Le soliat mountain is situated in the Jura mountains and offers pretty stunning views of the surrounding area.
It is quite close to Neuchatel city, it’s summit is 1465 m so it is not as high as Alps can be, but it’s definitely a place to visit, especially in Spring time when most of all Alps summits and mountain passes are covered in deep snow.
Where to start?
We started our trip in a small city of Noiraigue which offers free parking space in the centre of town (free parking in Switzerland is more an exception than a rule, so keep that in mind and have some change all the time).
Right next to the parking spot there’s a train station and tourist information centre (picture on the left) which has huge amount of different leaflets to choose from (there was no person who is working in that centre, so you have to choose on your own).
I took a leaflet which offered 20 must do hikes in Jura and it has plenty of information about hikes you can do in the surrounding area. I knew that we had to go to the Le Soliat mountain (cliff) and simply chose the 5th route.
Right when you start, next to this building, there are direction pointers which show how much time you will need to reach any destination, for Le Soliat it was 2h 15 min 🙂
Hiking up to Le Soliat
In the beginning it was pretty easy and the elevation rise was quite mild, the weather was quite cold (around +2 degrees) and we saw frost on the meadow next to our path.
After maybe 30min of hike you reach a big farm which has plenty of animals there: bunnies, donkeys, pigs, horses, chickens and many more 😉 So we took some time to enjoy their company 🙂
And just after the farm the real fun began. As I said, the temperature was quite low at the time, and definitely the spring didn’t have much time to melt all the snow on the mountain.
Before this trip I was pretty sure that we may experience some snow at that altitude at this time of the year, but I definitely underestimated the levels of snow we will have to overcome.
The worst thing was that most of that snow on the path is so compressed that it simply became ice and the hiking with simple running shoes was quite complicated. I know I know, how could I use running shoes when hiking up the mountain, but as I knew that the hike won’t be that long, there won’t be any rocky roads and the temperature is quite comfortable, I chose to go with running shoes… and it was a huge mistake 🙂 Still, my hiking boots wouldn’t be of much help as it was very slippery and my hiking shoes doesn’t have very hard grip on the ice. The best solution there would have been snowshoes or hiking shoes crampons.
Still, we had a lot of determination to overcome this obstacle and using our hands to grip some of trees branches, we managed to get higher and higher. Interestingly enough the more up we got, the more melted the snow was, so it was quite easy to stick our shoes into the snow and get a comfortable take-off each time 🙂
So, after 1h 40 min we finally reached our destination, Le Soliat summit 🙂 The weather was fantastic up there: there was no wind at all and the sun was shining with almost zero clouds covering it. It was very peaceful and calm:)
Le Soliat mountain I think should be called Le Soliat cliff as it is shaped as one big round cliff. When you come right to the edge, it seems like it’s going to sink you in immediately 🙂
We met more people on the top and I saw just one person using snow shoes, all others made the same mistake we did, they used simple running shoes 🙂
We took some time to relax, enjoy the view and eat a little. There’s a restaurant right on the top, but I assume it is closed, because not so many people go up at this time of the year.
In the beginning I was quite afraid to go down, as it was so slippery to go up, so imagine how difficult it can be to go down, but as the sun was increasing the temperature, the snow got more and more soft, so it wasn’t that hard to go down as I expected 🙂 We met much more people going to the top as we were going down and guess what, most of them as well underestimated the levels of snow :))
As we got down to Noiraigue, the temperature was around 12 degrees, so the weather was really nice.
There’s an albergue, right next to the train station with a bar if you want to relax and spend more time there, but we decided to hit the road and have a coffee in Neuchatel 🙂
All in all
Our hike took 3h 05 min, we made 10.07 km, 683 m elevation difference from the bottom to the top 🙂
Jura mountains are maybe not as breath taking as Alps, but it’s definitely very good idea to enjoy them at this time of the year (on March). Le Soliat is on of the top spots in Jura mountains, so give it a go 🙂 The temperatures are very mild and hiking is not too complicated.
Of course, my biggest advice would be to take snow shoes despite the fact that the temperature is above 0 🙂
If you need any more information about this hiking route, please send me an email and I will try to help you 🙂
Thank you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram: @golookexplore