Activity Workshop
 

Swiss Hike - Jura Ridgeway

Length:

17 days, 311 km

Start:

Dielsdorf ZH

Finish:

Borex, near Nyon

Season:

Spring - Autumn

Profile:

Between 320m (near Brugg) and 1680m (Mont Tendre),
up 12500m, down 12400m

Difficulty:

Easy / Medium

Strenuous:

Days can be made shorter or longer to suit

Summary

The Jura Ridgeway, as its name suggests, follows the Jura mountains in an arc from German-speaking northern Switzerland around to the French-speaking west. It starts in Dielsdorf, just north of Zürich, and heads westwards through Baden, over the Weissenstein near Solothurn, over the Chasseral north of lake Neuchâtel, past the Creux du Van, over the Chasseron, Mont Tendre and La Dôle, and then cutting down to Borex not far from Nyon by Lac Léman.

In the German-speaking areas the route is known (and signposted) as the Jura Höhenweg, but in the French-speaking areas (which cover the greater portion of the whole route) it's marked as the Chemin des crêtes. We'll call it the "Jura Ridgeway" because the English word "highway" is open to more confusion!

Route map

map of the Jura ridgeway

The route of the Jura ridgeway from northeast to southwest

The picture on the left shows the route of the Jura ridgeway from Dielsdorf near Zürich to Borex near Nyon. The route follows the curve of the Jura range from the northeast to the southwest, just making a sharp left turn at the end just before the French border.

The map images are available thanks to Prune and openstreetmap.

For an interactive, zoomable, draggable map to the Jura Ridgeway, see the online map, again thanks to openstreetmap.

Getting there and back

Many of the towns along the route have good transport connections, making shorter sections practical. Major connection points include Zürich, Baden, Aarau, Olten, Solothurn, Biel/Bienne, Neuchâtel, Yverdon-les-Bains, Lausanne and Nyon.

Signposting

It used to be the case that all the signposts were clearly marked with red/yellow flashes for the Jura ridgeway. In fact, this is how it's still described on the official page. However, this is being converted to a new signing format, with square green "5" signs.

sign

The only problem with this is, that in many places the old red flashes are being painted over before the new "5" signs are in place. This can be confusing, unless you especially look out for the yellow paint on top of the triangular flashes on the signposts. Not the brightest of ideas, whoever came up with that. But hopefully it's just a temporary problem.

Google Earth

Kmz icon

This kmz file (16 kb) contains waypoints from the Jura Ridgeway and shows the path as a red line snaking along the ridgetops. Simply open it in Google Earth (File -> Open) and you'll see the route in full. Press the "Play Tour" button below the listed waypoints and you can fly a tour along the route from Dielsdorf to Borex.

If you haven't got Google Earth installed, you can see the same file in Google Maps in your browser instead.

Sections

In the following pages, each stage of the route is described in detail including waypoints and photos.

  Stage Summary Distance Climb Descent
1
Dielsdorf to Brugg

Over the Lägeren ridge to Baden, then on over a second ridge to Brugg

25 km

850 m

930 m

2
Brugg to Salhöhe

Climbing from Brugg along the ridge north of Aarau

24 km

900 m

470 m

3
Salhöhe to Allerheiligenberg

Along the ridge north of Olten

21 km

930 m

820 m

4
Allerheiligenberg to Balsthal

Undulating ridgetops and then sharply down to Balsthal

15 km

490 m

910 m

5
Balsthal to Oberbalmberg

Back up to the next ridge north of Solothurn

17 km

1000 m

430 m

6
Oberbalmberg to Obergrenchenberg

Spectacular views of the alps from two lookout peaks of Hasenmatt and Stallflue

13 km

750 m

450 m

7
Obergrenchenberg to Orvin

Long downhill stretch across the language border

18 km

370 m

1060 m

8
Orvin to Chasseral

Long uphill stretch with more alpine panoramas

15 km

1040 m

150 m

9
Chasseral to Vue des Alpes

Down through the gorge of Combe Biosse, then back up to Mont d'Amin

20 km

710 m

940 m

10
Vue des Alpes to Noiraigue

Over Tête de Ran and Mont Racine, and down to the foot of the Creux du Van

22 km

780 m

1320 m

11
Noiraigue to La Combaz

Steep climb up to the Creux du Van, then tracks through idyllic countryside

18 km

900 m

410 m

12
La Combaz to Sainte Croix

Over the Chasseron with its dramatic ridgetop

16 km

700 m

850 m

13
Sainte Croix to Ballaigues

Over the ridgetop by Le Suchet with views over lakes Neuchatel and Geneva

17 km

580 m

750 m

14
Ballaigues to Le Pont

Past the caves at Grottes de l'Orbe and up to Lac de Joux

13 km

400 m

250 m

15
Le Pont to Col de Marchairuz

Over Mont Tendre and down to the pass

20 km

1000 m

570 m

16
Col de Marchairuz to St Cergue

Ridgetop views and the ruines d'Oujon

17 km

440 m

830 m

17
St Cergue to Borex

Climb over La Dôle and sharp left down to Borex

20 km

710 m

1290 m

The waypoints

The following are the coordinates for waypoints along this route, obtained from GPS. They can be used either in another GPS, or along with a map, to provide additional references if necessary. You can scroll this window to see all waypoints.

                          Latitude       Longitude      Altitude(m)
     Dielsdorf           N 47°28'57.6    E008°27'31.4     428
     Regensberg          N 47°28'56.0    E008°26'10.9     593
     Hochwacht           N 47°28'54.1    E008°24'03.0     856
     Altlägeren          N 47°28'53.3    E008°23'29.6     855
     Lägerenburg         N 47°28'50.9    E008°21'48.1     859
     Lägeren Sattel      N 47°28'47.4    E008°21'10.9     785
     Sunnenberg          N 47°28'31.5    E008°18'54.3     432
     Schartenfels        N 47°28'28.1    E008°18'52.8     464
     Baden station       N 47°28'34.9    E008°18'28.1     385
     Baldegg             N 47°28'12.9    E008°16'46.3     569
     Chörnlisberg        N 47°28'45.4    E008°15'43.7     553
     Gebenstorfer Horn   N 47°29'12.8    E008°14'56.4     514
     Reusssteg           N 47°28'48.7    E008°13'46.0     335
     Unter Windisch      N 47°28'58.1    E008°13'36.8     345
     Brugg station       N 47°28'51.6    E008°12'32.6     349
     Riniken             N 47°29'03.7    E008°11'11.8     393
     Vierlinden          N 47°28'49.0    E008°09'33.0     514
     Widacher            N 47°28'34.9    E008°08'21.0     572
     Linn                N 47°28'14.7    E008°07'57.9     580
     Linnerberg          N 47°27'47.0    E008°07'28.3     722
     Möseren             N 47°27'16.2    E008°06'45.5     665
     Chillholz           N 47°27'08.6    E008°06'02.2     649
     Staffelegg          N 47°26'01.4    E008°03'38.1     621
     Herzberg            N 47°26'10.2    E008°02'43.4     697
     Bänkerjoch          N 47°26'12.6    E008°01'46.8     668
     Egghalden           N 47°25'56.5    E008°00'55.1     720
     Cholwald            N 47°25'44.0    E007°59'36.0     762
     Salhöhe             N 47°25'42.3    E007°59'14.1     779
     Geissflue           N 47°25'11.2    E007°57'25.0     962
     Romatten            N 47°24'54.6    E007°56'49.5     793
     Burggraben          N 47°24'09.6    E007°55'27.7     791
     Burgweid            N 47°23'32.5    E007°54'23.6     802
     Froburg             N 47°23'01.6    E007°53'38.0     820
     Hauenstein          N 47°22'40.2    E007°52'21.5     674
     Challhöchi          N 47°22'09.1    E007°50'03.9     847
     Belchen             N 47°21'41.9    E007°48'30.4    1045
     Gwidemhöchi         N 47°21'36.7    E007°48'27.5     998
     Wuesthöchi          N 47°21'15.3    E007°48'12.7     966
     Allerheiligenberg   N 47°21'09.0    E007°48'51.2     880
     Asp                 N 47°20'44.5    E007°47'42.3     772
     Bärenwil            N 47°20'21.4    E007°47'19.4     778
     Schlosshöchi        N 47°19'51.6    E007°46'32.5     856
     Tiefmatt            N 47°19'32.7    E007°45'11.1     820
     Roggenflue          N 47°18'21.2    E007°43'23.9     995
     Balsthal station    N 47°18'48.5    E007°41'40.4     489
     Klus                N 47°18'27.0    E007°41'21.9     480
     Schwängimatt        N 47°17'34.1    E007°40'34.4    1000
     Hellchöpfli         N 47°16'56.9    E007°38'59.5    1232
     Hinteregg           N 47°16'41.4    E007°38'13.3    1079
     AlteBättlerchuchi   N 47°16'29.6    E007°36'05.5    1090
     Höchchrüz           N 47°16'19.4    E007°35'02.5    1050
     Hintere Hofbergli   N 47°16'16.1    E007°34'24.6    1065
     Nidw Stierenberg    N 47°16'09.7    E007°33'27.1    1158
     Oberbalmberg        N 47°15'51.0    E007°32'23.3    1058
     Hint Weissenstein   N 47°15'02.8    E007°29'02.8    1226
     Hasenmatt           N 47°14'31.7    E007°27'03.4    1441
     Stallflue           N 47°14'20.9    E007°26'06.8    1400
     Obergrenchenberg    N 47°13'55.8    E007°23'49.2    1357
     Untergrenchenberg   N 47°13'18.0    E007°22'51.1    1295
     Stierenberg         N 47°12'38.2    E007°22'06.8    1086
     Romontberg          N 47°12'06.7    E007°19'38.7    1119
     Plagne              N 47°11'16.9    E007°17'10.0     879
     Frinvillier         N 47°10'09.1    E007°15'30.4     555
     Orvin               N 47°09'38.7    E007°12'50.3     669
     Voigières           N 47°09'21.3    E007°11'12.8     975
     Prées d'Orvin       N 47°09'21.3    E007°10'27.6    1069
     Place Central       N 47°09'20.2    E007°08'13.6    1288
     Clédar Pierrefeu    N 47°09'05.5    E007°07'20.7    1293
     Colisses du Haut    N 47°08'57.5    E007°06'57.5    1325
     Chasseral           N 47°07'59.5    E007°03'35.9    1603
     Chasseral Hotel     N 47°07'38.0    E007°02'45.1    1548
     Combe Biosse        N 47°06'23.8    E007°00'08.5     994
     Le Pâquier          N 47°05'53.7    E006°59'12.2     895
     La Croix            N 47°05'46.0    E006°58'45.7     867
     Blanche Herbe       N 47°05'08.4    E006°56'12.2    1030
     Mont d'Amin         N 47°04'53.6    E006°54'14.3    1417
     Vue des Alpes       N 47°04'21.4    E006°52'13.7    1283
     Tête de Ran         N 47°03'15.3    E006°51'12.7    1422
     Pradières-Dessus    N 47°01'53.7    E006°49'35.8    1365
     Mont Racine         N 47°01'17.8    E006°48'58.1    1439
     Grande Sagneule     N 47°00'49.1    E006°48'21.5    1313
     La Tourne           N 46°59'17.2    E006°47'31.3    1129
     Les Tablettes       N 46°58'37.2    E006°47'28.7    1250
     Antenne TV          N 46°57'29.4    E006°44'01.2    1119
     Noiraigue           N 46°57'17.3    E006°43'18.5     733
     Les Oeuillons       N 46°56'45.0    E006°43'02.2    1014
     Le Soliat           N 46°55'53.1    E006°43'20.4    1463
     La Baronne          N 46°55'28.0    E006°43'19.6    1376
     Les Rochats         N 46°53'22.2    E006°40'23.2    1164
     bus stop            N 46°52'51.0    E006°38'27.1    1247
     La Combaz           N 46°52'33.3    E006°38'14.6    1223
     Les Gillardes       N 46°52'15.5    E006°36'49.1    1322
     La Cruchaude        N 46°51'29.9    E006°34'57.8    1223
     Les Illars          N 46°51'38.7    E006°33'43.5    1427
     Le Chasseron        N 46°51'06.4    E006°32'17.7    1608
     Les Avattes         N 46°50'11.0    E006°31'25.6    1458
     Les Praises         N 46°49'54.2    E006°30'25.5    1255
     Sainte Croix        N 46°49'10.2    E006°30'04.1    1066
     La Gittaz Dessous   N 46°48'26.9    E006°28'37.1    1239
     Col de l'Aiguillon  N 46°47'29.8    E006°27'57.6    1320
     Grange Neuve        N 46°46'48.3    E006°28'09.7    1356
     Chalet du Suchet    N 46°46'06.6    E006°27'53.8    1490
     La Poyette          N 46°45'41.7    E006°27'12.1    1338
     La Bessonne         N 46°44'41.1    E006°25'44.5    1090
     Ballaigues          N 46°43'47.1    E006°24'57.0     862
     Pont Suisse         N 46°43'02.9    E006°23'11.1     812
     Vallorbe Gare       N 46°42'43.8    E006°22'15.0     806
     Cafe de la source   N 46°42'11.1    E006°20'58.5     774
     Grottes de l'Orbe   N 46°41'55.4    E006°20'43.9     779
     Vallorbe la dernier N 46°42'06.6    E006°20'57.7     759
     Saigne Geret Dessus N 46°41'19.3    E006°20'36.8     942
     Les Epoisats        N 46°40'41.1    E006°20'23.2    1029
     Sagne Vuagnard      N 46°39'59.7    E006°20'12.0    1070
     Le Pont Gare        N 46°40'05.7    E006°19'28.6    1008
     Sagne Vuagnard      N 46°39'59.7    E006°20'12.0    1070
     Les Croisettes      N 46°38'24.3    E006°20'24.0    1303
     Pré de l'Haut       N 46°37'40.6    E006°20'50.3    1283
     Le Mazel            N 46°36'50.7    E006°19'43.0    1415
     Chalet du Mt Tendre N 46°35'57.2    E006°19'06.6    1614
     Mont Tendre         N 46°35'41.1    E006°18'36.1    1679
     La Pivette          N 46°35'13.8    E006°17'40.4    1540
     Grand Cunay         N 46°34'20.6    E006°16'34.0    1567
     Col du Marchairuz   N 46°33'10.0    E006°15'01.9    1446
     La Neuve            N 46°31'32.7    E006°13'03.9    1444
     PerroudedeMarchissy N 46°31'05.4    E006°12'51.7    1429
     Perroude du Vaud    N 46°30'22.3    E006°12'10.0    1381
     Le Planet           N 46°29'38.6    E006°11'50.9    1363
     Les Frasses         N 46°29'06.1    E006°11'10.7    1151
     Ruines d'Oujon      N 46°27'50.4    E006°10'57.3    1040
     RoutedelaPrangine   N 46°27'23.2    E006°09'43.8    1115
     St Cergue Gare      N 46°26'55.2    E006°09'35.9    1046
     La St-Cergue        N 46°26'41.5    E006°08'03.0    1149
     Route du Vuarne     N 46°26'14.8    E006°07'50.2    1269
     Le Vuarne           N 46°26'10.1    E006°07'09.0    1319
     Col du Vuarne       N 46°25'49.1    E006°06'38.1    1469
     Col de Porte        N 46°25'57.2    E006°06'12.9    1556
     La Dôle             N 46°25'32.2    E006°06'00.0    1676
     Chalet la Dôle      N 46°25'33.9    E006°06'27.6    1446
     Le Bauloz           N 46°24'56.3    E006°07'40.2    1137
     Bonmont             N 46°24'06.5    E006°08'45.0     605
     Borex               N 46°22'43.0    E006°10'39.0     469

Book proposal

I'd like to poll the readers of this section, is there any demand for a booklet version of these guides? Would it be useful to have a properly printed, detailed guide to the Jura ridgeway which readers can order (and pay for), and take along with them?

It would certainly be possible to take this section's content, rearrange to fit into a book, add additional content which it's difficult to make available online (more colour photographs, high resolution plots and maps, altitude profile charts and so on) and make it available for ordering through an online print-on-demand service. However, it would only be worth going to this trouble if there is an audience for it. Please, if you would be interested in such a guide, let us know by email including perhaps a rough idea of what extra information you would find useful. Similarly, if you think it's a rotten idea and you'd much rather take rough printouts of these web pages instead, also let us know - it will help with deciding whether it's a good idea or not.

More info

The official home page of this route is jura-hoehenwege.ch, although unfortunately this is only available in French and German. There is some great information in English at wanderland.ch though, including maps and altitude profiles.

This walk is described (in German) at wandersite.ch and also (again in German) at tourenguide.ch. There's also a brief description in English at Switzerland.isyours.com.

For 2008 there's also a special railaway offer including accommodation and luggage transport, and the accompanying pdf has a useful overview with height profile and short descriptions.

Other ActivityWorkshop adventures in the area include Hiking up the Weissenstein, Hiking over the Chasseral, and Hiking to the Creux du Van.