CIRCUIT N ° 3: The Black Pond (Municipality of Ramonchamp)
Duration: about 3h15
Difficulty: medium (occasional hiker)
Distance: 11 kilometers
Positive elevation: 336 meters
Markings: blue ring
Places of tourist interest: Plateau des 1000 Etangs, viewpoint of the Etang Noir
Departure: parking lot of the church of Ramonchamp
Access: Coming from Le Thillot, take the national road 66 towards Epinal. The first village crossed is called Ramonchamp. Take the road on the left after the bakery, at the pharmacy intersection, to reach the center of the village and the church.
Description of the route:
Follow the path marked with the blue ring: it crosses a cycle path called "Voie Verte des Hautes Vosges" then follows a spinning mill before turning right into the middle of the workers' housing estates. It goes up through a meadow before joining an asphalt road that you have to take on the right. After 80 meters on this road, you arrive at the start of the loop.
You must continue on the tarmac road marked with blue ring markings.
The route passes near a chapel that watches over the village before joining a tarmac road that must be taken uphill on the left. When you reach the last houses, the road ends and gives way to a path that climbs in zigzags to the Grammont crossroads (altitude: 675 meters).
From there, continue on the wide forest path on the right for about 1 kilometer then fork to the left to walk on a charming little path on the mountainside. This path crosses a wooden footbridge at the picturesque site of the Noir Étang waterfall before reaching the Etang Noir a little higher (altitude: 750 meters). This site is conducive to a well-deserved break, especially as it is equipped with a picnic table.
Continue towards a belvedere which is located at the end of the pond and overlooks the crossed waterfall on the way up. The panorama allows you to gaze at the entire town of Ramonchamp set in its green setting against the backdrop of the Ballons des Hautes Vosges and even the Route des Crêtes.
From the belvedere, always follow the blue ring. This portion of the walk is part of the Sentier des Étangs which takes you after 1 kilometer to a place called “les Noirs Étangs”. From this point, you have to leave the Sentier des Étangs, which runs straight ahead, to take the left-hand path marked with a blue ring as well. It goes down to the Grammont crossroads crossed on the way out. For the return, you have to continue on the 2nd path on the left (not the one taken during the ascent on the outward journey).
This path successively crosses the Chalet de Grammont, a remarkable rock then a cave before joining a small mountain road that you have to leave immediately to take the path to the left that goes down to the village. It joins the intersection at the start of the loop. You must therefore take the road on the right and take the same route as going via the workers' housing estates and the spinning mill to reach the church.