An easy walk through the Suze River Gorge is very suitable for little newbie hikers. At the end of the trail, there are a bit steep stairs, but as a reward for their effort, they´ll meet interesting animals in a small ZOO and they can have fun on a big playground.
Taubenlochschlucht is located in the Jura Mountains near the town of Biel. The narrow and deep ravine is the only gorge in Europe, located near the city. The hiking trail was built here in 1889. And how did it actually get its name?
The legend says that the young miller from Bözingen loved a girl from the village of Flüglistal. The local people called the girl “The little Dove” (Dove∼Taube in German) for her beauty. On the wedding day, the knight Ingelgram attacked the wedding parade. He killed the bridegroom and wanted to seize the beautiful bride and take her to the Rondchâtel Castle. The girl, however, threw herself into the gorge not to fall into the hands of the knight. According to the witnesses, she was more likely to fly than she fell before she went out of sight. A few months later, Ingelgram’s castle was attacked and destroyed, and the knight Ingelram was killed. In the spring, the two lovers are moving in this area, and sometimes you can hear the gentle lamentation of the beautiful girl.*
How to get there
The disadvantage of hiking trails like this is that they are mostly one-way hikes. So when you drive by car, you have to hike back in the same way or use local transport for a return trip. In the case of Taubenlochslucht, this is not a problem, as there is a train (Biel / Bienne – Taubenloch; Frinvillier – Taubenloch) or a bus stop (Frinvillier – village) near both of the entrances.
We reached the village of Frinvillier and since there is no official parking lot, we left the car like most other visitors in the Rue du Canal (under the viaduct).
From the car, we followed the yellow tourist sign along the Rue du Canal. At one point, it seemed that it isn´t going any further because the street was ending here. But we had to turn right around the house, and then the trail continued on the narrow concrete path along the water canal, which was a quite adventurous.
The Taubenlochschlucht officially starts at the Restaurant des Gorges, where it took us about 10 minutes from the car park.
The trail follows the river through a forest and is lined with interesting rock formations. When you notice, you will see the mark where the water came in the flood in 1910.
Roaring meanders and small waterfalls begin in the section below the hydropower plant.
The hydropower plant
At the time of our hike, the power plant was open to the public and we got an interesting guided tour where during which we learned, for example, how much water run through, how the Kaplan turbine works (please do not ask me for explanation!), we could weigh one of its blades in our hands or we learned about the “fish stairs” (a special channel built for fish to get upstream to the higher level of the river above the power plant).
A large picnic place with several fire pits and a supply of wood are just opposite the power plant. But we saw other hikers having their picnics and making fires right by the river.
Zoo – Tierpark Biel
As I wrote in the beginning, to get to the Zoo, you must first climb dozens of steep stairs.
But then do not expect the Zoo in the true sense of the word. You will not find exotic animals such as elephants, giraffes, etc. In the forest park on Bözingenberg (there is no entrance fee) you can find, for example, marmots, chamois, wild pigs, deer, snow owl and other wild animals. Our kids liked the dwarf goats the most.
And then, of course, a playground. There is also a picnic area nearby, but during our visit, there was a fire ban.
- The hike is very easy, but I recommend wearing proper shoes.
- At the beginning of the trail, where the river is not so swift, there are places where you can get into the water and soak your feet. So I recommend taking a towel with you.
- From Frinvillier to the Zoo it takes about 30 minutes.
- The trail is not suitable for strollers