True to its name, the Grande Cascade de Tendon was the larger of two waterfalls in relatively close proximity to each other in Northeastern France. This particular waterfall featured a cumulative drop of about 32m, which was enough to proclaim this to be the highest waterfall in the Vosges Department (named after the mountainous massif in the northeast of France near the German border).
Visiting this waterfall was easy as it was already visible from the parking area (see directions below). From there, we merely walked up a somewhat rocky and uneven path alongside the waterfall’s stream before reaching a spot near the base of the main drop. Given the slippery and uneven nature of the terrain, we had to really watch our step to avoid injury.
At this vantage point, we could cleanly see most of the main drop but the upper tiers were more concealed by the overgrowth and the sloping cliff faces responsible for the main drop of the falls. While the trail appeared to continue to on by veering further to the left away from the waterfall, we were content with this short but sweet experience before heading back down.
Overall, we only spent about 45 minutes away from the car, but we easily could have spent less if we wanted to. That said, we also could have extended our visit by walking the lower trail from the car park towards the nearby Petite Cascade de Tendon though we were able to get there by car.
From Epinal, we left the southbound N57/E23 autoroute at the D420 exit (for Colmar and Epinal Centre). Keeping left at the fork, we then took the third exit at the roundabout to head east on the D420 (towards Colmar). After continuing straight at the next roundabout (to continue towards Colmar on the D420), we then drove another 300m before turning right onto the D11A (towards Colmar).
After 200m, we kept left to remain eastbound on the D11 and followed this road for another 20km. By this time, there was a white sign pointing the way to the Grande Cascade de Tendon, where we then turned right onto the Chemin des Cascades. We then followed this narrow descending road for the remaining 700m before reaching the car park just beyond the Auberg au Pied de la Grande Cascade.
The drive from the freeway exit at Epinal to the Grande Cascade was about 23km (20 minutes). Note that the signposted turnoff for the Petite Cascade de Tendon was just under 2km west of the Chemin des Cascades.
Going in the opposite direction from Colmar, we’d follow the D417 west for roughly 64km (about an hour drive) before turning left at the signposted turnoff for the waterfall on the Chemin des Cascades.
For some geographical context, Epinal was about 73km (under an hour drive) south of Nancy, 93km (over 1.5 hours drive) west of Colmar, and 193km (over 2 hours drive) south of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Meanwhile, Colmar was 74km (about an hour drive) south of Strasbourg and 51km (under an hour drive) west of Freiburg, Germany.
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