Switzerland is well known for its beautiful mountains and unmissable touristic places. But aside of Grindelwald, St-Moritz, Lucerne or Montreux, the country is full of less-know but nonetheless amazing locations. “Les Gorges de l’Areuse” is definitely one of them!
Gorges de l’Areuse – not your typical walk
Visiting this place is nothing more than a walk along the gorges of a river. Well… a very nice walk, I’ll give you that. The Areuse is a small river streaming down from the mountain chain called the Jura. During millenaires, the river dug a deep trench in the mountain creating a unique narrow gorge, filled with luxuriant vegetation.
I don’t know if it is due the picturesque landscape, the omnipresent humidity or the noise of the water streaming through the rocks(probably a mix of the three) but this place has a very unique and enchanting atmosphere.
Considering that you are taking a round trip Champ-du-Moulin → Noiraigue → Champ-du-Moulin, the highlight of the hike is at about 2/3 of the way. You will find yourself crossing a wonderful stone arch bridge.
The Gorges de l’Areuse is very nice to visit on a warm summer day as the deep gorge, streaming water and surrounding forest bring a nice fresh breeze. However, hiking down the river on a warm autumn day has a very particular flair.
How to reach the Gorges de L’areuse
There are several itineraries to reach the gorges, which you can either walk up or down.
No matter the way you are going for, you can either hike the entire way between Noiraigue and Boudry – where the river joins the lake of Neuchatel – or, you can decide to opt for a shorter version using the small train station of Champ-du-Moulin.
The way between Noiraigue and Champ-du-Moulin is a nice 1.5 hours-ish hike (1 hour if you take out the “awe moments”) with the nicest part of the gorges. You will get to see the cute arch bridge without spending half a day in the forest. In our opinion, this is the best solution and the easiest is to start the hike is Noiraigue.
Noiraigue can easily be reached by train from Neuchâtel. If you are travelling by car, you can park in Champ-du-Moulin. To this extend, follow the “Gorges de l’Areuse signs” which will take you on a very small road that leading to the train station. Trains are joining the two trains stations every half an hour or so but it is best to have a look at the train schedule first. If you prefer, you can also park in Noiraigue and take the train at the end of your hike.
Once in Noiraigue, head in direction of the lake. You can simply follow the signs. The nice part of the gorges will start after about a kilometer.