One of my favourite walks this year was in the Gorges de l’Areuse in the Jura mountains, above Neuchâtel. We decided that we wanted to do a proper, long hike in an autumn forest and we chose well. The forests in this part of the country are stupidly picturesque in autumn and the route, beginning in Noiraigue and ending in Boudry, didn’t disappoint.
We drove up to Noiraigue and left the car at the train station, next to the beginning of the yellow-signposted hiking path we’d chosen. Tracing the route of the river eastward, the path is easy to follow and not really challenging at all: sloping gently downhill for most of the route, with a couple of winding sections high above some rocky sections of the gorge. Much of the river simply passes through the forest, reminding me of the landscape near Dunkeld in Scotland.
Other sections have carved their way through the landscape, forming spectacular chasms and beautiful smooth rocks. The path winds up and down on these sections and the walker is afforded some pretty wonderful spectacles: a steep, almost ladder-like stairway to get down to the bridge in the main photo accompanying this blog post, and a vertiginous view down into very deep but very narrow chasms.
The route is around 12km from beginning to end, but it’s a relatively easy walk if you take your time. There are the usual yellow “sentier de promenade” (hiking route) markers to guide you: keep your eyes open for the signposts or painted yellow diamonds and follow them to guide you along the main route.
Follow the river until you pass under the railway viaduct and reach the small weir at Boudry. From here, turn left and walk up the unfortunately steep hill past the vineyard, until you reach the small train station at Boudry. From here, you can catch a local train for the 20 minute ride back to Noiraigue, changing at Auvernier.