Ascend a peak, hike through alpine meadows, explore a forest? You decide! Thanks to over 65 000 kilometres of waymarked trails, virtually every corner of Switzerland is waiting to be discovered. The paths are well marked and as varied as the scenery – in fact, they quickly become an end in themselves.
Jura Crest Trail
The Jura Crest Trail is Switzerland’s gentle long-distance hike. It links Zurich and Lake Geneva in a sweeping arc. Over 15 days, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in Switzerland passes through the unique Jura landscape, with its distinctive barrenness and vast expanse. Alongside highlights such as the natural rock arena of Creux du Van, the Jura Crest Trail provides hikers with fantastic views of the distant Alps and traditional hospitality along the way.
The Jura Crest Trail is the oldest long-distance hike in Switzerland. Signposting on the route – starting at Zurich and ending just before Geneva – began as early as 1905. It is a long-distance hike that links two major Swiss towns, and as the name suggests, leads over the heights of the Swiss Jura. This makes a sweeping arc towards the northwest, so those hiking this trail goes a little round the bend – and over the linguistic border.
The route has a particular appeal, as it’s always easy to keep track of. Later, it offers far-ranging views of the Alps, Black Forest and the Vosges. Along the way, hikers encounter craggy cliffs and deep ravines, springs and lakes with no visible outlets, tranquil forests and extensive meadows as well as all manner of flora and fauna. Similarities aside, many regional differences are waiting to be discovered: different styles of house and village, or cuisines with distinctive tastes. The many mountain restaurants and métairies are ideal for sampling local specialties.
The Alpine Passes Trail
The Alpine Passes Trail is Switzerland’s challenging and wild long-distance hike. It takes an incredible 34 days to hike from Chur through the southern Alps to Lake Geneva. The spectacular mountain trail takes hikers over 32 passes. Those who love pristine mountain landscapes, remote valleys, a backdrop of 4,000m peaks and cozy accommodation in mountain huts will not be disappointed on the Alpine Passes Trail.
Hiking overpasses is a special discipline all of its own, with its own devotees. It is not just mountaineers looking for spectacular summit views or the satisfaction of conquering the mountain, but hikers that are driven by curiosity who wind their way up the Furggen or Bocchette passes. Because every pass holds the secret of the unknown on the other side. What’s on the map is not enough; the aim is to discover a new world with each valley – and to leave the old one behind.
The Alpine Passes Trail strings together many of the most beautiful and impressive passes in the Graubunden and Valais Alps into one continuous route. The result is a challenging but fascinating Alpine hiking tour with 34 stages. Hikers encounter one highlight after another, as the trail crosses over high plateaus and passes and alongside lakes at the foot of the Dents du Midi.
It is unlikely that you will be able to cover all stages in one go, but it can be hiked in sections. One major advantage of hiking the passes is the opportunity of leaving or joining the route in any valley between two passes. And once you’ve hiked the entire route, you can claim that you’ve looked deep into the soul of the Graubunden and Valais mountain landscape.
Info and Photos via Switzerland Tourism at My Switzerland.com