It was the Ascension Day public holiday last week, and what other better activity than to go on and enjoy the great outdoors? Vince and I had invited my friend Elitsa to join us for a hike at Creux du Van, an impressive rocky cirque in the canton of Neuchâtel, also known as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland!
Hike at Creux du Van: Information
We took a 1.5 hour train ride from Lausanne to Noiraigue. From there, it’s a hilly 2.5 hour uphill hike up through the forest to the top.
- Altitude: 1,462 m
- Elevation Gain: 730 m
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Time for the Circuit: 4 to 5 hours
- Round-trip: 12.4 km
The way up was very rocky and steep, and the descent was even tougher with loose rocks, I’d almost lost my footing a couple of times! Considering that it was Elitsa’s first hike in Switzerland, I’d felt bad initially to put her through such a challenging trail. However all the sweat and effort paid off once we reached the top. There were also plenty of retired people and kids on the same trail as us. So while it’s not the easiest hike, it’s definitely doable as long as you are reasonably fit and go with a steady pair of hiking shoes.
However, if you’re short on time or simply prefer the lazier way, you can travel by car and park at the Le Soliat restaurant (you will find it on Google Maps). Then, take a 250 m walk to the cliff overlook.
It was a clear sunny afternoon, and the view at the top was just simply stunning! On the north side, you get an impressive view of the rocky cliffs. And on the south side, you get to see the Alps in their full glory.
For an even more amazing (and scary) feast for the eyes, take a slow walk around the cliff. However, as the footpath runs at the VERY EDGE, it can be especially dangerous for young children or people with vertigo. So be extra careful!
Alternatively, there is another safer path surrounded with dry-stone wall a few meters away from the edge.
Hiking through any Swiss mountains in general has always been a delightful sensory experience for me. You get a whiff of the pungent cattle smell in the air…and the mountain flowers are a beautiful explosion of yellow. You can even hear the low mooing cows and their cowbells ringing merrily in the distance. You’d never want to leave the place!
I had picked up some video-editing skills during my stayhome period, and here’s the end product showing more snippets from our hike at Creux du Van! Happy with my first ever video, definitely more to come! I find visual story-telling more impactful 🙂