Switzerland's Jura Crest Trail
A two week trek from Zurich to Geneva
By Ali Rowsell
Guidebook to the Jura Crest Trail or Crêtes du Jura (also known as the Jura High Route), traversing the undulating limestone plateau of the Swiss Jura. The 310km trail, from Dielsdorf near Zurich to Nyon on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), is presented in 14 day stages and boasts great scenery and rich natural, historical and geological interest.
SeasonsThe best time of year to walk the Jura Crest Trail is between May and September, when more accommodation options and transport links are available.
CentresDielsdorf, Baden, Brugg, Balsthal, Weissenstein, Solothurn (slightly off-route), Biel/Bienne (slightly off-route), Vue des Alpes, Noiraigue, Vallorbe, Le Pont, Ste-Cergue, Nyon
DifficultyStages are graded according to difficulty. The Jura Crest Trail is classified as an easy hiking trail (Wanderweg), with some sections requiring a higher level of fitness than others. Stage 1 has the only optional section of 'mountain' trail (Bergweg), to descend into Baden. Specialist equipment is not required.
Must SeeThe historic medieval towns of Regensberg, Baden and Brugg; the geological wonders of the Creux du Van and La Dole; Chasseral (1607m), Le Chasseron (1607m) and Mont Tendre (1679m); WWI & WWII relics such as the fortress and mountain road of the Belchenflue; Switzerland's largest mountain lake above 1000m, Lac de Joux; Switzerland's largest lake, Lac Léman (Lake Geneva); impressive cols linking Switzerland to France
This guide presents Switzerland's Jura Crest Trail. Also known as the Jura High Route (Swiss national route 5), this 310km long-distance route traverses the sub-alpine mountains of the Swiss Jura from Dielsdorf near Zurich to Nyon on the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), running roughly parallel to the Swiss-French border. With over 13,500m of ascent, the trail demands a moderate level of fitness and can be comfortably completed in around a fortnight.
The Jura Crest Trail is easily accessed from Zurich and Geneva. The region boasts excellent walking infrastructure and facilities, and although the trail crosses the mountains, you are seldom too far from civilisation. The guide contains all the information you need to plan and walk the route. You'll find advice on transport and comprehensive details of accommodation and refreshments. The trek itself is presented from east to west in 14 stages of 12–32km, with step-by-step route description accompanied by clear mapping and notes on local points of interest.
The Jura Crest Trail boasts far-reaching views of the Bernese Oberland, the Haute Savoie and the Rhine and Rhone Valleys, and is rich in geological, natural and historical interest. Passing through woodland and alpine meadows and crossing rolling limestone plateaux, highlights include the spectacular amphitheatre of the Creux du Van, the medieval towns of Baden and Brugg, and Lac de Joux, the largest lake in the Jura mountains.
The Jura Crest Trail
Geology of the Jura mountains
World War II and the Jura mountains
Flowers of the Jura mountains
When to go
Getting there and around
Food and drink
What to take
Waymarking and trails
Safety in the mountains
Using this guide
The Jura Crest Trail (East to West)
Stage 1 Dielsdorf to Neustalden
Stage 2 Neustalden to Hauenstein
Stage 3 Hauenstein to Balsthal
Stage 4 Balsthal to Weissenstein
Stage 5 Weissenstein to Frinvillier
Stage 6 Frinvillier to Chasseral
Stage 7 Chasseral to Vue des Alpes
Stage 8 Vue des Alpes to Noiraigue
Stage 9 Noiraigue to Sainte-Croix
Stage 10 Sainte-Croix to Vallorbe
Stage 11 Vallorbe to Col du Mollendruz
Stage 12 Col du Mollendruz to Col du Marchairuz
Stage 13 Col du Marchairuz to Saint-Cergue
Stage 14 Saint-Cergue to Nyon
Appendix A Accommodation
Appendix B Useful contacts
Appendix C Glossary
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Ali Rowsell is a full-time teacher who has worked internationally, in countries including Australia, South Korea and Switzerland. She specialises in the outdoors, in particular mountain walking, and is a freelance International Mountain Leader. As a seasoned adventurer who has set foot and traveled on all continents except Antarctica to date, she has a passion for exploring new locations and sharing her love for the outdoors.View Articles and Books by Ali Rowsell