To make the most of the beautiful days of late spring, we decided to go to the small “Ariège Amazon”; direction Roquefort-les-cascades ! A place that we both wanted to discover for a long time, and which conquered us with its accessibility neighborhoods, are the bucolic atmosphere neighborhoods, are the exceptional natural setting. In short, a dream location for a nice stroll with the family, alone, or as a couple!
The Roquefort waterfalls, 4-season spot
The Roquefort waterfalls, ideally located in Ariège (since only 25min from Foix), is a 4 seasons place! On 30m high, "the Turasse", forms a succession of beautiful waterfalls called "petrifying" (we explain below)
Why is it a 4 season place?
- In Spring the vegetation wakes up from its "hibernation", and the water flows freely thanks to the melting snow, and the heavy periods of rain.
- In winter, they are frozen.
- In Summer, the waterfalls are dry (or almost dry) but the vegetation is lush, and an incredible green.
- In Autumn, ditto, they are dry and they take on orange / brown colors.
A walk around the Turasse waterfall
It was at the end of spring / beginning of summer that we had the opportunity to go there. We took the road from Foix, which goes through the Hers valley. A sublime route dotted with old Michelin markers which indicate the distances between the villages. It is a beautiful country road, with multiple points of view and a bucolic atmosphere.
We park at the bottom of the waterfalls (parking lot) and in barely 1 minute, we are at the start of the hike, which will make us discover all of the Turasse waterfalls, or Cascades de Roquefort.
Water was still flowing from the recent rainfall and the end of the snowmelt. As soon as we arrived at the bottom of the waterfalls, what a delight! The flowing water, and the green of the vegetation, the moss on the walls ... it's so impressive that you think you're in another world ... don't see yourself!
The walk begins and we quickly reach a first level where the Turasse waterfall reveals all its charms to us. The soft sound of crystal clear water mingling with the songs of birds, lulls us, disorient us ... time stands still, and we have the impression of being right in the heart ... from the Amazon (Lara croft had better watch out!).
With each of our steps we sink into a whole new setting, where vegetation, cliffs, forests, humidity, waterfalls… and caves, markers of bats intertwine!
We decide to observe them from afar and trace our way to reach the highest point of the hike, where awaits us (it seems) a superb point of view on the valley of the Hers.
Finally arrived, a small space between the trees leaves us free to admire the view. This is where you realize the height, and the view is magical. On the way down, we take the time to stop for the last time to look at this exceptional place.
On the way back, we took a different route to stop to eat in a restaurant in Nalzen: Les sapins.
Les Sapins is a charming inn, on the edge of a pine forest, a stone's throw from Roquefort, which serves dishes made with local products, crafted with love. A beautiful restaurant that promotes short circuits and puts creativity at the service of Ariège gastronomy, to create original dishes.
In short, a very good address!
La balade which goes around the waterfalls is really easy, and it is even ideal with children from 6 years old, provided they have good shoes (because depending on the season, the ground is sometimes muddy and slippery).
It is necessary to count :
- 30 minutes walk
- 104m of elevation gain
Be careful to walk on the path, so as not to damage the environment.
Picnic tables on site and refreshment bar open in summer.
The phenomenon of "tufière"
The waterfalls are amazing because they produce an extremely rare phenomenon, and moreover very fragile: the tufa. The tufa is also called “petrifying waterfall”. Rainwater becomes charged with carbon dioxide on contact with the ground and becomes acidic. It thus dissolves the limestone of the massif in which it circulates and forms cracks and galleries (karstic relief). It then comes out into the open air, giving rise to a spring.
The waters are also loaded with sulphate, and this causes an abnormal deposit of limestone in contact with the air. The limestone is then deposited on plant species, “petrifying” them and thus creating this very particular rock, called “tuff”.
This phenomenon makes the place very exceptional, and like all exceptional things, it must be taken care of: walk only on the paths, do not swim, do not touch the rock… and so on!
The Land of Olmes, an inexhaustible place of discovery
Close to Roquefort waterfalls, we have the possibility of easily shining in all the Country of Olmes. For example, we had spotted the Fontestorbes fountain, a place that looks so magical! Nearby there is also the Belesta forest, and its hundred-year-old trees, or Camon, most beautiful villages in France, the city of a hundred rosebushes ❤️
We keep these discoveries for a next stop in Ariège!
How to get to Roquefort-les-cascades?
It took us about 25 minutes to travel from Foix, through the Hers valley.
You can also access it from Toulouse, by taking the A66 to Pamiers. Once on the expressway (N20) take exit 7 towards Varilhes towards St-Felix-de-Rieutord then Carla-de-Roquefort and finally Roquefort-les-Cascades. 1h15 journey.
You can park at the foot of the waterfalls.