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,
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