Photo: Looking over Wettingen from the western end of the ridge.
Along one of the last impressive sections of the Jura mountains in the north east.
The latest Jura Red, I have been getting through these a bit slowly (not helped by the fact they have added more). But this was at least the last red to the east of my home, and there is only 1 left in the German speaking region (never mind that most of them are to the west and in the French speaking area).
Ohrwurm: A bit of the old Gaslight Anthem.
Route: Dielsdorf – Regensberg – Hochwacht – Burghorn – Baden. I basically just followed Stage 1 of the Jura Crest Trail only diverging in the last section to stay on the red route along the ridge.
Length: 13km, +610m, -660m.
Season: Year round if there isn’t snow/ice.
Arrival/Departure: Train to Dielsdorf / Train from Baden.
Supplies: Restaurants and shops can be found at the start and end, there is the restaurant Hochwacht Lägern on the ridge, but otherwise nothing else along the ridge.
Alternate routes/shortcuts: You can skip the first first 2km and 200m of height gain by taking the bus to Regensberg from Dielsdorf station, but the approach on foot to Regensberg is worth the effort. Stage 1 of the Jura Crest Trail actually carries on another 11km to Brugg (presumably to hurry you across the lower areas to rejoin the ridgeline), but it just seems to be a long section of fairly mundane gravel roads through the forest, so I decided to skip that.
Exposure/Hazards: The path follows the rocky top of the ridge which takes some care to avoid tripping. Much of the route is in the forest so there is plenty of shade.
This was a beautifully clear sunny day with fantastic views of the Alps. I was surprised by how quiet it was on such a nice Saturday. I passed a few people but was mostly alone. The staff at the Hochwacht Lägern restaurant also seemed to be surprised to have 5 of them attending as many groups of diners.
Notes along the route
I Forgot how giant Zürich station is. I am used to just having a choice of a few little supermarkets and one place for coffee. Not a giant shopping centre filled with ‘exotic’ foods.
I hadn’t expected anything from Dielsdorf but for it to be a modern commuter town. I does actually have a nice little historical core of timbered houses which the footpath takes you through.
Regensberg was the big surprise of the day for me. I saw that it must have an historic core from the map, but was still surprised how beautiful it was (it appears with reason on some most beautiful villages in Switzerland lists). A seemingly perfect old village with a castle sat on a prominent bit of hill. Curiously it was almost deserted and untouched for such a nice place so close to Zürich. There is a hotel and cafe, but hardly anyone was around.
From Regensberg it was a long slow climb on gravel road through the forest. Pleasant enough but very forgettable. This section is also close to Zürich airport so there was often the rumble of planes in the air.
First real lookout point at Hochwacht. Stopped for a bit of cake in the restaurant there.
After Hochwacht the path entered the red section which goes along the (often narrow) very top of the ridge. The path certainly deserves the red status; it is very stony and uneven requiring quite a bit of attention to avoid tripping.
The path was often in the forest with frequent views to the south, and a few glimpses of the flatter land to the north and off to the Black Forest in Germany.
I stayed on the ridgeline when the Jura Crest Trail detoured off. This comes with a sign warning that only sure-footed experienced hikers without a fear of heights should attempt it. I didn’t find it bad at all, only a bit worse than the path had been anyway. With a warning like that I had expected to be clinging on to a cliff face and fearing for my life.
Dropped into Baden and caught the train home. I only visited Baden for the first time back in April, but wasn’t left with the best impression being that it was a wet Friday morning. Arriving on a sunny lively Saturday afternoon via the wooden bridge over the river was a much better experience.