Before going on a hike read the safety information at the bottom of this page.
Geneva is surrounded by a hiker’s paradise and there are a great variety of walks you can do. There are mountains, forests, lakes and vineyards in Switzerland and neighboring France. Geneva has two mountain ranges close by; the Alpes and the lower altitude Jura Mountains. SwitzerlandMobility has an excellent website with hikes and itineraries around the country. There is also a very good navigation app you can download:
For France try: http://www.haute-savoie.info
BUGeneva normally organizes one hike during the semester. These are free and conducted by professional guides. If you want guides for your own hike see below
Suggestions around Geneva:
The closest mountain is La Saleve in France. You can get to it easily with the Number 8 to Veyrier and then the cable car www.telepherique-du-saleve.com. The Association Genevoise organize a lot of outings on La Saleve www.rando-saleve.net
Another good association with walks in Switzerland is www.randonature.ch
Saint Cergue and Le Col de la Givrine in the Jura Montains. Only an hour by train and it offers spectacular views of the lake valley from the summit.
A great walk through the vineyards near Lausanne is called the Balade dans les Vignobles de Lavaux. A UNESCO heritage site and only an hour from Geneva.
Check out the Vallon de La Laire: here some of the best Swiss wines are grown and the charming river scenery beckons. Starting point La Plaine train station. http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/interests/hiking1/hiking-suggestions/autumnal-walks/geneva-in-the-vallon-de-la-laire-where-switzerland-adjoins-france.html
Wine Road and Nature Studies Trail: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/interests/hiking1/hiking-suggestions/autumnal-walks/wine-road-and-nature-studies-trail-in-dardagny.html
Another walk that has an historical WWII connotation would be the Toblerone trail: here you can follow a trail of cement blocks that the Suisse placed in the 40′s to stall any attempted German invasion of Switzerland. www.toblerones.ch
Other suggestions in Switzerland:
The Swiss William Tell Path: the-swiss-william-tell-path
Sentiero Verzasca: the-swiss-white-water-trail
National Park Trail: The Swiss Family Trail: the-swiss-family-trail
Aletsch Panoramaweg: The Swiss Glacier Trail: -the-swiss-glacier-trail
For organised hikes and professional guides see:
www.changezdair.com Used by BUGeneva
http://www.sac-cas.ch/en/metanav/home.htmlThe Swiss Alpine Club
www.scig.ch Geneva Ski Club – also organises hikes in the Winter and Summer
www.alpinehikers.com Guided package tours for one week – American company
www.geneverando.ch Guided tours
Hiking in the mountains is enjoyable but it can also be physically demanding and dangerous. Common mistakes for walkers to make are to go out without the right clothing, equipment and provisions. To go out in bad weather. To get lost. To do hikes that are too difficult.
Look at What to Pack to see what you should wear for a hike. If you don’t have the necessaries go to Ochsner Sport on Rive High Street to get kitted out. Otherwise there is Gosport in France, they are cheaper: http://www.shopping-etrembieres.com/. For cheap hiking shoes/boots go to Dosenbach next door to McDonalds on Rive high street.
Always check the weather forecast before hiking. Do not go at altitude if bad weather is forecast.
Always have a detailed map. Don’t assume your GPS will work in the mountains. If you are planning a long – high altitude hike you should hire a professional guide. Hike in groups of three or more. Don’t hike alone!
Do itineraries that suit your ability and fitness. Most hikes are done between 600 and 2500 meters. At 2500 meters you have the Summer snow line and hiking above this height normally requires more specialized equipment and knowledge. The human body’s ability to absorb oxygen starts to reduce from 2100 meters (see: wiki/Effects_of_high_altitude_on_humans ). Hikes that involve a lot of ascending and descending are far more demanding than those which are on quite flat terrain.