We finally got around to visiting Creux-du-Van, which my husband has had on his list for awhile. It’s quite a drive from Zürich, but I thought it was worth it. As you can see in the above photo, Creux-du-Van is impressive natural rock formation, with a 4 km long half circle of sheer cliffs dropping off from rolling meadows.
There is a trail along the entire structure, which obviously can be dangerous with children. I had vertigo when we first got there and was in a panic about my kids getting too close to the edge, even though they were being very careful and following my precise directions. Luckily, there is a stone wall surrounding the entire area, so children and timid adults can safely walk near the cliffs with some protection. Behind the cliffs, there’s plenty of room to run about and find a good picnic spot. Near the car park, there is a restaurant and playground.
I thought it was an exciting outing and I’d recommend going. But be very very very cautious with children, especially small children that don’t follow instructions.
|Car:||~2hr30min||Trail:||under 30 min||Restaurant:||yes|
|Train:||not easy||Stroller:||possible||Grill:||in wild|
There is a surprising lack of good information on how to get to this place. We only had vague directions and had to stop at TI to find our way. So you get to benefit from our leg work 🙂
So… drive to Travers in the Kanton Jura of Switzerland, then follow signs to Le Soliat, which is a little farm right next to the Creux-du-Van cliffs. This took us about 2hr30mins. There is another possibly shorter route that goes further down Lake Neuchâtel, turning into the hills at Saint Aubin, but we didn’t take that way so I can’t recommend it.
After you leave Travers, the last 20 mins of the drive is on a wide curvy single lane road, but it’s well maintained and has lots of areas to pass. The road ends at Le Soliat, where there is a big car park next to the farm/restaurant with a car park. This is where you start the trail.
There is a small play area at the restaurant, but I recommend hurrying along and using this as a reward for good hikers. To start the hike, simply walk straight out into this field and in a couple minutes, you’ll hit a stone wall. You can’t miss it.
This stone wall surrounds the entire cliff area, good for keeping out cows and children.
Ta-da! You see this amazing view as soon as you hop over the wall. The photo is nice, but it doesn’t capture how impressive this really is.
The cliffs are super steep and people love to stand right on the edge, taking pics. This made me very nervous. I made my kids hold my hands the whole time. We started walking on the trail that goes right along the cliff edge. It’s not particularly dangerous; it’s quite wide with room to steer clear of the edge (as shown above right). But all the same, with children, I was not comfortable. Needless to say, this trail was not stroller friendly.
However, since the stone wall surrounds the entire area, you can have children walk on one side of the wall and adults on the other and still practically walk together. The trail on the meadow side is possible with a stroller. There are openings in the wall every few minutes in case you need to cross over. My husband and I took turns, trading off who walked with the kids and who walked near the cliff.
On the non-cliff side, there are also interesting rock formations on which our kids loved to climb.
There are plenty of photo ops that don’t require getting super close to the edge. In this photo, our kids were at least 20 or so meters from the edge.
After leaving the cliffs, the trail continues into the forest. Although there were no official “Feuerstelle” there were lots of make-shift grill pits along the trail. We found it a little difficult to find dry wood, but we managed a big enough fire for a few cervelat and marshmallows.
When you’ve had your fill, retrace your steps back to the restaurant. We didn’t eat there but the place was hopping, most people with just drinks, not food. The menu was limited with mostly fondue and cold plates.