9 Highlights in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
- The vantage points of the Jura heights offer spectacular views of the glaciated peaks of the Alps and Lake Geneva.
- A 523 km network of well-marked trails invites you to hike in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park.
- The Dent de Vaulion and Mont Tendre offer views of the Vallée de Joux and the Jura mountains. The panoramic view is very impressive.
- You will find several nature trails within the park, which are particularly interesting for families and can be walked in a short time.
- Well marked mountain bike trails let you explore the whole park.
- The Vallorbe stalactite caves are a popular destination.
- The park contains 30 municipalities, some of whose villages have a pretty medieval center.
- Several beautiful churches can be admired in the area of the nature park.
- The monasteries of Bonmont, Oujon and Kondat (Saint-Claude) were the main cultivators of the area from the 12th century. Their buildings can still be admired today.
You can find an overview of all nature parks in Switzerland in our article about the 20 most beautiful Swiss nature parks.
What awaits you in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
In the Jura Vaudois Nature Park, medieval towns, lonely forests, mysterious moors, craggy rocks, kilometers of dry stone walls, countless pastures and impressive views await you. In addition, there are more than 200 alpine huts in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park, which serve as tourist accommodations on the one hand, and cheese production and alpine farming on the other.
Two strong attractions of the nature park are the Lac du Joux - the largest lake in the Jura - and the Dent de Vaulion, from where you get an unrestricted view over the Lake Geneva far into the French Alps at 1482 m above sea level.
Within the park, the areas of the park are divided into
- the Vallée de Joux
- the ridge of the Jura between Col de la Givrine and Col du Mollendruz / Dent de Vaulion
- the gorges of the Orbe and the Nozon
- the massif of Mont Risoux
Villages in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
|Vallorbe||A commune at the foot of the Jura massif and famous for its stalactite caves (Vallorbe caves), the railroad museum and the Vallorbe fort.|
|Orbe||A historic town with a well-preserved medieval center and castle and a Roman mosaic floor.|
|Romainmôtier||A picturesque village with an impressive Romanesque abbey church, one of the oldest churches in Switzerland.|
|La Sarraz||A town with an imposing castle built in the 11th century and now serving as a museum.|
|Le Sentier||A commune considered the center of the Swiss watchmaking industry in the Vallée de Joux.|
|Le Brassus||A village in the Vallée de Joux known for its watchmaking tradition and high-quality watches.|
These are just a few of the villages within the Jura Vaudois Natural Park. There are many more charming villages, picturesque landscapes and hiking trails to discover. In total, 30 communes belong to the Jura Vaudois Nature Park.
Viewpoints in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
In the Jura Vaudois Nature Park, you will discover several viewpoints that offer a beautiful view of the landscape. Here are some of the most famous ones:
|La Dôle||At 1677 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest peaks in the Jura Mountains. From here you have an impressive panoramic view over the nature park and the surrounding Alps|
|Dent de Vaulion||The Dent de Vaulion is located near Vallorbe and is a prominent peak in the Jura Vaudois. From the summit there is a picturesque view of Lac de Joux and the surrounding landscape.|
|La Barillette||La Barillette is a mountain at 1528 meters above sea level with a transmission tower that offers a magnificent view of Lake Geneva and the surrounding region. There is also a restaurant and a zoo nearby|
|Mont Tendre||At 1679 m above sea level, Mont Tendre is the highest peak in the Swiss Jura. From it you have a great view of the nearby Lake Geneva. On a clear day you can see the Savoy, Valais and Bernese Alps|
These viewpoints offer very different perspectives on the beauty of the Jura Vaudois Natural Park from different directions. They are ideal to really enjoy the nature and the landscape of the region.
Churches in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
If you like to look at old churches, you will find at least five of them in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park:
|church||years of construction||speciality|
|Abbey Church of Romainmôtier||990 to 1030||Built in Romanesque style and largely unchanged to this day, it belongs to a former Benedictine monastery|
|Bonmont Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie||1131-1200||The former Cistercian abbey can be found in the commune of Chéserex|
|Church of Mollens||ca. 1798||The predecessor church was from the 12th century and burned down in 1798|
|Parish church of Saint-Nicolas in Marchissy, remodeled in the 19th century||consecrated in 1518||The lime tree next to the church is the second largest in Switzerland|
|Church of Notre-Dame de Bassins||11th c.||It stands on a hilltop above Lake Geneva|
How to best explore the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
The Jura Vaudois Nature Park has a hiking network of 523 km, which is well marked. Bike routes and bicycle paths also pass through the park. Thanks to its proximity to the densely populated coast of Lake Geneva, it is a popular destination for the people of western Switzerland.
Tours and excursions in the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
The circular hike from Le Morez to Dent de Vaulion is 5 km long and takes about two hours. In good weather, a stunning panoramic view is preprogrammed.
- Panoramic hike from St-Cergue via the summit of La Dôle (1677 m a.s.l.) to the station of La Grivine below the pass road. 15 km length, 5 hrs, 880 hm ascent.
- Lac de Joux: Circuit around the lake via Le Pont with bird watching. 22.4 km length, just under 6 hrs, 502 hm ascent
- Les Dappes - La Dole: Round trip 5.8 km long, under 3 hrs, 457 hm ascent
- Cascade du Dard - Bois de Chênes, Echilly: Loop trail near Croy VD to beautiful waterfall. 7.6 km length, 2 hrs, 200 hm ascent.
- Crêt de la Neuve: Circular trail near St-George. 10.8 km length, 3.25 hrs, 408 hm ascent.
- Mont Tendre: Round trip with bird watching. 18 km length, 5.25 hrs, 602 hm ascent.
You can find more inspiration on the website of the Jura Vaudois Nature Park. However, the site exists exclusively in French, although the many pictures fortunately speak a globally understandable language.
Some leisurely walks that are also very suitable for families
- The path of the Simeons fir (fir path): Only 1.7 km long, this secured path can be walked in 45 min and is also well suited for children. Along the way, you can learn about the rich natural heritage of the Jura Vaudois Regional Natural Park on about a dozen stelae.
- Forest Ants Trail: This trail, well suited for families, is 900 m long and is located near the visitor center at Col du Marchairuz. At 10 fun, interactive stations, children and adults learn many interesting facts about these useful animals.
- Lower Coastal Trail: The 2.2 km Bas des Côtes trail is a circular trail created by schoolchildren. It presents the diverse forest stands, different stages of development, and forest management methods. It runs through the communes of Genolier and Givrins and takes less than 2 hours to complete.
- Col du Mollendruz - Romainmôtier: From the Col du Mollendruz (1180 m a.s.l.), you will walk through typical Jura meadows. After 12 km you will arrive at Romainmôtier, a town of the Cluniac monks. You should plan about 3 hours for this easy hike.
Tours by mountain bike
A mountain bike, an e-bike or simply a bicycle is a great way to ride through the nature park. The seventh and last stage of the Route Verte leads through the Jura Vaudois Nature Park and past Lac du Joux before ending in Geneva.
MTB Tour from Le Pont to Genolier
This route also leads along the Lac de Joux. Later you ride up to the Marchairuz pass. Then you can really enjoy the long descent through the spruce forests. You follow the signposting of Schweizmobil (Jura Bike Nr.3, brown symbols).
- Length: 53 km
- Time: 4:00 to 6:00 hrs.
- Altitude: 1040↑, 1490↓
- Technique: difficult
- Condition: very difficult
MTB tour as a combination of the tours of Schweizmobil Jurasûdfuss No. 50 and Jura No. 7
With this tour, you cross the entire nature park best in three daily stages.
- Length: 125 km
- Time: 15:00 hrs. (5:00 hrs. per stage)
- Elevation gain: 2100↑, 2100↓
- Technique: medium
- Condition: medium
MTB round tour around the Dent de Vaulion
You start your tour in Vallorbe. First you go to Premier, then down to Romainmôtier. Then you go up to Vaulion. Around the Dent de Vaulion you ride back to Vallorbe.
- Length: 34 km
- Time: 4:00 to 6:00 hrs.
- Altitude gain: 1050↑, 1050↓
- Technique: difficult
- Condition: very difficult
How to get to the Jura Vaudois Nature Park
Within the park there are several train and post bus lines, which makes a car practically superfluous. But of course you can also reach the park by choosing any access road from the direction of Lake Geneva.