Gorges de l'Orbe

Useful Information

(46.726304, 6.529229)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=17 km, VR=700 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=4.5 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Agence ADNV / Office du Tourisme d'Orbe, Rue du Château 2, 1350 Orbe, Tel: +41-24-442-92-37. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1970 declared a natural reserve.


The Gorges de l'Orbe (Gorge of Orbe) is located between the towns Orbe and Vallorbe. The whole gorge is a 17 km long route and a family friendly walk of 4.5 hours. The highlights are the Vallorbe Viaduct, the source of the River Day, and the dams of the hydroelectric plants. The gorge is surrounded by a natural pine forest with oregano, wild thyme, juniper and certain orchids. The River Orbe is the habitat for kingfishers, grey herons, chamois, trouts, and, on the lower part of the trail, beavers. And as there are numerous access points, it is possible to do the whole trip as a round trip, one way, or just a section.

When you start at the town Orbe, at the parking Puisoir, the river flows through a plain. The Centrale Hydroélectrique Le Chalet is the first hydroelectric power plant and has a dam. Now the gorge starts to deepen, and soon, at Planaz, the usine éléctrique de Montcherand power plant follows. This plant gets the water from a dam upstream through massive pipes. Here is the official starting point at the Cantine de l'Abbaye, Montcherand, but from the parking lot you can only reach the trail on the northern side, above the gorge. There is no descend to the river at the parking lot, you have to walk 800 m upstream first. The gorge deepens and massive cliffs on both sides enclose a river with many rapids. This is the central part of the gorge and for 4.7 km (2 h) to Les Clées there is only one possibility to leave the gorge. At the foot of the Château Les Clées lie Les Marmites, spectacular dolly tubs in the riverbed.

At Les Clées a small road leads to the parking lot Vers le Pont. This is a good starting point for either the upper or lower gorge, or a way to end the walk. The other part is less spectacular, but there are nevertheless some nice places. At the Bois de Ban a footbridge crosses the river and there are trails on both sides. Here the river is dammed and canal diverts water for the production of electricity. At the upper end of the lake is another bridge, and the waterfall Saut du Day. After the next bend is the barrage du Day, another dam, and the Centrale hydro-électrique de la Jougnenaz. Finally, you have reached the outskirts of Vallorbe.

This is Switzerland, so there is working public transport between Vallorbe and Orbe, with busses and trains. However, be careful on weekends, there may be restricted schedules. There is also the possibility of using the PubliCar service. See their websites for schedules and conditions. The best alternative is obviously, if you walk in a group and park one car at the other end.