Hiking with kids: the Pilouvi-Schlucht gorge and waterfalls

Pilouvi-Schlucht, a relatively unknown gorge near Neuchâtel, is ideal for family hiking. Unlike the nearby and better-known Taubenlochschlucht and Twannbachlucht gorges, the Pilouvi-Schlucht (Combe du Pilouvi in French) remains a hidden gem and relatively undiscovered in the Lake Biel area. The easy hike starts on the Diesse plateau near Prêles, then winds through the forest and follows the Rousseau de Vaux stream in a gorge, which marks the border between the cantons of Bern and Neuchâtel. In the Pilouvi-Schlucht gorge, you will discover two beautiful waterfalls, the power of which depends on the strength of the water in the river. We were lucky enough to visit the gorge after the rains. Which, on the other hand, was a big disadvantage. Why? You will find out in this article.

Getting there

The starting point is the village of Ligerz (French Gléresse) on the shores of Lake Biel. You can get here either by train (Ligerz lies on the route Biel – Neuchâtel), by car (50km northwest of Bern, parking is right next to the station) or by boat of the shipping company BSG (you can find the timetable here).

To get to the beginning of the route, you have to take the “Vinifuni” funicular to Prêles. The valley station is just across the road from the train station. The fare is governed by the SBB tariff—for an adult, a one-way ticket costs 5.60 francs (half with a Halb-Tax), and children with a Junior Card and accompanied by their parents have a free ride. The funicular runs every half hour and takes 6 minutes.

Start of the route

When you get off the cable car, it’s hard to get straight onto the trail when the La Buvette restaurant beckons you to sit down, with a terrace with a spectacular view just off the cable car exit. There’s also a children’s playground just across the road. Anyway, the route starts right at the funicular when you head along the pavement along the road in the direction of the signs for Prêles.

After about ten minutes, you will reach the center of Prêles, where the route turns left. You then walk less than 4 kilometers along a straight, wide field road.

Turn diagonally left into the forest at the Bas de la Praye signpost. And this is where the “fun” began. As I wrote in the introduction, it was after the rain. And just like the previous day, when my daughter and I went to Mont Pèlerin to see the narcissus, the road was full of mud.

To get to the gorge, at one point, you have to cross the road that leads to Lignières. Be careful with children here.

Then, you have to go down the wooden stairs, and you will find yourself at the top of the waterfalls.

Smaller waterfalls and cascades follow one after another while descending along the Rousseau de Vaux stream towards La Neuveville.

Above La Neuveville, we joined the themed trail “La Balade de la Sorcière“. This route can be found in the printed guide “Die 44 schönsten Familien Wanderungen“. Did you know that I wrote this book? Yes, I really have! I really took the time to put it together and have selected the most beautiful, family-friendly routes in Switzerland for you. So check it out!

Cascade de la combe du Pilouvi

Soon, you will reach another lovely waterfall, La Cascade. This is the place where the local witches are said to have bathed.

La Neuveville

The path between the vineyards then comfortably leads to the town of La Neuveville. You will pass through the historic center on the way to the station. According to the readers of this blog, La Neuveville is one of the 10 Swiss towns with the most beautiful historical centers.

Summary

  • The route is less than 9.5 kilometers long and is not suitable for a stroller.
  • I recommend sturdy footwear. The path is narrow and steep in the gorge, and you can expect natural and rock steps that can be slippery.
Categories: Canton Bern, gorge, hiking, The best of canton Bern, Waterfalls
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Author

Hana Hurábová

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