Project Description

The Creux du Van, a huge natural, rocky amphitheater, is located on the border between the cantons of Neuchâtel and Vaud. Cliffs of 160 meters high surround a bottom valley of four kilometers long and one kilometer wide. A glacier and streams have carved this amazing rock formation into the layers of limestone deposited there nearly 200 million years ago by a primitive sea. The steep walls provide an interesting overview of geological folding of the Jura. The climate of the Creux du Van region, with its forests and arctic-alpine flora, is also unique. Unspoiled nature provides an ideal habitat for chamois, ibex, lynx and many other wild animals which are protected in a natural reserve of 25 square kilometers. At the bottom of the Creux du Van flows a source called the “Cold Fontaine”, whose temperature does not exceed 4 degrees Celsius throughout the year. Welcome to the Creux du Van, the most impressive natural amphitheatre!


This trek allows the visitor to discover the impressive rock circus of the Creux du Van, born there centuries ago because of erosion and ice. At the top, a breathtaking panoramic view!

The trailhead is Noiraigue, a village that can be reached easily from Neuchâtel by car or train, even on foot from the Areuse Gorges. Hundred meters east of the station, cross the railtracks and take the road towards Robert Farm. Directions are noticable and it is practically impossible to get lost. The trail starts right at the entrance to the forest and leads to Oeuillons for a welcome break. Rested, let’s begin the ascent of the “Fourteen Contours Path” leading to Soliat, a small farm which is ideal for a second and long break after the climb. The route runs along the edge of the Creux du Van, where grow a rich alpine flora: anemones, asters, gentians and large astrances. Wildlife too is out there and you may be lucky enough to see ibex, chamois, marmots and other birds living freely in the area.

At the end, after this natural wonder, one crosses a stone wall and continue to “La Grand’Vy” farm. Then it’s downhill towards Pré au Favre. Once down, turn left and go down the field to the entrance of the forest. A stone path leads to Robert Farm, typical farm dating from 1750 where you can also eat and drink, but it is usually very crowded. Then run along the car park and take the path towards Noiraigue. Emerging from the forest, a paved road leading to the station where this trek ends.

This is a mandatory hike for locals and even visitors from throughout the country and abroad come to admire this natural wonder! Basel has its Leckerlis, Graubünden have their dried meat and in Neuchatel, we have the Creux du Van! I highly recommend this trek to lovers of nature! Take your binoculars, you may be lucky enough to see the wild animals!