A very pleasant hike to the impressing limestone amphitheatre of the Creux du Van

This great hike does lead us to one of Switzerland’s most impressing geological landscapes, to the limestone cirque with sheer 200-metre high cliffs called Creux du Van.

After the nice train ride to Champ de Moulin we start on a comfortably small road along the river Areuse, which soon turns wilder and wilder, forming a gorge. We cross over a romantic stone bridge and after some stairs we decide not to continue more into this nice gorge as our rewarding goal lies higher up. So through the forest we gain more altitude and reach the well known and historic place of Ferme Robert. At this inn we can taste local specialities while listening to the story about the last bear of Switzerland, shot in 1757, and while studying the now close impressing cliffs. Refreshed and highly motivated to also leave the motorised crowd coming here for lunch, we start our more severe uphill on a good but more alpine trail. For sure the chamois and ibex, living here, feel much more light-footed than we do, but soon enough we know why we did this effort: To the right side is this abyss we can carefully approach and to the left side is a large alpine meadow with typical flowers, and on the horizon behind the chain with all the snowy Swiss Alps and the rolling hills of the Prealps. We follow for a moment the path running around the precipitous rim beside a traditional stone fence built to keep livestock as well as people a healthy distance from the cliff face, and then we head to a safer, nice view point on the pasture to have lunch in front of the great panorama. Back then on the thrilling path we continue and enjoy this special scenery until at the left end of this amphitheatre we cut a few meters across the pastures to arrive at the nice restaurant Le Soliat. In bad weather this would be the place for a fondue, but it is also a nice place to have a coffee and try the Gentian Schnaps or a traditional desert. And then it’s all quite gently downhill on varied terrain and trails across pastures and through forest until we reach the village of Travers in the even so called valley, with its long tradition of watch industry. The train will takes us for sure in time back to busy home.  


Walking time: 5h Ascent 846m, Descent 759m, ▲▲


This is for sure not a hike for people prone to vertigo! The trails are on some parts rocky, hiking boots are needed. If some would prefer to have a Fondue instead of the picnic, it is possible to split the group and meet at the restaurant. Mind that time for lunch will be in the early afternoon as by experience the stop for a snack in the Ferme Robert is also worth it, with the advantage that we avoid the main crowd of hikers and locals coming for lunch.  


90.- Fr.

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