1. Enjoy the cascades
2. Try some backcountry camping
Ditch the camp grounds with its modern facilities and experience a wilder camping night.
You can go all in and attempt a bivouac night. Bivouacking means sleeping outdoors without a tent or shelter. Basically, lay your sleeping gear out under the stars and snooze. At its most basic you only need a self inflatable mat & a sleeping bag. If you are expecting a heavy dew or a drizzle, you could also use a waterproof bivi bag. A bivi bag is a large sack you climb into to provide some protection agains the elements.
If you prefer having something between you and the great outdoors when sleeping, you could build your own shelter or use a tent and still go wild. No facilities still requires you to "fend for yourself" out there. Yes, by this you should understand dig your own latrine :) We’re all human and the chances are you’ll need to relieve yourself at some point. Some rules of thumb whenever toileting (is that really a verb?):
* Stay 50m away from water and dig a 15cm hole.
* Cover the hole with earth when finished.
* Don’t bury toilet paper or wipes; these will need to be packed out with your other rubbish.
There are some authorised and marked wild camping spots in the Swiss Jura mountains above Bassins between the named places of La Pessette and Crêt de Grison. You can reach the area by hiking or driving up the Route des Montagnes in Bassins.
3. Fossil hunting
Did you know that the Jura mountains are situated at "the hearth of Europe, at the convergence of different geological domains, ecological paleoprovinces, and geographical zones? Its geology and natural environments represent a unique natural heritage, resulting from a history of more than 100 million years punctuated by faunal renewals and climatic changes."† In other words, there are tons of fossils and even dinosaur tracks to be discovered and see.
You could head off on your own equipped with a heavy hammer, chisel and safety glasses or you could join an organised fossil hunt with an expert in Lajoux or Porrentruy:
* Joseph Noirjean of Autruches Aventures (ya, you can check out ostriches too!!)
* Jurrasica Museum
4. Catch a sunrise
It's a bucket list kind of adventure you just have to do even if you are not a morning person! The trade offs are just that good. Don't forget to check out what time the sunrises and give yourself an extra 15 minutes to hike to the view point you chose. Nothing worse than getting their after the sunrise!
5. Sample the mountain pasture cheeses
Pack a picnic, minus the cheese, and head out for a hike. Make sure your route will take you by a "fruitier" or small "chalet" on your route where you can pick up cheese produced on site. If you're lucky, they may even have some dry sausage to sample too! Some of my favourite are:
* For their Gruyère, ease of access, and friendliness to show you the cheese refining room: the Fruitière de Nyon
You can drive almost to it's door if you are hiking with little legs or have someone accompanying you with reduced mobility. There are numerous hiking departure points that can take you by the Fruitière de Nyon. Start at Les Pralies above St-Cergue for a shorter, easy, uphill route there or at Les Creux des Abériaux above Arzier for a longer varied hike with chartreuse ruins, forests, and pastures.
* For some goat cheese and delicious dry sausage head to the chalet at Pré Anselme below Mont Tendre. You can start your hike down in Montrichier and make it a day hike if keep trekking to the summit of Mont Tendre and back. **EDIT summer 2018: unfortunately, no production this summer at Pré Anselme **
We'd love to be inspired by your ideas!
What else do you have on your summer bucket list? What are your favourite Jura mountain adventure ideas? Drop us a comment below.
† Jurassica.ch web portal of the Jules Thurmann Foundation,
If you live in Switzerland, there seems to be this assumption you will hit the slopes with a smile. But what if it just doesn't rock your boat? The great news is there are lots of other options for great mountain & snow experiences. So much so, you might wonder how anyone in Switzerland finds time for alpine skiing. Here are some snow activities that top our list and doesn't involve strapping on skis to swoosh down a mountain.
1. Tenacious Tape™ by Gear Aid®
2. The Deuce of Spades™ by The TentLab
3. Lifestraw Steel® by Vestergaard
4. H7R.2 Headlamp by Ledlenser®
5. Chair One by Helinox
6. Fold 4.2 Kayak by Nortik
7. Flite Tree Tent by Tentsile
What would you add to the list? Share with us below.
When your go-to rain jacket fails you, it can make for a grim & soggy hike. Not nice. Why does it even happen?
Most rain gear will have had their exterior treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. This is the gear's first line of defence against precipitation. It does this by stopping the precipitation from saturating the gear's exterior. This is different from the role of a waterproof/breathable membrane like Gore-Tex® that will stop water from penetrating a rain jacket's interior.
After some time the unavoidable happens: although your jacket still keeps you dry, it looks like it's been soaked in water. Eventually, some of that rain gets inside and your base layers start getting damp. Why does this happen?DWRs's performances reduce because of a number of factors: abrasion, repeated laundering, dirt and body oils.
What can you do about it?
You can either attempt to revitalise the garment's DWR or apply a new DWR.
Revitalise existing DWR
Follow the cleaning instructions for the type of rain gear you own. Washing away the dirt and oils may be all that's needed to restore its DWR's water repellant properties.
TIP: If your garment has stains, first pre-treat with a stain remover, then wash in the machine with a normal detergent to remove stains. Afterwards, wash it again with a technical cleaner to clear away any dirt trapped in its waterproofing layers.
2. Apply heat
After washing, exposure to heat does the most to bring a DWR back to life. Place the garment in a dryer set for low or medium heat for up to 15 minutes. Make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions before placing in the dryer.
If that's not enough to revitalise your DRW, it may be time to retreat by applying a new DWR.
Applying a new DWR
You can reapplied a DWR via a spray-on or wash-in revival product. I like Nikwax water proofing products because they are are water-based, non-flammable, contain no harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are fluorocarbon free. Whichever product you choose to use, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer of your chosen product for best results.
TIP: Clean the detergent dispenser in the washing machine before treating your garment to avoid contamination and get the best results.
Do you have other gear you need maintenance tips for? Let me know in the comments and I'll get to them in a follow up post.
What backpacking hacks have you been using and recommend?
3. Les Mélèzes de Balavaud
250 old larches looking ablaze in the pasture above Nendaz, Valais (Isérables). It's in mid-October that the golden color is the most intense.
* TIP: Head out mid-afternoon to view the larches in the warm afternoon sun that accentuates their colour.
4. Le sentier des Châtaignes
Between forest and the vineyards, hiking the Sentier des Châtaignes between Bursins & Luins lets you enjoy the coloured foliage, heavy grapes before the harvest, and golden colours reflecting on the lake.
* TIP: Pack an autumn picnic and enjoy it at the covered Refuge du Devens.
What's your favourite autumn hike?
Chief Outdoor Enthusiast
Welcome to the blog where I share strategies, tricks and tips on how to make adventuring in the outdoors part of your Swiss experience