Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 1 Porrentruy to St-Ursanne

After a couple of weeks of spring-like weather, we decided we wanted to challenge ourselves with another long-distance through-hike. This time we are tackling the 488 kilometer, 32 Stage Trans Swiss Trail (Route 2). This trail completely crosses Switzerland starting near the French border, crossing through the German speaking areas, and ending near the Italian border. I am excited to see each of the different regions up close. A hike-through of this trail will probably take a couple years to complete, but every long hike starts with one step. And, happily we took that first step and completed stage 1.

Detail Summary
Where:Porrentruy to St-Ursanne
Canton Jura, Switzerland
Train/Bus:Zürich HB -> Porrentruy – 2 hrs 16 min
St-Ursanne -> Zürich HB – 2 hrs 7 min
What:Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 1 Porrentruy to St-Ursanne
Yellow trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
Skill:Medium – About 4 hrs 45 min
Length 17 km, Ascent 600 m, Descent 600 m

Additional Info

Photo Stories for Other Stages
Stage 1 – Porrentruy to St-Ursanne
Stage 2 – St-Ursanne to Soubey
Stage 3 – Soubey to Saignelégier
Stage 4 – Saignelégier to St-Imier
Stage 5 – St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
Stage 6 – Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel
Stage 7 – Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 8 – Murten to Laupen
Stage 9 – Laupen to Bern
Stage 10 – Bern to Worb
Stage 11 – Worb to Lützelflüh
Stage 12 – Lützelflüh to Langnau i.E.
Stage 13 – Langnau i.E. to Eggiwil
Stage 14 – Eggiwil to Schangnau
Stage 15 – Schangnau to Sörenberg
Stage 16 – Sörenberg to Giswil
Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Stage18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Stage 19 – Stans to Seelisberg
Stage 20 – Seelisberg to Erstfeld
Stage 21 – Erstfeld to Wassen
Stage 22 – Wassen to Andermatt
Stage 23 – Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo
Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 25 – Airolo to Osco
Stage 26 – Osco to Anzonico

Getting There

The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. The first stage starts right near the French border in the small town of Porrentruy. As the trail starts right at the train station, after getting off the train, we very quickly found our trail marker (Trail number 2) and were on our way.

The Trail – Porrentruy

The first 1.5 kilometers of the trail took us through the cute town of Porrentruy where we admired the castle tower, charming architecture, cobbled streets and colorful statues.

Nothing was open because of Coronavirus, so we did not get the full experience, but it looked very interesting, and perhaps we will go back sometime when we can explore it more fully.

The Trail – Along the Forest and through Fields

The next 3.5 kilometer or so took us out of Porrentruy. Here the trail skirted along the forest and went through wide open fields providing expansive views.

The Trail – Up and Over the Ridge

When we left the fields behind and entered the forest, we began the climb to the top of the ridge. The trees here were an interesting mix of deciduous and evergreen. I was surprised by how many birds we could hear singing. It was a lovely sound to accompany our hike. After hiking up the ridge for about a kilometer, we came to a clearing.

We stopped for a bit to admire the view, and then pressed on continuing through the forest another kilometer or so to the top of the ridge. When we crested the ridge, it was somewhat underwhelming but the view improved as we turned left and walked along the top of the ridge.

After one last open view, we entered the forest again and began the decent into the valley on the other side. When we exited the forest, we could see the small village of Seleute just below us.

After a relatively steep but short hike down through the field, we reached the village.

The village is tiny – just a few homes and barns. But we did pass by a very cute restaurant, the Auberge de la Fontaine (French and German). It wasn’t open when we went by (Coronavirus), but in case I do this hike again, I want to keep a note of it.

The Trail – From Seleute to St-Ursanne

The section from Seleute to St-Ursanne was, in my opinion, the prettiest part of the trail. After a short hike through some fields and then through a wooded ravine, the view opened up again.

The trail ahead, crossed a long wide open field. When we got to the middle of the field, we stopped to look back and appreciate the view. We did not linger long. If you look at the top of the field along the right edge of the second picture you can see why. This is the time of year farmers spread natural fertilizer (manure) on the fields, and well, it stinks. Really stinks. A lot.

Approximately 3 kilometers after leaving Seleute, we began the final decent into St-Ursanne. In the trail overview on Swiss Mobility, this town was described as a bijou, and it absolutely is a little jewel of a town. We were totally charmed by its beautifully preserved medieval character. The town gate, the cobblestone streets, the pastel houses, and the fountains, were all so pretty. Like Porrentruy at the beginning of the hike, everything was closed because of Coronavirus. Although there was small table outside one of the shops with cheese for sale, and we, of course, could not resist buying some.

I am hoping to get to stage 2 sooner rather than later, so it is unlikely that things will be much changed by then. Alas. Someday…

Getting Back

To get back home, we left the center of town and walked another 15 minutes up a cobblestone street to the train station just above the town.

Stage 1 was a great start and a really enjoyable hike though an area of Switzerland we haven’t spent much time in. Can’t wait for stage 2!

———— Next Stage >>>>

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