An indescribably beautiful train journey from Glovelier to La-Chaux-de-Fonds through the wide landscape of the Jura. With the hiking opportunities, this trip makes a great day trip from Basel, Neuchâtel or Geneva. by Marc Gottwald

Chemin de Fer du Jura

On a cold December morning we head to the Jura. To be more precise, to Glovelier, which we can reach by taking the S-Bahn from Basel. An icy tide is blowing towards us. Luckily the red train is already in front of us. One might think it would be the RhB or the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. But it is not. It is the Chemin de Fer du Jura, whose name probably few Swiss people have ever heard of.

A carriage for us

On this Sunday morning, it seems, people would rather sleep in than embark on an adventure. That ends in a huge luxury. An entire train car belongs to us alone. The train soon sets off and sets course for Combe-Tabeillon, where the lure driver changes the driver’s cab due to the change of direction. Now we gain altitude relatively quickly and soon come to the idyllic Jura plains. A picturesque picture with the interplay between fog and sun. What a beautiful panoramic ride! Since some of the carriages are still old, you can look out the window. Here, however, great caution is required against objects near the tracks and it is better to avoid them.

Lightly populated Jura

The Jura region is very sparsely populated. Overall, the area of the Jura region, which is a low mountain range, takes up 10% of the country, but the population makes up significantly less. The many karst areas in the Jura, for example, simply make profitable agriculture too difficult, which is why the region is characterized above all by forest and pasture farming. If you look closely, you can often see depressions in the ground, so-called sinkholes. Here the surface water disappears in the underground natural channel system.

Hiking tips

There are also highly recommended hiking routes along the line, where it is worth getting off the train and enjoying nature. If you get off the train at Saignelégier, you can discover the unique pine forests on a tour of the lake around the Etang-de-la-Gruère. It is even more beautiful when these trees are covered with snow. We continue to La-Chaux-de-Fonds and take the 371 bus, which in summer goes straight to the Doubs to Biaufond, in winter brings people close (get off at La Choux-Derrière, anc. Collège, then 45 minutes walk through an impressive gorge). Another great option is to hike to Lac de Moron and on to Saut du Doubs. However, the Saut du Doubs is very crowded in summer (from the end of May) when the boats are sailing. A day trip that is guaranteed to be worthwhile for everyone.