At an altitude varying between 1250 and 1300m, the Risoux forest is located north of the Lac des Rousses, between the villages of Bois d'Amont, Les Rousses and Bellefontaine and extends into neighbouring Switzerland, on the Vallée de Joux side. It is very rich in exceptional flora and fauna. Whether you are skiing or hiking, you will enjoy discovering this beautiful Franco-Swiss forest. Because of its depth and extent, the Risoux forest conceals many stories and secrets... Be careful, do not stray from the marked paths and tracks and preserve the peace and quiet of the area!
A bit of history
The Risoux forest was an important place during the Second World War. It was under the protection of this deep forest that many Jews escaped death, thanks to a network set up by Victoria Cordier, Anne-Marie Im-Hof Piguet and Fred Reymond between 1941 and 1944. Victoria Cordier crossed the Risoux by night with them to reach the refuge of the Hotel d'Italie, in the commune of Le Chenit in Switzerland. This courageous woman also took advantage of her travels to carry secret coded messages to the resistance. The immensity and depth of this forest made it possible to reduce the risk of being caught
This massif was also a high place of smuggling of all that was missing in France: tobacco, chocolate... it thus allowed the smugglers to make some money. They had to go back and forth between France and Switzerland during the night. The risks were great and many of the smugglers were caught, injured or killed.
Geography & environment
The Risoux forest, at an altitude of 1200m, is subject to a particularly harsh environment: the cold, combined with poor soil, are the two main factors for a very slow growth of the trees. This results in medullary rings that are tighter than those of other spruces. Thanks to spruce trees that are several hundred years old, the forest provides, among other things, sound wood for violin making.
Local fauna: the Risoux forest, as well as 3 other forest areas in the Jura, has benefited since 1992 from a Prefectural Biotope Protection Order for the protection of the capercaillie: http://groupe-tetras-jura.org/index.php?page=presentation-generale
Hiking and mountain biking:
Many marked routes for hiking or mountain biking criss-cross the Risoux forest. Don't hesitate to come and buy a topo-guide of the walks and mountain bike rides in the Les Rousses resort at the Tourist Office, or the circuit cards. More information here : http://www.lesrousses.com/a-voir-a-faire/activites-et-loisirs/randonnees-ete.html and here : http://www.lesrousses.com/a-voir-a-faire/activites-et-loisirs/velo-et-trottinette.html
The Risoux forest is covered by numerous cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. Don't hesitate to ask for information at the Tourist Office, and to ask for the maps of the cross-country and snowshoe trails. All information is available here: http://www.lesrousses.com/fr/a-voir-a-faire/glisse-et-activites-neige.html
The Risoux forest is accessible from the villages of Les Rousses and Bois d'Amont. In winter, the trailheads are the access gates to the Combe du Vert (above Les Rousses) and Les Combettes (above Bois d'Amont), where there are car parks and which are also reached by the Skibus during the tourist season (http://www.lesrousses.com/pratique/transports/se-deplacer-dans-la-station.html). The rest of the year, you can cross the forest by taking the numerous forest roads, be careful, they are narrow.