Cascade de Courmes

Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France

About Cascade de Courmes

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-05-16
Date last visited: 2012-05-16

Waterfall Latitude: 43.74188
Waterfall Longitude: 6.99985

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Cascade de Courmes was the waterfall attraction we sought out in the Gorge du Loup. Like the nearby Saut du Loup, this waterfall also resided in the Alpes-Maritimes department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (though it was technically in Cote d’Azur also known as the French Riviera).

It was an impressively colorful and tall free-falling waterfall that was scattering in the wind during our afternoon visit. Yet it was hard to believe that this attractive waterfall was so easy to miss because the mini-cove it sat in was otherwise concealed if all we did was focus on the narrow D6 road. It certainly helped our cause that our pre-trip research allowed us to put a pre-trip waypoint on our GPS so we could anticipate when we should slow down and start looking for it.

We happened to notice the falls just before entering a road tunnel while driving the Route des Gorges du Loup northbound. At first, we couldn’t find a convenient spot to pull over to get out of the car given that there didn’t seem to be pullouts in the immediate area.

Cascade_de_Courmes_021_20120516 - The waterfall next to the road
The waterfall next to the road

However, what we ended up doing was we went past the waterfall, and then while looking for a place to turn around on this narrow road, we noticed the car park for the Saut du Loup. That was probably about as good as any place to make the turnaround after visiting that other waterfall attraction.

Once we returned to Cascade de Courmes, we continued going a short distance south on the narrow D6 road until we saw a somewhat sizable pullout area just before the next tunnel. From there, we got out of the car and walked along the D6 road back towards the waterfall.

While I personally wouldn’t recommend spending lots of time walking on the road being shared with cars (and risk becoming roadkill), we really didn’t have a choice as there was no lane or shoulder dedicated for walking. And given how narrow the D6 road was, we found that we were essentially part of the traffic much like people on bicycles sharing the mountain roads.

Once we were at the waterfall, we realized that we pretty much needed a wide angle lens to get the whole waterfall in one shot. There was also a trail that ascended from the road and appeared to go behind the waterfall for additional photo ops, but unfortunately that trail was closed during our visit. I can only speculate that it was probably due to erosion or the danger of a rock fall.

Anyways, the color of the algal walls behind the falls juxtaposed with the blue skies was perfect for photography. In a way, it kind of reminded me of the character and shape of Lower Calf Creek Falls in Utah.

Cascade_de_Courmes_001_20120516 - the pullout next to the tunnel looking south along the D6
Cascade_de_Courmes_004_20120516 - Walking on the road towards the Cascade de Courmes
Cascade_de_Courmes_007_20120516 - A barricade we couldn't get around prevented us from going onto the trail that went behind the falls
Cascade_de_Courmes_020_20120516 - We noticed this sign while standing next to the tunnel besides Cascade de Courmes
Cascade_de_Courmes_022_20120516 - Looking down towards a lower tier of the waterfall beneath the road
Cascade_de_Courmes_024_20120516 - Walking back towards our rental car


Even though we weren’t staying there, we’ll start the driving directions from the busy city of Nice.

As we were leaving Nice, we opted to avoid the traffic along the Promenades-Anglais (the coastal route leading from the city center to the airport) and head north along the D2204 to the A8. Once we got on the A8, we then continued west for around 22km to the exit on the D6 near Cagnes-sur-Mer. We then followed the D6 northwest for about 19km becoming the Route des Gorges du Loup. Overall, this drive should take around an hour to cover the 45km distance.

As we were in the gorge, we kept an eye out for a pullout on the left side of the road just after emerging from one of the tunnels. On our first pass, we had missed this pullout and kept going, and that was when we noticed the waterfall to our right just before entering the next tunnel. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any spot to pull over and check out the falls in the immediate area so we had to go through the tunnel, then turn around at the Saut du Loup car park then go back south on the D6 while looking for a place to pull over. We think the last reasonable shot at stopping would be at that pullout before the next tunnel (that we had mentioned earlier), which would now be on the right side since we were heading south).

For context, Nice was 34km (under an hour drive) east of Cannes, 205km (about 2.5 hours drive) east of Marseille, 262km (about 2.5-3 hours drive) east of Avignon, and 471km (about 4.5-5 hours drive) southeast of Lyon.

Left to right sweep starting from the road tunnel, then panning up to the falls, before ending at the road

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Tagged with: alpes-maritimes, nice, cannes, saut du loup, courmes, cagnes-sur-mer, cote d'azur, french riviera, provence, southern france, france, waterfall

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