Magnificent views over the waters of the Ilay, Petit, Grand Maclu and Narlay lakes (the latter being the deepest in the Jura at 42m).
This panorama reveals an unspoilt, wild landscape where nature offers a sumptuous spectacle of multiple shades of green and blue.
There are several ways to access the panorama:
- From the Aigle car park, take the time for a mid-mountain hike combining effort and contemplation. You can park at one of the 3 car parks in La Chaux-du-Dombief (follow the signs). With good shoes and the right mid-mountain hiking equipment (rucksack, water bottle, snacks, hat), set off to climb the Pic de l'Aigle (991 metres) for a 360° view: the Jura plateaux, Mont Blanc on a clear day, the Monts Jura, Lake Ilay below.... The walk continues through the forest along yellow and white/red signposted paths: after 1.4 km you will reach the 3 lakes lookout. Take a break in front of Lac d'Ilay, Petit Maclu and Grand Maclu.
This viewpoint will inspire you to continue on to the 4 lakes lookout, which you reach fairly quickly.
You can then turn around and return to the centre of La Chaux-du-Dombief, or continue the hike via the ridges and then a rather strenuous descent towards Petit Maclu. The loop finishes along Lac d'Ilay and then back up to the car park via the Chemin du Château.
This complete loop takes 9.7 km and 330 metres of ascent.
- From the lakes, head for the end of Petit Maclu. Follow the yellow and white/red hiking signs to the Belvédère des 4 lacs. The climb up to the ridges can be slippery in wet weather: take care and don't forget the appropriate equipment for any mid-mountain hike: rucksack, water bottle, snacks, etc. Once you've reached the ridges, you'll be close to the 4 lakes lookout. You can continue along the marked forest paths to reach the 3 lakes lookout and eventually the Pic de l'Aigle and its 360° panorama. Be careful: to get back to the starting point, you can make a U-turn or walk to the edge of the lakes via the pic de l'aigle car park and the chemin du château: the cumulative difference in altitude will be 300 metres. All that remains is to return to your starting point along the path beside the lakes.
- For those unable to walk along the traditional paths, there is a small car park on the Bois de Ban forest road, a 5-minute walk from the lookout. The access road is narrow and not recommended for camper vans. This car park is located on a protected site: overnight stays are not permitted.
The various hiking routes are available from tourist offices and on the Jura Outdoor and Haut Jura Rando websites.
This is a fragile natural site: please help us to preserve it by behaving appropriately: please stay on the signposted paths, keep a low profile and don't leave anything behind!