It’s the middle of a heat wave. Temperatures in Switzerland are slotted to hit record highs. The Swiss authorities are suggesting people keep out of the sun. And you want to go for a hike.
What’s a girl to do?
The answer: hike in the shade (and cool river air) of the Gorges de L’Areuse.
Stretching along the Areuse River just a short train ride northwest from Neuchâtel, this is where Chad and I decided to go in late June when temperatures were out of control. I’d read that it was cooler in the gorges, shady, perfect for a hot day. And, happily, that was all true.
The gorges are a little more popular than some of the other hikes we’ve done, so we passed quite a few small groups and solo hikers (or they passed us during our stops for food and photos). I wouldn’t call the trail crowded, but don’t expect to have it to yourself on a sunny summer day, either.
If the gorges are on your bucket list, here are some photos and hiking tips.
(Psst, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.)
If you’re planning to take on this hike yourself, here are the relevant details:
Hiking times and local transportation
We hiked from Noiraigue (pronounced nor-egg) to Boudry, which is about seven miles and takes about 3 – 4 hours. We took our time, had lunch on the trail, and stopped often for photos and it took us about 3.5.
The prettiest portion of the trail, by far, was when the gorge narrowed as we closed in on Boudry, so if you have limited time, choose a portion of the trail near Boudry (perhaps from Champ-du-Moulin).
The route we took was mostly on a slight downhill slope. If you prefer to walk slightly uphill, you can take the route in the opposite direction.
Transportation here is easy. We took the train from Neuchâtel to Noiraigue and followed the signs for the gorge from the train station (the signs appear just behind the train station to the right if you’re facing the station – not the tracks).
Once we arrived in Boudry, we took a tram back to Neuchâtel for ice cream and snacks before walking to the main Neuchâtel station and catching a train back to our temporary summer home near Thun.
Dogs on trails
Dogs are welcome on Swiss trails. Make sure you clean up after yours.
What to bring
Wear good hiking or trail running shoes (I like Salomon women’s speedcross) and bring plenty of water. There weren’t any fill-up fountains along the route.
Since I’m hiking with a middle-aged small dog and occasionally she’s had some knee issues, I also hike with a dog backpack. Here’s the one I’ve been trying out (and like so far).
All photos taken with my Sony a6000.