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Sensitive Natural Area

Ain is a department very rich in landscape diversity and remarkable natural environments. In 2021, more than 13,000 hectares were labeled “sensitive natural areas”, creating a vast network of sites representative of the natural wealth of the Ain.

The Haute Vallée de l'Ain , emblematic of the department, is identified as a remarkable natural site from an ecological, geological and landscape point of view.


This Sensitive Natural Area "Haute Vallée de l'Ain", labeled in July 2019, reveals many sites of interest. It is made up of a mosaic of habitats hosting a diversity of exceptional species (wetlands, dry meadows and lawns, forests and woodlands, cliffs and rocky environments).

The perimeter also includes the Cize Bolozon viaduct and the Ain loop, emblematic of the department, as well as high points appreciated for the landscapes and the panoramic views they offer: the Belvédère des Roches , the Rochers du Jardonnet , Mont Balvay , the Conflans side, the Bréchette pass. 

The dinosaur footprints site, located in Hautecourt-Romanèche, is part of the ENC. Finally, the perimeter includes the ENS of the "Grotte et reculée de Corveissiat".

It also benefits from a strong tourist dimension (reinforced by the requalification of the Chambod-Merpuis leisure center) and has many popular sites for the practice of nature sports (hiking, mountain biking, climbing, caving, canoeing, etc.).

Discovery guide : click here


The ENS "Haute Vallée de l'Ain" has a vast perimeter which includes the Ain river, over a length of more than 25 kilometers.  The Chambod Merpuis leisure center enjoys a central place in this ENS, both from a geographical and tourist point of view.  

The vast tourist requalification project of the site, led by the Joint Union for the Development and Equipment of Chambod Island (SMAE), aims to strengthen the tourist attraction of the site but also to reveal the rich landscapes and remarkable natural surroundings that surround the island, making it the gateway to the ENS “Haute Vallée de l'Ain”.  

In addition, an interpretive trail on Chambod Island allows you to discover the 10 remarkable sites of the Haute Vallée de l'Ain, while going around the island. It is signposted over a length of 2 kilometers and is accessible to people with reduced mobility (PRM) on half of the route.  

Discover Ile Chambod - Merpuis

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