After 2 months in Switzerland, we decided it was high time to find some mountains that we’ve so far only seen from afar. Every day from our house, we see the stark outline of the pre-Alps tantalizing us in the distance but have 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.
So when Saturday brought yet another weekend of superbly perfect blue skies and white, puffy clouds, we eschewed car shopping to take off for the mountains. Thanks to our incredibly generous neighbors, Carlos & Nicole, we had wheels for the day. The very first week we met them, they insisted we take an extra key to one of their cars, and while we’ve been reluctant to accept such kindness (and responsibility – I do have a bit of a lead foot), we have used it to go grocery shopping and to take all 3 of our vermin to the vet while Carlos & Nicole are on vacation. Having the car available to us Saturday meant ultimate freedom! We packed a picnic lunch for the day, threw on our hiking boots (hello, hiking boots!), and made for the hills.
Considering we had zero plan beyond “hiking in the Alps”, we just pointed the car toward the mountains and after about an hour of driving and climbing through fun hairpin curves, we stopped at a place along Jaun Pass that looked promising. It was clearly a designated trail head with ample parking, though the parking lot was mostly empty, and it had the cleanest public trail head bathroom I’ve ever seen in my life. The interior was nicer than our house back in Oregon, and the exterior design was 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. We could get used to this!
We set off on the first trail we found, which turned out to be more of a road: first a narrow paved road, then a gravel road, then a grassy road, and finally a cow trail. Though not a death defying hike, we enjoyed our first truly panoramic views of the mountains and little villages dotting the hillsides.
We finally headed back down as the sun started to sink. This is always my favorite time of day, when the mountains are almost “other-worldly” in the early evening light.
If we had any doubt about finding our way back to the trailhead, helpful signs like these bolstered our confidence.
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.
Our last sight along the trail was this beautiful little fellow, helping himself to an early evening snack. He was the perfect ending to a memorable day hiking in the Swiss Alps.
- Parking at the trailhead is free.
- The trailhead gives you access to a network of trails that extends for miles in all directions. Once you’re there, you can easily choose your own route.
- Open the interactive map below for more precise information.