaborate and built of brick. Here, limestone was extracted from the foot of a small cliff above Très-bayard, at the same geological levels as the Crêt Pourri, and brought to two factories via cable car.

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Crêt Pourri

This beautiful limestone pyramid is decomposing due to surface runoff and gelation: freezing and thawing processes. Note the tenacity of the plants brave enough to tackle these permanent screes.

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The rock bunting

This discreet bird can be found in rocky hills with scattered bushes. Around the size of a sparrow, this species has a blue head and a black mask, which sets it apart from all other species in the region.

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Viewpoint from Crêt Pourri

Viewpoint over the Gros Dard valley, Mont Bayard, the Foules cirque, the Flumen wind gap and the Tacon valley.

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From DEVIL’S BRIDGE, the trail heads up the right embankment of the Abime’s torrent (yellow waymarking), equipped with several fixtures. Cross the bridge and head up the left embankment (be careful, handrails). Branch off to the left and exit onto a goof path at Sous Grange Catin.

Follow this path to the right to reach la grange Catin, then continue (yellow and red waymarking) until you comme to the Très Bayard Crossroads.

The wide and stony path ascends to the left towards le Pontet (viewpoint before the hamlet on the “Frênois rock” to the northeast).

At the entrance to the hamlet, take a narrow path to the left towards the Dead Hand. Take the bridge under Crêt Pourri (Rotten ridge) without stopping, to avoid any risk of falling rocks and to reach the Chemin du crêt Pourri.

A very steep path (yellow waymarking) climbs up the pasture and opens onto the BELVEDERE OF CRET POURRI.

Continue north via a trail through the undergrowth which, after a quick descent, heads up to the Frênois Rock. Join the trail to the left that borders the rock and heads under a power line. Prolong the quick descent on sunken forest paths, along the fall line. Exit onto the Vaucluse forest path at “Chemin de la Fraite”.

Take the road to the left (yellow and red waymarking) to return to Grange Catin. Head back down towards the gorges of the Abime and the parking lot where you started. To freshen up, a round trip to the Combes Waterfall only takes a few minutes.

Departure : Devil’s Bridge, Saint-Claude
Arrival : Devil’s Bridge, Saint-Claude
Towns crossed : Saint-Claude

Altimetric profile

Sensitive areas

Along your trek, you will go through sensitive areas related to the presence of a specific species or environment. In these areas, an appropriate behaviour allows to contribute to their preservation. For detailed information, specific forms are accessible for each area.
Western capercaillie
Impacted practices:
, Land-based
Sensitivity periods:
Parc naturel régional du Haut-Jura
29 Le Village
39310 Lajoux
03 84 34 12 30


Be careful around the gorges of the Abime, the trail, although fitted with walkways can be slippery. Know when to turn back in the event of high waters. Take care on the cliffs along the crêt Pourri and on the Frênois rock.

This trail passes through pastures with livestock and forest paths. To respect the owners and farmers granting you passage, and for the security of livestock and wild fauna, we ask that you remain on the waymarked paths. Use the adapted passageways to get across fencing and be sure to close gateways behind you.

Please keep your dog on a lead if you have one.

Wild flowers are beautiful, they may be rare and protected and often wilt quickly. Do not pick them! They will delight the next hikers.

In case of forest works (felling, skidding, etc.), for your safety, know when to stop and turn around.

Information desks

Tourist information centre - Haut-Jura Saint-Claude

1 avenue de Belfort, 39200 Saint-CLaude

+33 (0)3 84 45 34 24

Find out more


To visit and get about in the High-Jura, visit, the eco-mobility portal listing all means of transport within the Park.

Access and parking

2 km north of Saint-Claude via the D 69 towards Cinquétral

Parking :

at the Devil’s Bridge, 2 km from the centre of Saint-Claude, via the D69, towards Cinquétral

Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: