Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 5 St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
In our hike-through of the Trans Swiss Trail, we are on to stage 5, a 15 km stretch with an ascent of 580 m and descent of 560 m that goes from St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin. This was a really pretty spring hike through some very lovely lush green valleys. I loved seeing all the spring flowers – dandelions, buttercups, and so many more I can’t name. Just delightful!
|Where:||St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin|
Canton Bern and Canton Neuchâtel, Switzerland
|Train/Bus:||Zürich HB -> St-Imier – 1 hr 45 min|
Chézard-St-Martin -> Zürich HB – 2 hrs 8 min
|What:||Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 5 St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin|
Yellow trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
|Skill:||Medium – About 4 hrs 20- min|
Length 15 km, Ascent 580 m, Descent 560 m
|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
Stage 27 – Anzonico to Biasca
Stage 28 – Biasca to Bellinzona
Stage 29 – Bellinzona to Tesserete
Stage 30 – Tesserete to Lugano (Comano)
The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 5 starts at St-Imier and after getting to the train station, we were where we were when we left stage 4.
Instead of heading to the trail right away, we decided to take a quick detour to visit the Fromages Spielhof cheese dairy, one of the largest makers of Tête de Moine cheese. Here, we took a short tour of the cheese production facilities and watched a film about how Tête de Moine cheese is made. The film was informative, but they used the very odd narrative choice of telling the story from the point of view of the cheese. (“I started out as milk..”).
Even though they anthropomorphized the cheese and gave it a personality, I still bought some to eat later. Tête de Moine is an irresistibly delicious cheese. We also couldn’t resist posing for a novelty photo before heading out for the hike.
To get to the trail, we took a short meander through town. Quite quickly, we found our number 2 trail marker and we were on our way.
As the trail leaves town, we passed a farm with a friendly, fluffy donkey who posed for pictures like a champ. The trail then wound though a beautiful valley (Val de Ruz ) of lush green fields. Looking back, we had a great view of the radio tower(german) at the top of the Chasseral summit.
When we got to the small town of Sonvilier, we walked though the town crossing from one side of the valley to the other.
After leaving the town, we continued to hike along the valley for a short time before heading into the forest and hiking up over the ridge. In the forest, we crossed a couple of pretty streams, and enjoyed some shade during the steepest ascent of the trail.
As we neared the top of the ridge, we got a good look back at the windmills on the opposite ridge (Energy Mountain) that we had hiked by on stage 4. And as we continued hiking up the ridge, there were gorgeous views of verdant green valleys, a nice view of the Chasseral summit from a new perspective, and a very pretty glimpse of the Alps.
At the point where I took the above picture, the trail joined a road and headed down into a valley. Along the way, there were some attractive stone walls typical of this region. There was also a “wall” of pine trees (third picture below) that I liked.
As we continued, the trail led us though a limestone gorge with some rather intriguing rock formations. If you look closely, you’ll see that not all of the rocks are real. Like many narrow passes in Switzerland, this pass is fortified and in the second picture below, you can see some of the fake rocks used to camouflage a bunker door.
After a bit more hiking through forest and farms, we began our final descent to Chézard-St-Martin. We kept getting quick views though the leaves at the wide open fields of the valley. Pretty, but not easy to capture in a picture.
When we reached the town, we simply followed the trail down to the bus station and the end of the hike.
When we got to the bus station, we didn’t realize until the bus had passed, that we needed to be on the opposite side of the street to catch the 421 to Neuchâtel, Place Pury. We then had to wait another 20 minutes to catch the 422 to Neuchâtel, Place Pury.
Stage 5 was a fun hike and waiting a few extra minutes for the bus turned out ok. Looking across the street, I could see where the trail continued. As I had a bit of time and it looked so pretty, I just had to sneak a peek at the start of stage 6.
Oh! I really hope we we get to stage 6 soon – the rapeseed fields are blooming and it is so gorgeous right now!
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