Col de Marchairuz
Between 1000m and 1680m,
Mostly easy, medium climb
This page describes the fifteenth day of the Jura ridgeway walk, from Le Pont by Lac de Joux over Mont Tendre to Col de Marchairuz. Highlight of today is definitely Mont Tendre and the stunning views over Lac Léman.
There are regular trains and buses to Le Pont, either from Vallorbe or from Le Day. Col de Marchairuz has a bus stop but the bus service is extremely infrequent, if it's running at all.
There's one obvious choice here - the hotel directly on the route at the Col de Marchairuz. The website is French only at hotel-marchairuz.ch. A bed in the small, very sparsely-furnished, 6-bunk dorm room costs CHF 40 including bread-and-jam breakfast, service is friendly and the restaurant serves good food.
Lakeside at Le Pont
View down to Le Pont and the two lakes
Towards the summit of Mont Tendre
Panorama from the summit of Mont Tendre including Lac Léman
Le Pont - Sagne Vuagnard - Les Croisettes - Pré de l'Haut - Le Mazel - Chalet du Mont Tendre - Mont Tendre - La Pivette - Grand Cunay - Col de Marchairuz
From the train station at Le Pont, retrace your steps from the previous day back to Sagne Vuagnard, following the Jura signs back along the shore of Lac de Joux, taking the side road up to the left marked only with a yellow diamond, following the yellow markers up the path and returning to the signpost on the lane.
Here, the path to the right is marked as an "alternative route to Dent de Vaulion", but it's really the way to Mont Tendre. Follow the path across the fields, between the cows, gaining height and looping round to the right. The path follows a lane and tracks up through the woods, crossing a major road and taking a lane signposted for the Buvette Les Croisettes. We never quite get to the Buvette but follow the lane anyway, enjoying the views rightwards down to Lac de Joux and Le Pont. In a couple of places the path takes a shortcut across the corners but meets the lane again, eventually leaving on a track to the left and emerging on another lane. Here the grassy path seems to depart upwards towards the trees, but the faint yellow markings lead back to the lane and on to Les Croisettes.
Here a level track forks to the left, shortly reaching Pré de l'Haut. Then the route bears right, following a track climbing steadily towards the southwest. As we pass Le Mazel, the path forks left and we can now see the grassy summit of Mont Tendre. Passing between even more cows, the paths makes a left-right switchback to gain height, and begin to get the Höhenweg feeling again as the views over rolling forests open up behind and to the right.
At Chalet du Mont Tendre (closed on Mondays) the track finally reaches the ridgetop and gives the first southward views over Lac de Neuchâtel and Lac Léman to (weather permitting) the distant Alps. It also shows the pyramid marker on the summit of Mont Tendre ahead. From here it's just a straight, steady, panorama-rich climb up to the bare summit and the highest point of the Swiss Jura! And the views make the climb very worthwhile.
Looking ahead from the summit, you can see a prominent, sharp peak a long way in the distance. This is our next big peak, La Dôle, although it looks a long way away now... Once you've soaked in the views though, follow the path ahead, which shortly drops down the right side of the slope, giving views just rightwards over forested France, shortly reaching Chalet de Yens (although no building in sight).
The track continues to descend to La Pivette, before climbing through the woods to Cabane du Cunay. After dropping into a dip and climbing back up again, the path forks left to the red-roofed cow shed, marked as Grand Cunay. From here there are more great southward panoramas over the lakes, although La Dôle still looks far away!
After leaving the ridgetop panoramas behind, it's a gentle, straight, half-hour stroll along the woodland paths to the Col de Marchairuz, emerging by the road opposite the hotel. The path goes straight ahead past the hotel's front door.
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.
Latitude Longitude Altitude(m) 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
To view this hike in Google Earth or Google Maps, see the Kmz file for the whole Jura Ridgeway on the main Jura page.
The next section on this hike continues from Col de Marchairuz to St Cergue.