If you are looking for a location in Switzerland offering great nature and a interesting hiking options away from the main attractions like the Jungfraujoch or Matterhorn, the Creux du Van is worth a look.
Created during the last ice age, the Creux is one of the hidden gems you probably don't hear with all the noise about the main attractions. This geological highlight is located in the Suisse Jura near Neuchatel, Taking the car it is a 10 minutes walk from the parking lot to the rim. Alternatively you can choose between two train stations from which you can either start a half or a full day hike.
The half day walk is a round trip from Noiraigue climbs 700 meters to the rim. The full day hike starts in Boudry, follows the gorges de l'Areuse and in Noiraigue joins the path you take for the half day walk.
The Gorges de l'Areuse
The Areuse is the main stream filling the lake Neuchatel and passes through the Jura. Besides the Creux, the resulting gorge is one of the most impressing nature attractions in the Jura. Carving its way through the rocks it sometimes flows peacefully while at other locations the roaring of the water gives an impression of the forces at work. 17 bridges and several viewing platforms allow you to fully enjoy this spectacle. With the mossy stones and trees, the whole scenery is covered in a green light. While in the narrow parts of the gorge you see fallen trees trapped between the walls.
Walking up the gorge one can already spot the rocky cirque watching over the area. This attraction shaped like an amphitheater is located at the heart of a nature reservation area of 15.5 km². With the amphitheater facing east you have a wonderful view towards lake Neuchatel. If you are up there early in the morning or after the rain, the rising fog fills the valleys and only allows the tip of the hills to show through. The mystic atmosphere makes you easily forget how close you are to civilization.
In short: We like the area as it provides a unique experience while offering several options to start your exploration. Should you encounter bad weather, or not liking the idea of walking 8 hours straight you have the following options to explore the scenery.
- Do the walking in two days and stay a night in Noiraigue or in the located in the gorge
- Simply drive to the best spots (the creux and Champ du moulin) by car
- Skip the gorge and ride the bike up to the creux.
- Enjoy the other attractions you are passing by when driving to Noiraigue.
- Taste the legendary Absinth
- Visit the local museums or the asphalt mines
- Starting point: Boudry
- End Point: Noiraigue
- Distance: about 25 kms
- Ascend: 270m from Boudry to Noigaigue, 700m to the Creux
- Walking time: 7 to 8 hours