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Complete Jura Crest Trail  The Natural Adventure 8

Complete Jura Crest Trail

Overview

The Jura Crest Trail is Switzerland’s oldest long-distance trail, linking Lake Geneva and Zurich together as it passes through stunning, history-rich scenery. Signposting on the route began as early as 1905. This 19-Day tour delivers one wondrous panorama after another as you ascend, traverse and descend summits and mountain passes along the 310 km route.

The Jura Mountains form a sub-alpine range of ancient folded strata extending from the Rhine Valley in the northeast to the Rhône Valley. The range is a rolling showcase of natural features including deep gorges, mountain streams, glistening lakes (including the highest mountain lake in the Jura), tranquil forests, extensive alpine pastures and craggy, exposed cliffs.

  • The immense views of the Jura range
  • The peaks and ridges of the Alps on the horizon
  • Rhône Valley
  • Creux du Van with an impressive 160 m high vertical rock wall amphitheatre

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Regensdorf

Arrive in Regensdorf and overnight.

Day 2:  Regensberg – Baden | 13 km

Take a bus to Regensberg. Gently uphill through vineyards to the small towns of Regensberg and Lägern. The medieval hilltop fortress of Regensberg offers an extensive opportunity to immerse yourself in the historic and cultural development of Switzerland throughout the ages. After a demanding descent towards Baden, you can relax in the town. 

  • Walking for the day: 4 hours, 13 km ↑570 m ↓615 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Du Parc or similar

Day 3: Baden – Brugg | 11.5 km

From Baden further to the Gebenstorfer Horn with views of Switzerland’s natural water resources, Brugg on the River Aare and nearby Windisch. Do not miss the historic Roman centre of Brugg.

  • Walking for the day: 3 hours, 11.5 km ↑340 m ↓325 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Rotes Haus similar

Day 4: Brugg – Herzberg | 18 km

After crossing Brugg’s old town, the first uphill stretch to the Vier Linden country guesthouse embedded in the Jurapark, and via the forest to the ancient as well as legendary Linner Linde (linden tree). On uphill through shady forests to the Schenkenberg ruins, seen from afar, and on to Staffelegg/Herzberg. 

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, 18 km ↑715 m ↓365 m
  • Accommodation: Haus Herzberg or similar

Day 5: Herzberg – Wisen | 14 km

On today’s hike you will get to know five passes: Staffelegg, Bänkerjoch, Salhöhe, Schafmatt and lastly the Untere Hauenstein. In between, lots of woodlands, many pastures and the rugged Geissfluh vantage point on the border of Baselland.

Day 6: Wisen – Balsthal | 25 km

En route to Belchenfluh, the many buildings and coats of arms are reminders of Swiss defences in two World Wars. Soon follows tiny Bärenwil, on via Tiefmatt to Roggen. Far below, Balsthal greets you with its Neu-Falkenstein castle.

  • Walking for the day: 8 hours, 25 km ↑1085 m ↓1405 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Balsthal or similar

Day 7: Balsthal – Weissenstein | 20 km

The reward for the steep climb to Höllchöpfli is the views along the high-level hike through forests and meadows. Passing unusual geological features and many mountain restaurants to the Weissenstein – ‘Solothurn’s balcony’.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 20 km ↑1175m ↓400m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Weissenstein or similar

Day 8: Weisstenstein Biel  | 24 km

A short train ride to Oberdorf and then by cable car up to Weissenstein, where you will reach the Jura Crest Trail. The roof of Canton Solothurn offers views across the Jura arc to the Mittell and the snow-capped Alps and on through forests and typical Jura meadows. You will cross the language border at Montagne de Romont and spend the night near Biel.

  • Walking for the day: 6.5 hours, 24 km ↑700 m ↓1415 m
  • Accommodation: Mercure Biel or similar

Day 9: Biel Nods | 17 km

From the low-lying Schüss Valley, you will reach the crest of the Bernese Jura. An almost constant, yet comfortable climb follows to scale the Chasseral. Enjoy the panoramic view over the Mittelland lakes. From Chasseral transfer down to Nods.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 17 km ↑1340 m ↓270 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Cheval Blanc or similar

Day 10: Nods – La Vue des Alpes | 20 km

In the morning, a transfer will bring you up to Chasseral where you continue your walk. A varied hike follows between the upper St. Imier Valley and the Val de Ruz Valley with the winter sports resort, Le Pâquier. The top of the Vue des Alpes pass is not far from the watch-making centre of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Day 11: La Vue des Alpes – Travers/Couvet | 20 km

Enjoy the fantastic panoramic views of the high mountains with the Tête de Ran and Mont Racine peaks in the background and Lac de Neuchâtel down in the valley, before making the steep descent to Noiraigue.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 20 km ↑790 m ↓1275 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Aigle or similar

Day 12: Circular walk Creux du Van | 16 km

The beginning of this stage is demanding but rewarding: the highlight of the hike is the natural rock amphitheatre of Creux du Van, the Swiss equivalent of the Grand Canyon. Geologic wonders of the Creux du Van sits above the town of Noiraigue, a perfect example of Jura limestone with an impressive 160 m high vertical rock wall amphitheatre within a 1km-wide valley.

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, 16 km ↑915 m ↓420 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Aigle or similar

Day 13: Travers/Couvet – Ste-Croix | 23 km

From Couvet you walk via Fleurier up to the Jura high trail. After a descent of 1.5 hours, you reach St-Croix, the home of musical boxes and music automats. 

  • Walking for the day: 7 hours, 23 km ↑1200 m ↓800 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel de France or similar

Day 14: Ste-Croix – Vallorbe | 25 km

From the train station, the path leads out of the village and climbs up to the Aiguilles de Baulmes ridge. Once at the top, a panoramic section continues all the way to the summit. The view extends over the alpine chain with the Mont Blanc, the lakes of Neuchâtel and Geneva, the Dôle region and the Chasseral. Rugged rock belts, up to 80 metres high and facing south, characterise the mountain ridge. In Vallorbe, old iron crafts and the railway are the centres of attention.

  • Walking for the day: 7 hours, 25 km ↑645 m ↓1260 m
  • Accommodation: Auberge pour tous or similar

Day 15: Vallorbe – Le Pont | 14 km

Passing over meadows and ridges, the trail reaches the Dent de Vaulion. The region’s highest peak has the whole of western Switzerland at its feet. On a clear day, there are no fewer than eight lakes to admire, most notably the Lac de Joux and Lac de Brenet in the Vallée de Joux. Crossing another meadow, walk downhill to the restaurant before the varied trail runs through the forest to Pétra Félix. It passes by old tank traps and bunkers to reach the shore of Lac de Joux in Le Pont about half an hour later. The water from the two lakes runs off underground, forming the karst cave and tourist attraction of the Grottes de l’Orbe near Vallorbe.

  • Walking for the day: 4.5 hours, 14 km ↑800 m ↓600 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel de la Truite or similar

Day 16: Le Pont – Les Brassus | 21 km

The undisputed highlight of this tour across extensive pastureland is the ‘Balcon du Alpes’, between Col du Mollendruz near Le Pont and Saint-Cergue, where the trail traverses over the summit of Mont Tendre (1679m) and offers stunning views across Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc massif.

  • Walking for the day: 6.5 hours, 21 km ↑1050 m ↓600 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel De Marchairuz or similar

Day 17: Les Brassus – St-Cergue / La Cure | 17 km

Park-like landscapes and magnificent views of Lake Geneva and the Savoy Alps are the main features of this walk. From the Col du Marchairuz, the Jura Crest Trail leads through typical Jura forests, always heading southwest. In between the wooden areas, you will hike through flower-filled meadows boasting a glorious sea of colour.

  • Walking for the day: 4.5 hours, 17 km ↑460 m ↓860 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Franco Suisse or similar

Day 18: St-Cergue / La Cure – Nyon | 26 km

A bleak rock bastion and the lush Lac Léman shores: a pair of contrasts on this tour. After climbing to the top of La Dôle near the national border, the trail leads through forests to vineyards and Nyon, a small town in a superb location.

  • Walking for the day: 7.5 hrs, 26 km ↑780 m ↓1400 m
  • Accommodation: Hostel Nyon or similar

Day 19: Departure

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in nice 3-start hotels and local inns, in double or twin private en-suite rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. Picnic lunches are optional at an extra charge and can be ordered locally, or products for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you’ll be staying. On some days you have the option of having your lunch in a restaurant along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

The trip is suitable for average hikers, prepared to walk six hours per day. You will hike on good paths with no special technical challenges. The trails are easy to walk, but they may be slippery on wet days (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from end-April until mid-October. The best time for walking is between June and mid-September when the wildflowers are in bloom, and the weather is generally good. Earlier in the season, there may be some residual snow patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills.

The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Zurich.

By train or bus
  • Free car park Linden just outside Regensberg.
  • You can take a train from Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Regensdorf via Zürich Oerlikon, duration approx. 31 min. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Regensdorf for around 51 min.
  • Return journey by train via Zurich and Dielsdorf to Regensberg, duration approx. 3.5 hrs.
  • For more information visit Swiss Railways (SBB/CFF/FFS) or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 18 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Detailed route notes (1 x per room) & GPS tracks
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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