Autumn Family Hikes around Geneva and beyond!
Fall may just be the best time of the year for family hiking! Not too warm, and nature treats us with its gorgeous colors! In the article on Family Hikes, I had already summed up some of our favorite hikes, and here are some more…
1. A Chapel on a Hill, Vesancy, Ain, France
The lovely little ‘Chapelle de Rianmont’ on a hill with a view is at the starting point of a hike through fields that will give you nice views on the colored trees of the Jura in Autumn, and on Lac Léman with the Jet d’Eau and the Alps on the other side.
The chapel is often open so you will be able to take a peek inside. After visiting the chapel you continue your walk a bit upwards until you arrive at a sort of mountain plateau where you can just walk through the fields. We have never done a round loop hike here so basically, we just walk as long as we like and walk the same way back.
Tip! You can combine this easy walk with a visit to the weekly market in Divonne-les-Bains on Sundays, as it is really close by. That way, you can buy some products fresh from the market to enjoy your lunch later on. The market in Divonne is held every Sunday from 8:00 until 14:00.
How to get there: When you arrive in Vesancy, which is between Gex and Divonne, continue on the main road and pass the city hall and Vesancy castle, turn left before exiting the town on the road called ‘rue de la Chapelle’, you will then see wooden signs indicating the way to the chapel and a parking lot.
2. A walk through the vineyards in the Geneva country side
Of course, hiking in the Lavaux area between Lausanne and Vevey is a well-known and beautiful area to hike around in. But if you want to stay a bit closer to Geneva and see the beautiful vineyards in the fall time with all their colors, then a walk in Geneva’s country side is nice!
An example of a walk through the countryside could be in the Mandement, which consists of the towns of Satigny, Dardagny and Russin. I usually start from the main road in Satigny (route du Mandement) and walk along the road in the direction of Meyrin. Then, I follow the signs that lead you uphill to Bourdigny, take a left and the road will lead you through the vineyards and along beautiful houses. You can then continue up to the town of Choully, or onwards and upwards to the town called Peissy. You can also reach Satigny by train and start your walk from the train station. Please note: this is not a car free hike like in a forrest, but up hill there are less cars.
Tip! There are some places where you can buy your apples directly from the farmer, like for instance at Domaine des Perrières in Peissy.
Another tip 😊: combine this walk with the Fete de la Saint-Martin celebrated in Peissy every year in November. The date for 2021 is not yet known.
3. Cascades du Hérisson, Jura, France, driving time from Geneva about 1h45
A bit further away, but Autumn and Spring are the best times of the year for a visit to this beautiful place, because of the colors of the trees, but of course also because there is more water for the waterfalls than in summer, which will make them more spectacular. This year was of course a particularly warm Summer, so there will still be a bit less water than usually at this time of the year.
The starting point of the classical hike is at the parking of the ‘Maison des Cascades’, which is a small museum where you can learn about the waterfalls and the Jura mountains (not open in autumn, but a good starting point).
The hike will take you 3 hours (approximately 7 km’s) back and forth. The 7 (!) waterfalls are gorgeous! The walk leads you from waterfall to waterfall alongside the small Hérisson river. Wear good shoes! The highest waterfalls you will see are: l’Eventail (65 meters high), le Grand Saut (60 meters high), le Saut Girard (35 meters high).
More information, including a map: https://www.juralacs.com/fr/cascade-du-herisson
Tip: what is really good is that in case you would not do this hike in autumn, but in summer, the Maison des cascades even lends you a baby carrier! Hurray for family friendly places like this!
4. Les Rousses and Lake Lamoura, Jura
The area of Les Rousses and of course the Jura in general offers plenty of hiking possibilities. We chose to explore the surroundings of the Lac Lamoura. Now, at first sight we thought the lake was a bit small… But on the other side of the lake a sign leads you up in the woods to a viewpoint, so we extended our round loop by going up and walking around in the Jura itself, and then down again to finish our walk around the lake. If you go up to the viewpoint (which doesn’t show you the entire lake, but still a viewpoint), wear good shoes as it can get a bit slippery and muddy after rain fall.
The lake is a nice place with younger children, as there is a playground, a picnic table, and the wooden walking path along the lake is nice. I would however combine this with other things in the area, and not just come for only the lake. And there are other nice things around.
Tip: we had lunch in Les Rousses which was nice. All the restaurants serve typical mountain style foods and the Restaurant ‘Le Refuge’ looked good. In Les Rousses there is also a cheese shop selling French cheeses from the area.
Another Tip: did you know there is an arctic museum with an ice-skating rink close to Les Rousses? You could combine this with a hike in the Jura. The ‘Espace des Mondes Polaires’ is in close-by Prémanon. More information: www.espacedesmondespolaires.org. Check out the opening hours on their website.
If you drive up the Jura via the Col de la Faucille towards Les Rousses, you will be amazed by the beautiful autumn colors in the Jura in this time of the year. At several spots you can park the car and walk through the forrest. We love the Jura!
5. Moléson-sur-Gruyères, Canton Fribourg
Driving distance from Geneva by car: approximately 1h45 mins
Moléson was already mentioned on the ‘Family hikes around Geneva’ article but it is one of our favorite places, and the reason I still put it on the autumn list is also because the bobsleigh will still be open until the end of October (always check their website for latest info: https://www.moleson.ch/), so there is still some time to combine a mountain hike with some nice thrills for the kids and finish the day in the relaxing Bains de la Gruyère. http://www.bainsdelagruyere.ch/
6. Gorges de l’Areuse, Canton Neuchatel
Driving distance from Geneva: 1h30 mins
The Gorges de l’Areuse hike in the Canton Neuchatel is particularly beautiful in autumn! The hike leads you through a forest, and through a gorge alongside the Areuse river. This hike starts at the Noiraigue train station in the Val-de-Travers region. The most remarkable sight on this hike is the old stone bridge ‘Pont de Brot’ which is located between Noirague and Champ-du-Moulin (about 1 hour hiking for this part of the Gorges de l’Areuse). In Champ-du-Moulin you will find a cute buvette for some refreshments. If you are motivated to do the entire hike, you could continue all the way to Boudry (less than 3 hours in total), and take the train back to Noiraigue. From Champ-du-Moulin, a train will also take you back to Noiraigue in only 4 minutes. During this hike you will sometimes have views on the famous Creux-du-Van mountain cliff.
If you are looking for other things to do in the Val-de-Travers region, or Neuchatel, check out our article on this area with plenty of local museums or fun activities: Neuchatel.
To check out the previous Family Hikes article: