When I neared the top of the Jura I walked through part of the forest where the smell of pines was strong. I usually associate that smell with hikes further afield and at higher altitudes. It was nice to find it so close to home. To do this walk you can set off from Nyon Train station and follow the signs with the number 5 for the Chemin des Crêtes Du Jura.
If you do this hike the right way you would start in St Cergue and walk down. I did it the other way. The first part of the walk takes you across farm roads surrounded by fields on both sides. This part of the walk is easy because it has a gentle gradient. It’s when you get to the top of Cheserex that you start to climb from the foot of the Jura upwards.
The path was overgrown, requiring me to squirrel my way through plants and move branches out of the way. The first part is not so well maintained. The signs are also harder to find. There are dozens of routes and I was induced in to taking the wrong path once or twice, taking the path for the La Barillette bike race rather than the walking trail.
I saw some forestry people at work cutting down trees by the road so I had the sound of chainsaws and falling trees as I walked up. I followed the road for a bit in the hope of finding the right trail once again and when I did I started to head straight up.
Ants, in this forest, are busy. I saw them crossing the path in a number of locations and I saw several large anthills. One of them was almost as tall as I am but much wider. I was surprised to see so much activity. The forest might be healthy.
The trees in this part of the forest are tall with most of the branches near the top to catch as much light as possible. This part of the walk is definitely worth seeing.
You need to cross the main road near the top and go up two or three more bends before you get to the clearing in the image above. From this you get your first up-close view of La Dôle. From here the walk breaks out of the trees and you start to get a good view of the rock face.
When I went past the farm I saw calves with their mother so I walked up and looked across to see if I could walk without passing between the mothers and their calves. As I could not I decided to pass by the col to the right of La Dole and walk down from there to St Cergue. I crossed two or three more fields with cows and walked by a passage where Jean Jaques Rousseau walked in the 1770s.
The route was about 23-25km depending on the GPS and took about 5 and a half hours. I only stopped long enough to get water out of my bag or take pictures. I also lost a little time trying to find the route. I would recommend this as a convenient hike within easy reach of Geneva and Lausanne.