This lovely walk through the Areuse gorge takes you through forests and meadows along the river, with several narrow sections with dramatic cliff walls. It’s a long hike at 11km, but mostly downhill and not difficult. We saw many families with toddlers walking on their own. Even though it’s a popular hike, you can easily separate yourself from the crowds and with many peaceful picnic spots along the way. Also, it’s a good option for the shoulder seasons when mountain trails are covered in snow and mountain transport is closed. We heard this is a great spot for fall colors, so maybe we’ll come back in October.
|Address:||Boudry, Neuchâtel, Switzerland|
|Car:||~2hr from Zurich|
|Train:||~2hr from Zurich HB|
|Trail:||11.5 km one way, about 3 hours|
|Condition:||dirt and paved|
|Open:||March through November|
The hike from Noiraigue to Boudry is just over 11km, following the Areuse river as shown on the map below. The trail is mostly easy terrain, with dirt and gravel paths, some stairs, some narrow sections with guardrails, and some paved roads. The trail is suitable for families with small children, but not suitable for strollers.
This is a one way trail, downhill from Noiraigue to Boudry. You can park in either place and use the train to shuttle yourself to the top or bottom of the trail. We parked at the Boudry CFF station (only a few parking spots, not metered), took the train to Noiraigue, runs once an hour, 25 mins travel time, with one change in Auvernier. Check SBB for current schedule.
If you only want to do half the trail, you can take the train to Champs du Moulin. The classic bridge is up-river from this halfway point. For a short peek at the gorge, you could park at the bottom of the gorge, at Usine du Chanet, and walk a couple km up the river and back. This bottom section is probably the most impressive so it would still be worth your time even if you didn’t want to hike the whole trail.
From the Noiraigue train station, follow yellow trail signs to Gorges de l’Areuse and Boudry. Throughout the trail, look for the yellow diamond hiking symbols, which indicate where the hiking path diverges from the road and bike path. It’s easy to follow.
The trail starts on a paved path along the river and gradually descends into the gorge.
We passed a few picnic areas along the way.
As the gorge narrowed, the path became more rustic.
Stairs lead to the famous bridge in the middle of the trail.
A cafe in the middle of the trail, near Champs du Moulin.
We had our picnic here on the river bank rocks.
Nice view from our picnic spot.
A waterfall along the trail.
The trail leaves the gorge at Boudry. It’s a short walk uphill to the train station.
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