Circuit de la Vallée Sèche de Calmoutier

Useful Information

Location: D100 south of Calmoutier.
From Calmoutier follow D100 towards Noroy-le-Bourg, parkin 600 m before the crossing with D13.
(47.628231, 6.290910)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: TopicSentier Karstique KarstKarst SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch.
Guided tours: self guided, L=5 km, D= 90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Circuit de la Vallée Sèche de Calmoutier, Calmoutier.
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 Circuit de la Vallée Sèche de Calmoutier (Circuit of the Dry Valley of Calmoutier) is a quite interesting karst feature, which is explored in a loop. It starts with a sinking stream, the Perte du ruisseau du moulin au maire (sink of the moulin au maire stream). Immediately behind the sink is a collapse doline, where the cave behind the sink collapse. Obviously this did not block the river cave, the cave river transported the debris away and kept the cave open. This is the beginning of the dry valley, the drainage is now underground and the river which once formed the valley flows below.

Along the dry valley there are several caves, the Grotte de Combe Corneille and the Gouffre du Petit Frais Puits (Abyss of the Small Fresh Well) are part of the trail. We guess the second was named after a spring inside the cave, a reappearance of the underground river. The Belvédère sur la vallée sèche is an outlook halfway, which gives an overview of the dry valley. Finally the Résurgence du Veuvey is reached, where the cave river reappears, just to flow into the La Colombine river after a few meters. The trail is not really a round-course, but at least for a part of the distance another trail on the other side of the valley is used.

The river flows underground for about 1.8 km, the trail is about 5 km long and mostly level. The city has another small cave to the northeast which is named Église de Combe-Epine (Church of Combe-Epine). It only a 10 minutes visit though, and it's not allowed to enter. All the underground sites in the area are part of the Réseau de cavités à rhinolophes de Vesoul, the sites are closed for the preservation of the Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros). This includes numerous caves and abandoned mines. The sites are listed as Natura 2000 habitat. And of course there are not only horseshoe bats, actually more than a dozen species of bats use the cavities.