Not sure what to do this weekend? If the forecast is looking favorable why not take yourself out for a seven (gulp) hour trek in the Jura?
The 5th stage of the Jura Crest Trail (there ware 15 stages in total) from Balsthal – Weissenstein covering 18km and roughly seven hours of trekking (including a few stops along the way), is a scenic way to fully engage in a day long hike. With rolling hills, steady climbs (1250m gained throughout the hike) and on a clear day, the Alps in the distance, this journey is ideal for those residing in Basel, as the train ride to Balsthal (the start of the trek) is a mere 56 minute ride. Can’t beat the proximity!
The walk is suitable for bikers, hikers and climbers, though I would not recommend this trail for families with young children, as it is far too long, and not at all stroller friendly.
The only disappointment the trail offered was the three massive power line towers (transmission towers) that we stumbled across on the way to our final destination. The towers seemed to be clustered together in a particular area, so essentially, once they were passed, they were out of sight and out of mind. Though, I have to admit they did kill the nature joy just a wee bit upon first sight.
A bonus about this trip was the cost. For Swiss standards, it was a relatively inexpensive journey. The first leg from Basel to Balsthal cost 11chf, the bus from Weissenstein to Oberdorf was 7chf and the train from Oberdorf to Basel was another 15ch with the half tax (if you reside in Switzerland and do not have this amazing travel card, run out to the train station and register now).
There were a few restaurants along the way to eat and fill–up your water bottle, however, during this particular time of the year; all of the mountain retreats were closed. Packing plenty of water would have been helpful in this case (but one grows accustom to all the water typically available in Switzerland, yes, even on hikes), but thanks to one watering trough towards the end of the route, we were able to quench our thirst and fill our bottles. It is advisable to bring plenty of food and water, as the restaurants along the route are closed until the end of May. Enjoy!
To learn more about the trail and other incredible hiking opportunities in Switzerland, please visit: