Pain de Sucre

Cascade du Pain de Sucre

Useful Information

Location: Parking lot le Parc at road D72 between Chanay and Challonges. 100 m easy walk.
(46,0221723856545, 5,80605160694836)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: A=270 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Le Parc, 01420 Surjoux, Tel: +33-450-484868, Fax : +33-450-486508. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Cascade du Pain de Sucre (Waterfall of the Sugarloaf) is a small waterfall of limestone rich water downhill from the small town Surjoux formed by the river Vézeronce. It is named after a strange rock formation where the water hits the ground, a subaerial 6 m high stalagmite formed of travertine. Its form resembles obviously a sugarloaf, hence the name.

The water looses carbon dioxide when it falls through the air, due to the increased surface. So it is not able to keep all the limestone in solution, which crystallises where the water hits the ground. This process is identical to the way stalagmites form in caves, nevertheless it is extremely rare on the surface, as normally plant growth disturbs the process. And of course the weathering on the surface tends to destroy the stalagmites rather fast. So the formation of the stalagmite must be pretty fast to keep up with the destruction.

This place is freely accessible and has its beauties all around the year. Nevertheless, be careful during wet or misty weather, the trails can be slippery.