At the end of June, we wanted to go on a hike, but preferably one where we wouldn’t have to use any cable car to avoid being with other tourists in a small area. Coincidentally, a looped trail in the Jura Mountains near Solothurn peeked out at me on the Facebook pages of my “inspirational” website Wandermagazin SCHWEIZ. So we decided to give it a try.
The starting point is the Balmberg Pass, otherwise a popular local ski resort at an altitude of 1084 m a. s. l. The road to Balmberg is one of the steepest roads in Switzerland with gradients up to 25%. Before cornering, you must strain your ears and pay attention to the warning honk of the yellow Postauto bus. This winding road is not recommended for novice drivers, large, wide or long vehicles, buses, vans and trucks, caravans or trailers. However, it is ideal for motorcycles.
Parking (free of charge) is possible at the Seilpark Balmberg climbing park.
By public transport: Postauto so-called Balmberg-Line from Solothurn, line no. 40.012 to the stop Oberbalmberg, Kurhaus. The bus runs every day and all year round.
The route starts at the Kurhaus Balmberg restaurant (you can’t miss it, a multi-storey building with red shutters right next to the bus stop). Go along it on the left side and follow the narrow path up in the direction of Balmfluechöpfli.
Due to the fact that it rained heavily the day before our trip, the condition of the trail corresponded to this, which was also trampled by the hooves of grazing cows. Along the route you will also learn something about the geology of the Jura Mountains.
After about an hour of climbing, you will reach the Bamfluehchöpfli lookout, which is probably a popular destination (according to the wooden monument, the final destination) for many climbers. We shortened the route to the lookout a bit (because we saw other tourists go that way – you will find the shortcut in the picture at the end of this article. From the place there is a beautiful view not only of the whole lowland “Mitelland”, but also to the west to Lake Murten, Biel and Neuchâtel.
At the nearest signpost, you will see two routes to Weissenstein. But you go in the direction where Röti is written. It is the one that leads straight into the forest (again uphill, but the ascent is milder than before). From the large wooden cross just below the top, you will have wonderful views of the area.
Röti is also a popular place for paragliding – we spent a few tens of minutes watching these athletes.
Then we set off in the direction of Weissenstein. The route already led down a gentle hill and on the way we passed countless fireplaces where other hiking families had a picnic.
The Hotel Weissenstein’s restaurant is a popular trip destination. If you don’t want to hike there, there is also a cable car, the upper station of which is located right next to the hotel. Before heading back, you can admire the views and also visit a small botanical garden with plants from the Jura Mountains directly below the hotel terrace. A planetary trail also begins in front of the hotel. Its beginning – the model of the Sun and the signs of the zodiac on the benches around it – you will definitely not miss.
From the Hotel Weissenstein, go down the stairs and turn right at the signpost in the direction of Balmberg. The journey back to the parking lot (mostly downhill and through the forest) takes about 50 minutes.
- The route measures 8.9 km and is not suitable for strollers (but with a good all-terrain stroller you could manage the part of the Balmberg-Weissenstein-Röti route and back).
- You can find the altitude profile of the route on the Wandermagazin SCHWEIZ website.
- The abbreviation for Balmfluechöpfli can be found in the image below (marked in yellow).