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Hiking recommendations around Solothurn

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Posts: 29
Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 10, 2020 - 5:25 AM

Hi,

My wife & I will be staying in Solothurn for 8 nights, we do love hiking less crowded trails so I am hoping for some advice on some hidden gems in this region. If anyone could provide any info on trails within 1 to 2 hours train ride away it would be greatly appreciated. so far we have decided to walk the devils gorge from Hagendorf & on to Olten, & in the other direction we will do so hiking around St Ursanne. Any further inspiration would be wonderful. Thanks.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8758 posts
expert
Feb 10, 2020 - 7:02 AM in reply to Tone

Hi Tone and welcome to MySwissAlps,

Have a look at the Areuse Gorge near Boudry. See www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/a-week-almost-in-neuchtel-october-2019.

Steph
Steph
2190 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 10, 2020 - 11:47 AM in reply to Tone

Hello Tone,

Nice to hear you're coming to do some hiking in the area of Solothurn. To be honest, I can't provide any personal input as I have never really done any hiking in that region, but your question and the outcome of my research below might change this soon. :)
- www.solothurn-city.ch/en/discover-solothurn/sport-relaxation/hiking-in-solothurn
- www.outdooractive.com/en/hiking-trails/solothurn/hiking-trails-in-solothurn/1453824/
- www.bergfex.com/sommer/solothurn-und-region/touren/wandern/

Also make sure to read below general links about hiking in Switzerland.
- www.myswissalps.com/hiking

Should you be traveling by public transport I also recommend the following two pages to become familiar with using it when in Switzerland:
- www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/howtotravel
- www.myswissalps.com/timetable

Best,
Steph

Last modified on Feb 10, 2020 - 11:47 AM by Steph
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 10, 2020 - 11:24 PM in reply to Tone

See what this website can do for you:

This one is a topo:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=en&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo.pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.swisstopo.swisstlm3d-wanderwege&zoom=7&E=2606235.72&N=1228639.82

To understand color coding of trails, one you zoom out, look here:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en/hiking-in-switzerland/more-wl/hiking-trail-network-and-signalization.html

Yellow-coded trails do not need special hiking gear, but are better with boots and a hiking staff.

That does not mean they are easy. The Swiss don't seem to notice steep sections.

The topo will help you sort out trails.

The Emmental is close by. This may interest you:

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/langnau-in-may/page/2

Slowpoke

1960man
1960man
2542 posts
top member
Feb 11, 2020 - 1:05 AM in reply to Tone

Congratulations on choosing a place closer to the Swiss Jura - the perfect medium high mountain walking region.

Remember that Switzerland is a small country, and add to that that Solothurn is on one of the high speed routes built as part of Switzerland's Rail 2000 programme. Hiking 'locally' to the Solothurn 'area' (ie the northern half of Switzerland is therefore likely to involve much closer than 2 hours journey away. If your day trip limit is 1 -2 hours then you could actually hike in many places in Switzerland from a base at Solothurn.

Bear in mind that the most westerly point in Switzerland is less than 2 hours train ride from Solothurn, and Zurich is less than 1 hour away.

Properly local to Solothurn there is a lovely bucolic Dünnern river valley between Balsthal and Welschenrohr. Take the Solothurn Moutier local railway to Gänsbrunnen - walk to Balsthal and get the train back to Solothurn. A curiosity at Gänsbrunnen is that the German / French language border virtually disects the station platform. The north end of the platform carrying the German station name is centimetres away from French - speaking territory!

Solothurn's local mountain peak is Weissenstein:

www.google.com/maps/place/Weissenstein/@47.2524948,7.4755096,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4791d9baacc1a8a5:0x36761b3429bec256!8m2!3d47.2524948!4d7.5105286

Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 11, 2020 - 4:43 AM

Thank you to all you kind people for taking the time to reply to my post, I have read all your info with great interest & it's certainly given us more reason to get excited about our upcoming trip. It looks like we will have plenty of choices for forest, river, gorge & mountain hikes within easy striking distance from Solothurn. We are staying in several other locations for similar amounts of time so that we can get to know places (& hopefully local people) better. We have decided the STP will be best for us for value & convenience. Any further insights are always very welcome.

Steph
Steph
2190 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 11, 2020 - 9:42 AM in reply to Tone

Hello Tone,

Nice to hear that the input you're receiving here pushes your excitement..! :)

As you don't mention the other locations where you'll be based I recommend using the "hiking" link in my first answer to search for recommendations per area.

For detailed input about the Swiss Travel Pass check all tabs of below link (don't miss the pdf map on the "Where it's valid" tab).
- www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass

Best,
Steph

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 11, 2020 - 10:32 AM in reply to Tone

Hi Tone -

I mad a mistake in my earlier post where is aid :

"See what this website can do for you:"."

I was rushing while cutting and pasting.

The link should be:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en/wanderland/wanderland.html

Slowpoke

Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 12, 2020 - 5:24 AM

Sorry Steph, I didn't mention our other bases as I didn't want to overload you with seeking info, however, we will also be basing ourselves in Kandersteg, Thun & Le Chable. I know Kandersteg & Thun are pretty close together but are such different places & seem to offer so many hiking & day trip options that we feel we need to stay in both to do them justice. Any suggestions for little known hikes around Le Chable would be very welcome.

Thanks for the link Slowpoke, looks great & offers so many possibilities. Switzerland does look so very well set up for hikers.

1960man
1960man
2542 posts
top member
Feb 13, 2020 - 12:13 AM in reply to Tone

Are you really sure you want to split between Thun and Kandersteg? It is only 39 minutes by train between the two. I would stay in Kandersteg and visit Thun and other places from there, but it's your choice obviously.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 3:05 AM in reply to Tone

<<"Thanks for the link Slowpoke, looks great & offers so many

possibilities. Switzerland does look so very well set up for hikers.">>

Yep.

May I ask,what is your level of experience in mountain hiking, or hiking in general?

Can you use topographic maps?

Slowpoke

Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2020 - 5:46 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi 1960man,

We have looked quite closely at Thun & Kandersteg, both look wonderful & it seems there is an incredible number of day trips & hikes possible from both places in all directions. As we will be spending quite a bit of time in this region it's more about a change of scenery than anything else but I do appreciate what you mean about the distance between them.

Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2020 - 6:07 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Not really sure how to class our level of hiking but we will do most trails up to about 7 hours over most terrain including mountains, we recently did about 500 km's of hiking in NZ over a period of 5 weeks so if that gives you some sort of indicator. As for maps, I must admit I have rarely used topo maps, certainly would say we are not experts at hiking, we just know what we are capable of. Very much appreciate you asking.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 2:32 PM in reply to Tone

Hi Tone -

Trekking in New Zealand was something that we admired from a distance when we were there many years ago. Even did just a tiny bit of the Tongariro Crossing the wrong way. Went up and came down northwest side from the parking lot to the hut and back. Did see a volcanic vent, but there was a lot of fog and clouds, and we even missed the trail for a few minutes. One sign was misplaced. For sure, Switzerland is quite a contrast, with well- marked Wanderwege.

Good to here about your level of experience. When I talk about walking in Switzerland with friends from the USA, I start with the statement that "Walking is a legitimate form of public transportation in Switzerland." It takes them a moment, then they figure out what I'm talking about. ;-)

Then I go on to "A level trail in Switzerland may go up and down at angles up to 30 degrees from hrizontal," and note that the hiking times on the Wanderweg signs are correct for me only on the less hilly trails, therefore, the Swiss walk up and down hills at the same rate as on level ground.

You obviously don't need those warnings. ;-)

To be serious, the tools that I linked earlier may be useful for helping you match what you are capable of to the topography, as you note. That is my reason for asking:

<<"As for maps, I must admit I have rarely used topo maps, certainly would

say we are not experts at hiking, we just know what we are capable of.

Very much appreciate you asking.">>

The Switzerland Mobility site offers a level of detail on selected "main" trails, such as the National Routes that includes height profiles, accommodation, and interesting sights along the way.

The trails with information are the ones marked with heavy green lines and often numbered on this map:

map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en&land=wanderland&route=all&layers=Wanderland&photos=yes&bgLayer=pk&logo=yes&season=summer&resolution=100&E=2612050&N=1224600

Click on any green line and a a menu opens on the left, with relevant statistics.

www.schweizmobil.ch/en/hiking-in-switzerland/routes/route/etappe-0866.html

Click on more, and you get a detailed map and a height profile:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en/hiking-in-switzerland/routes/route/etappe-0866.html

I know your request was for "less crowded trails" and perhaps these trails are not empty of fellow hikers, but they are selected for good views, features of special interest, or historical significance, such as the Via Jacobi ( The Way of St. James), an ancient pilgrimage route.

On the Swisstopo online map, the color codings are useful to the degree that the blue marked trails require technical climbing. Not many of those near Solothurn, but, of course, they are plentiful in the Bernese Oberland:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=en&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo.pixelkarte-farbe&catalogNodes=1392,1538,1396,1430,1436&layers=ch.swisstopo.swisstlm3d-wanderwege&E=2618424.99&N=1149818.58&zoom=5

Red trails need good boots and hiking staffs, but I suspect that you don't take even an easy hike without them. I don't The topos are available on a smartphone app, and, of course, paper maps.

If I hike in difficult terrain, due to age and arthritic knees, I have to pick my trails carefully, and will choose between trails to the destination so that I avoid the most extreme climbs and especially descents, as well as trails with significant exposure. The topos are useful for that. I still carry paper topos on those hikes, now rare for me. Due to the excellent wireless phone coverage across the country, my Swiss friends just use the smartphone app.

www.swisstopo.admin.ch/en/home.html

shop.swisstopo.admin.ch/en/products/maps/SwissMapMobile_Abo

shop.swisstopo.admin.ch/en/products/maps

The best known books about hiking in the Alps are by Kev Reynolds.

There are various editions and variations.

Do a search for "Walking in the Alps."

By the way. we all forgot to ask when you are traveling. Time of year matters for Alpine hikes, as you know. Hiker density varies by month, as do trail conditions at higher altitudes.

I hope you can find the less crowded trail that you seek. Local tourist offices are abundant and usually have someone knowledgeable about nearby trails.

Slowpoke

Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2020 - 6:10 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Thank you so very much for the amazing amount of info & advice, I really do appreciate it. Finding those links very useful. We will certainly be keeping an eye on the weather as to what trails will be open or not. Thanks also for recommendations on books, I think you should consider writing a book yourself, sounds like you have accumulated a heap of knowledge & insight.

Tone

Last modified on Feb 14, 2020 - 6:49 AM by Tone
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 1:32 PM in reply to Tone

Thanks for the compliment. However, my information is too disjointed and fragmentary, and I don't have time to write a book, even if I wanted to.

The summary would be:

Switzerland offers a lot of useful information to help travelers. Use these websites:

and list the websites.

Here are some pictures that I like. (Images follow)

Full stop.

Luckily, My Swiss Alps has already done a much netter job than I could. ;-)

Speaking of books:

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

A few links are obsolete, but it is still a good resource.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 4:58 PM in reply to Tone

<<"less crowded trails">>

Here is one that meets that standard, and has two very important aspects of a hike in Switzerland, even though much of it is on paved roads, with little traffic. An easy walk, unless the descent/climbs near Sumiswald are an issue. They are about 140 and 40 meters, down into the valley and back up out of it, respectively, on good surfaces.

Specifically, the two important criteria it meets are -

1.- it starts and ends at a good place to eat, accessible by public transport, and,

2.- it has nice views of the Alps.

This one is about 7 km long, with a bit of elevation change at the Sumiswald end. It runs between the Schaukäserei ( show dairy) at Affoltern im Emmental and the Landgasthof Bären in Sumiswald.

emmentaler-schaukaeserei.ch/en/

www.baeren-sumiswald.ch/index.php?id=53

Either end of the trail is about 1 hour from Solothurn by public transport, and that transport starts out on the same hourly train at xx17, with variations as the ride continues. The bus stop at the dairy is Affoltern, Dorf. At Sumiswald, you can get off at the end of the rail line ( Sumiswald-Grünen Bahnhof) and walk up the hill to the Bären, or take a bus from the Bahnhof that stops at Sumiswald, Post, a hundred meters or so from the Bären.

The attached map ( marked up on a screen grab from SwissTopo) shows the trail (marked with red dots), and marks the points where the three "on-trail" photographs were taken. The blue letters represent Farm, Balloon,and the Panorama including Trachselwald.

If Maggie happens to pick up this thread, she'll recognize it as the one we discussed a couple of years ago.

In addition to the map and three photos, I have added a couple more from the Schaukäserei and nearby locations or other parts of the Emmental.

The Emmental itself is full of pleasant trails.

Traditionally, it was a place for family hiking, inn-to-inn, but a lot of the inns have succumbed to economics, in no small part caused by wider availability of automobiles and Bed and Breakfast accommodations. There are enough left to make pleasant hikes to/from. Most are not crowded.

www.emmental.ch/en/experience/hiking/

www.komoot.com/guide/22475/hiking-in-emmental

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7229 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 4:59 PM in reply to Slowpoke

"better" not "netter.' ;-(

Peterli
Peterli
934 posts
top member
Feb 15, 2020 - 5:26 AM

You might find this book (photo of cover attached) helpful. I use my copy from time to time, the last time this past October to learn about the Weissenstein, just a few kilometres N of Soleure (Solothurn) (see attached map). Here is a google translation (French to English) of a description of the book. The Massif du Jura begins near Chambéry in France and then stretches in an arc to stop at the gates of Zurich. The Swiss Jura represents around 20% of the area of Switzerland. This volume focuses on the Swiss part of the Jura, from Lake Geneva to Zurich. This practical guide offers 50 routes of different levels ranging from simple hikes on perfectly marked paths to excursions for hikers with sure feet in excellent physical condition. Many color maps, a precise route for each hike, as well as advice on places to visit, accommodation and the possibility of combining the different routes will allow hikers to explore the diversity of this region.

Last modified on Feb 15, 2020 - 5:38 AM by Peterli
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Tone
Tone
10 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2020 - 5:06 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks once again Slowpoke for some more great information, really appreciating you valuable insights. Had been thinking about the Emmental region but now you have convinced me to add it to our itinerary, & quite easily accessible from both Solothurn & Thun.

Thun justifiably gets mentioned quite a bit on this & other Swiss travel related web sights but it really surprises me that Solothurn seems to rarely rate a mention as it looks amazing & is such a good base for the region.

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