Jura Crest Trail: an amazing long distance hike in Switzerland

Jura Crest Trail: an amazing long distance hike in Switzerland

The Jura Crest Trail is a hiking trail between Zurich and Geneva, and it takes you through the green hills of northern Switzerland. Check out this guide for tips & tricks on hiking the Jura Crest Trail.

What is the Jura Crest Trail?

If you love hiking and looking for a challenging but beautiful trail, the Jura Crest Trail in Switzerland might be for you. This long-distance hike takes you through the green north of Switzerland, offering breathtaking views, picturesque landscapes, and an unforgettable experience.

The Jura Crest Trail (also known as Route 5 or the Jura Höhenweg) is a long-distance hiking trail stretching about 320 kilometers along the edges of the Jura Mountains. The route begins in Dielsdorf, near Zurich, and ends in Nyon on Lake Geneva. The first markings were set as early as 1905, so this hiking trail is over 100 years old!

The trail takes you through varied landscapes, including dense forests, open meadows, and rugged mountain peaks. It will take you about two weeks to complete the hike.

Jura Crest Trail stages

The trail is divided into 16 stages, varying in length and difficulty. Each stage offers its own unique charm and challenges. You can choose to walk the entire route or explore only a few stages, depending on your own preference and available time. An overview of the Jura Crest Trail stages:

  • Stage 1: Dielsdorf to Brugg
    • Length: 25 kilometers
    • Duration: 7 hours
    • Where to stay: Brugg Youth Hostel – stay overnight in a castle.
  • Stage 2: Brugg to Staffelegg
    • Length: 17 kilometers
    • Duration: 4.5 to 5 hours
    • Where to stay: Herzberg, Haus für Bildung und Begegnung

  • Stage 3: Staffelegg to Hauenstein
    • Length: 20 kilometers
    • Duration: 6 hours
    • Where to stay: Neumatt Hof – stay overnight on the farm
  • Stage 4: Hauenstein to Balsthal
    • Length: 21 kilometers
    • Duration: 6.5 hours
    • Where to stay: Hotel Balsthal (3⭐)
  • Stage 5: Balsthal to Weissenstein
  • Stage 6: Weissenstein to Frinvillier
    • Length: 24 kilometers
    • Duration: 7 hours
    • Where to stay: B&B im Herzen von Biel. This B&B is located in Biel, which is 6 minutes by train from Frinvillier.
Hiking on the Jura Crest Trail
  • Stage 7: Frinvillier to Chasseral
    • Length: 17 kilometers
    • Duration: 5.5 to 6 hours
    • Where to stay: Hôtel Chasseral
  • Stage 8: Chasseral to Vue des Alpes
    • Length: 20 kilometers
    • Duration: 5.5 to 6 hours
    • Where to stay: Chez Gilles hôtel resto bar SA. This accommodation is located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, which is about 10 minutes by bus from Vue des Alpes.
  • Stage 9: Vue des Alpes to Noiraigue
  • Stage 10: Noiraigue to Les Rochats
    • Length: 13 kilometers
    • Duration: 4 to 4.5 hours
    • Where to stay: There are no accommodations in and around Les Rochats. It is therefore wise to continue walking for a few kilometers until you arrive at the road from Restaurant la Combaz. From here you can take a bus to Couvet. Here you can stay at Hôtel de l’Aigle (3⭐).
  • Stage 11: Les Rochats to Sainte-Croix
In the woods on the Jura Crest Trail
On the Jura Crest Trail, dark forests and beautiful views alternate.

The stages are arranged so that you have a bus stop or train station at almost every starting and finishing point. This allows you to easily walk just one or two stages or choose to do several stages from one place.

Of course, you are not obliged to hike the stages according to this schedule, you can shorten or lengthen as you see fit.

Hiking on the Jura Crest Trail

Practical tips for hiking the Jura Crest Trail

If you plan on hiking the Jura Crest Trail, there are a few practical things to consider:

Best time to hike the trail

The best time to hike the Jura Crest Trail is between early June and late September. Then you have the greatest chance of good weather and the snow on the higher elevations has melted. In addition, this is also the period when mountain huts and guesthouses are open along the route.

How to get to the start/end point

How to get to the start point of the route and how to get back home from the end point? That’s super easy on the Jura Crest Trail, as the public transportation in Switzerland is amazing.

Directions to Dielsdorf

Dielsdorf is easily accessible by train. From Zurich, you can take the S15 in the direction of Niederweningen. This will take you to Dielsdorf in 23 minutes. The walking trail starts on the west side of the station. By the yellow signs, look for number 5.

Route from Nyon

After 320 kilometers, the route ends at the Nyon train station. From here you can take several trains to Geneva, the ride takes about 15 minutes.

Navigating the Jura Crest Trail.

All hiking trails in Switzerland are marked with yellow signs. The Jura Crest Trail is marked with the green number 5 or the text “5-Jura-Höhenweg.” It often also says how much time it takes to walk to the end point of a stage.

Navigating the Jura Crest Trail.

If you don’t feel comfortable relying on the markers, you can also bring the Jura Crest Trail trekking guide or put the SwitzerlandMobility App on your phone and navigate with it.

Food & drinks

Almost daily, you’ll pass through villages and towns with supermarkets and restaurants. Still, it is always wise to bring an emergency supply of food & water. Many supermarkets are closed on Sundays, and restaurants are not always open either.

There is a fountain or water filling point in almost every town or village. Tap water in Switzerland is drinkable unless otherwise specified. Along the trail there are only a few filling stations here and there, so always bring enough water with you.

Bench along the Jura Crest Trail
Along the Jura Crest Trail, there are plenty of benches where you can take a break.


In the stage overview, I have designated a good place to stay overnight for each stage. Of course, if you don’t feel like sticking exactly to the stages, you can look for accommodations on your own. I myself usually use Booking.com to book my accommodations.

Do you prefer to bring your own tent and go camping? Unfortunately, there are only a few campsites along the route, and the rules regarding wild camping in Switzerland are not entirely clear. Generally, it is not allowed in national parks and protected areas. It is allowed above the tree line, but the mountains along the Jura Crest Trail are not that high.

However, if you do want to camp, at least abide by the leave-no-trace rules. Read more about camping and bivouacking in Switzerland on this page (in German).

Jura Crest Trail packing list

What to pack on your hike on the Jura Crest Trail? These are a few items that are handy to carry or put on.


  • Wear several layers. The weather can turn quickly in the mountains. I myself usually wear a sports shirt with a hiking blouse over it (the ones by Craghoppers are anti-insect and have SPF). In addition, I would suggest carrying a warm vest and a lightweight raincoat.
  • Good quality hiking socks make a world of difference. Personally, I always use socks that are made of merino wool, you can wear them several times without them getting smelly.
  • Hiking boots or trail runners. Personally, I prefer to wear shoes that are not waterproof. These tend to be lighter, airier, and dry faster when wet.

In your backpack

  • First aid kit with (blister) plasters, tweezers, paracetamol, sports tape, etc.
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito spray: there are definitely some mosquitos around.
  • Food & water: although you will pass through a town or village regularly, it is always handy to have an emergency supply of food with you. On Sundays, many stores are closed.
  • Tissues or toilet paper and hand gel in case you need to make a bathroom stop.
  • A garbage bag. Leave no trace. Ziplocks are fantastic.
Co on the Jura Crest Trail
I only carried a small bag during my day hike on the Jura Crest Trail.

What kind of backpack should you use?

One of the things you should invest in before you start hiking long-distance trails is a good hiking backpack. You use this every day on the trail, and you want it to be comfortable. The size of a backpack is indicated in liters. For a hike without camping gear, I would recommend a 30 to 40-liter backpack, if you do go camping a 50 to 65-liter backpack. These are some great backpacks for hiking a long distance trail:

Will you be camping during your hike? Then check out my Arizona Trail Gear List for a Thru Hike. For the Jura Crest Trail, I would take pretty much the same items

Learn more about the Jura Crest Trail

Are you excited in hiking this beautiful trail and would you like some more information about the Jura Crest Trail? Make sure to get this trekking guide:

Switzerland’s Jura Crest Trail (Cicerone Trekking Guides)

There are also a couple of websites where you can find more useful information about the Jura Crest Trail:

  • My Switzerland is the website of Switzerland Tourism. A great resource for vacationing in Switzerland. They describe many different hiking trails, including the Jura Crest Trail.
  • Switzerland Mobility is a great website where you can find information about all the beautiful trails in Switzerland, not only for hiking but also for cycling and canoeing, for example. For the Jura Crest Trail, they have information on each stage, including pdfs with the route and tips for accommodation.

These were all my tips for hiking the Jura Crest Trail. I hope this article is helpful to you! Do you have any further questions? Leave a message below this article.

During your hike, don’t forget to also enjoy the little moments along the way, such as the sound of rustling leaves, the sight of wildlife, and the breathtaking views of the green valleys. Happy Trails!

Read more about Switzerland

Would you like to go on a (hiking) vacation in Switzerland and want to read more about this beautiful destination? Then order one of these travel guides to get inspired.

Best Hiking in Switzerland in the Valais, Bernese Alps, the Engadine and Davos: Over 100 Hikes in the Spectacular Swiss Alps

Fodor’s Essential Switzerland

You can also read more about Switzerland on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:

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I visited Basel at the invitation of Switzerland Tourism and from there, I hiked a section of the Jura Crest Trail. I always give my honest opinion about a destination. Read more about working with me on this page. This article also contains some affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links it costs you nothing extra, but I get a small commission. This allows me to improve this website. Support Travel with Co.

Hiking the Jura Crest Trail in Switzerland

As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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