Summer walks in the Jura
The region extending between the villages of St.Cergue and St.George, including the area surrounding the village of la Cure and the Givrine mountain pass, offers many possibilities for hiking and sightseeing. Please find below suggestions of selected itineraries to enable those of you here only for a short time to see this region...
1. Visiting the Zoo de la Garenne and subsequently hiking along the Sentier des Toblerones trail between Bassins and Begnins. Allow for a full day.
Departing from the Nyon SBB train station, take bus no.820 to the village of Le Vaud. From here, walk to the Zoo de la Garenne, where in a beautiful pastoral setting you will be able to see a large variety of animals. After leaving the zoo, head in the direction of the village of Bassins (5km), and subsequently hike along the signposted “sentier des Toblerones”, a footpath that follows a fortification line resembling the Swiss triangular “toblerone” brand chocolate bars. This defensive concrete block fortification was built during the Swiss military mobilization period between 1939-1945. The 2-hour walk to the village of Begnins will take you through a contrasting mix of beautiful natural scenery that includes streams, fields, and forests. Once you reach the village of Begnins, you can either choose to take the bus back to Nyon, or to continue walking in the direction of the town of Gland.
2. St.Cergue village: Fun and games at the “Basse Ruche” leisure centre followed by hiking along the “Ballade à Béatrix” trail. Allow for a half-day.
Departing from the Nyon SBB train station, take the red-coloured Nyon – St.Cergue – Morez (NStCM) train that runs at regular intervals between Nyon and the village of la Cure in the Jura mountains, and get off in the village of St.Cergue. From the train station, walk up the Rue des Cheseaux Dessus to reach the “Basse Ruche” Leisure centre, a Jura mountain farm where both adults and children can enjoy 4 Tyrolean ropes, monster roller giant scooter descents after effortlessly reaching the hilltop with a téléphérique, archery, and swing golf. After the fun, enjoy a hike up an educational trail known as
the “ballade de Béatrix” (“Béatrice’s walk”, 1.3 km distance). It leads you from the St.Cergue village centre to Vieux Château. Marvel at the fabulous landscape and enjoy the awesome views of the region below. Moreover, the information panels along the way will make for both interesting and amusing reading.
3. St. George village: Visiting the ice cave, the limekiln, and the hydraulic water mill of the village. Allow for a lengthy half-day.
Departing from the Nyon CFF train station, take bus no.820 to the village of St.George in the Jura foothills. After getting there, walk to the best known attraction of St.George, an ice cave that is one of the most renowned in the Jura mountains. The bottom of the cave, at a depth of 22 meters, can be accessed via a number of ladders. Here you will see permanently frozen ground covering a surface area with a length of approximately 12 meters and a width exceeding 20 meters, as well as spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
After leaving the ice cave, and once you have warmed up again, proceed back to the village of St.George, and walk along the Route de Gimmel before turning right into the Chemin du Four à Chaux. Here you will see a limekiln for the calcination of limestone rock, which dates back to 1857. You will learn that subsequent to the last lime burning session, which took place in 1942, it disappeared, and was later converted into a refuse dump and left to fall apart. Following a failed attempt to bring the limekiln back to life in 1978, it was eventually restored in time for the 700th. Anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, which took place in 1991. The first new batch of lime was burned between 19-25 August 1991. Another limekiln burning session took place between Saturday 16 August and Sunday 24 August 2003, during festivities to mark the Bicentennial Anniversary of the Canton of Vaud joining the Swiss Confederation.
After leaving the limekiln, walk back to the village, head along the chemin de la Prarie and then along the chemin du Moulin to reach the Moulin de St. George, a hydraulic water mill that can be dated back as far as 1548. It is equipped with a hydraulic saw installed in 1816, and uses water from two ponds to feed the huge, 6.5meter diameter water-scooping wheel. After leaving the mill, return to the village to take bus no.820 back to Nyon.