Hiking trail in Switzerland's Jaun Pass, Alps

Alps Hiking at Jaun Pass

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After 2 months in Switzerland, we took our first foray into the Swiss Alps with a hiking trip to Jaun Pass in the canton of Bern. It was high time to find some mountains that we’ve so far only seen from afar. Every day from our house in Fribourg, we see the stark outline of the pre-Alps tantalizing us in the distance. Unfortunately we’ve been so busy trying to find a place to live and take care of the myriad details of an international relocation, we feel like we’ve lost our entire summer. Normally we’d spend it hiking, camping, and kayaking.

Don’t feel too sorry for us. We are in Switzerland, after all.

We still haven’t bought a car, so we owe our wheels for the day to our incredibly generous neighbors, Carlos and Nicole. The very first week we met them, they insisted we take an extra key to one of their cars. While we’ve been reluctant to accept such kindness (and responsibility – I do have a bit of a lead foot), we’ve used it to go grocery shopping and to take all three of our critters to the vet.

Having the car available to us Saturday meant ultimate freedom with easy access to some of the most picturesque mountains in Europe. We packed a picnic lunch for the day, threw on our hiking boots, and made for the hills.

Hello, hiking boots!

Considering we had zero plans beyond “hiking in the Alps,” we just pointed the car toward the mountains.

After about an hour of driving and climbing through fun hairpin curves, we stopped at a place called Jaun Pass that looked promising.

It did not disappoint!

Parking area for hiking at Jaun Pass, Switzerland
It’s possible to access the hiking trails at Jaun Pass by public transportation, but it’s easier by car.

Map of Jaun Pass Hiking Route

Open the interactive map below for more info.

Amenities at the Jaun Pass Trailhead

The starting point of our hike has a designated trailhead with ample parking.

Plus it has the cleanest public trailhead bathroom you’ll likely see in your life. Even the exterior design is simply adorable.

We’re more accustomed to pit toilets or just plain having to “pop a squat,” as Trav says, so this was a nice change.

Free public bathroom for hiking at Jaun Pass in Switzerland
This has to be Switzerland’s cleanest and cutest public trailhead bathroom.

Jaun Pass Hiking Trail

From the parking area, you’ll set off on the trail, which is actually more of a road. It’s narrow, but paved.

Eventually it becomes a gravel road, then a grassy path, and finally a cow trail.

Hiking trail at Jaun Pass in the Swiss Alps
Switzerland is truly a place like no other – so peaceful, clean, and beautiful that it’s a bit surreal.

If you have any doubt about which way to go, signs on the trail won’t bolster your confidence.

Go right on the Wanderweg.

No. Go LEFT on the Wanderweg!

Hiking Tip: Make sure you have a good map before setting out.

Hiking with our dog in Switzerland
Did we mention the trails are super Fido friendly? If you love hiking with your dog, like we do, bring ’em along!
Pre-Alps while hiking at Jaun Pass in Switzerland
For folks who aren’t looking for a super strenuous alpine hike, Jaun Pass is a great option. 
Views of the Swiss Alps from Jaun Pass hiking trail
Benches along the trail offer places to stop for lunch. Or just find a spot, any spot, to sit and enjoy the views.
Sell Art Online

You’ll likely only really need a few hours to hike this entire route, but don’t rush it. Bring a picnic lunch and allow enough time to just sit and enjoy the views.

We stayed until nearly dusk. As the sun finally stared to sink, we headed back down the mountain.

This is always my favorite time of day, when the mountains are almost “other-worldly” in the early evening light. During our hike, the mountains were truly glorious, with evenings clouds settling in for the night on the highest peaks, as if to keep them warm like perfectly fitted hats.

Sun setting in the Swiss Alps at Jaun Pass
The early evening sun is blinding as it lights up the grass, still vibrantly green in mid September.

Our last sight along the trail was a beautiful curly-haired cow, helping himself to an early evening snack.

We’re so in love with Switzerland.

He was the perfect ending to our day hiking at Jaun Pass, our first of many trips to the Swiss Alps.

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