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Hike – Ridge hopping in the Jura from Waldenburg to Mümliswil

    Chellenchöpfli. Looking into Limmerntal and the first two chains of the Jura.

    Photo: View from Chellenchöpfli. Looking into Limmerntal and the first two chains of the Jura.

    A very scenic route. Almost always on a ridge with views over the Jura, a fantastic panorama of the Alps, and of the German Black Forest and French Vosges.

    I choose this to tick off another Jura Red, but it was well worth doing regardless (the red was actually one of the least interesting parts).

    Key Information

    Route: Waldenburg – Waldweid – Hinderi Egg – Vogelberg – Limmerntal – Mümliswil.

    Length: 15km, +884m, -853m.

    Date: 2021-November-19.

    Waldenburg Mümliswil hike

    Practical Information

    Season: Spring to Autumn. This could be done in winter but only if the ridges are free of snow and ice.

    Arrival/Departure: Bus to ‘Waldenburg, Revue Thommen’ / Bus from ‘Mümliswil, Bank’.

    Supplies: Shops and restaurants at the start and end, a few restaurants along the route.

    Alternate routes/shortcuts: Vogelberg can be skipped with a direct descent into Limmerntal, or the cable car at Wasserfallen provides an easy way down towards Basel. For anyone coming from Basel the Wasserfallen Rundweg would also be a good way to see the area. Going in the other direction from Waldenburg to the Belchenflue and Tüfelsschlucht is also a fantastic route.

    Exposure/Hazards: The ridge sections are quite rocky/rooty, something which requires a bit of care in the Jura where any moisture makes them slippery death traps.

    Normally I think the Jura is at its best in late spring when everything is blooming and lush, but this route might well be best in late autumn. Clear views in the cold air and no leaves on the trees to block them.

    Despite being mid November I was in a t-shirt the whole way. The only really cold part was walking home in the freezing fog after catching the bus/train back.

    The start and end were very quiet and I barely saw anyone. There were more people around Wasserfallen where the cable car runs up, and Passwang where there is access by car and bus – though even then it was never busy.

    Notes along the route

    Waldenburg could be an awesome spot. The village sits in a short gorge with big rocky ridges narrowing the valley to either side. This was clearly an important spot once with a formerly walled old town and a castle ruin above it guarding the bottleneck on the pass road. Sadly in this reality it feels rather charmless and neglected with a busy(ish) pass road cutting through the middle of the old town and no signs of life in most of the buildings.

    Looking down to Waldenburg and the opposite ridge with its castle ruins.

    One of the draws for me was the novelty of a rare red in the Jura along the Richtiflue ridge right out of Waldenburg. A fun little route climbing up then along the ridge with good views to either side.

    Waldenburg ridges
    Looking north to Oberdorf and the distant Black Forest from the ridge above Waldenburg.
    Waldenburg ridges
    Layers of Jura and off to the Alps.

    I had been planning to take a break at the Restaurant Waldweid where this route crossed a ride I took last summer (including a very friendly cat), but sadly it was closed. On the plus side the view started to really open up more with increasing alpine panoramas from here.

    Restaurant Waldweid
    Restaurant Waldweid. Despite being on holiday for a month there was still a fridge full of (alcoholic) drinks with an honesty system.

    First really open panoramic view at Hinderi Egg (sometimes Hinteri Egg) – the highest point in canton Basel Land at an adorable 1168m. Though a few minutes further on the view at Chellenchöpfli was even better (despite being a few meters lower) with the more exposed position giving you the view into the valley below and further along the Jura too.

    Hinderi Egg.
    Hinderi Egg.
    Chellenchöpfli. Looking over Limmerntal to Vogelberg.

    When the ridge dips down near to Hintere Wasserfallen (where the restaurant was also closed for an autumn holiday) there is a chance to turn straight down into Limmenerntal and on to Mümliswil.

    I stayed on the ridge heading up to Vogelberg, the highest point on the route at 1204m. As with many peaks in the Jura it is really a bit of ridge that sticks up more than the rest. The views were well worth the diversion.

    View from Vogelberg towards the north.
    Looking over the Jura from Vogelberg.

    I descended down into Limmerntal. I had been eyeing this valley as a bike route to reach Passwang and avoid the road – the very last dirt section would be a steep nightmare, but the rest of the valley is beautiful flowy road with zero traffic. The valley is hidden behind a narrow gorge so probably doesn’t get many visitors of any kind. The path I took was in theory a bit duller as I followed the road part way down to rejoin the footpath network going through the gorge (though this did mean I could admire the view without worrying about tripping over a rock or root every few meters). I will return here in the Spring to see it in full bloom.

    Layers of Jura and the Alps over the sea of fog from Limmerntal.

    The Limmernschlucht was a nice little surprise. It is not the most impressive gorge in the Jura, but was well worth the diversion.

    Through the Limmernschlucht.
    Through the Limmernschlucht.

    Mümliswil is a pleasant enough little village in a pretty setting but doesn’t have anything special to see in itself (unless the comb museum takes your fancy). It has hourly bus connections to Balsthal where you can catch a train on the adorably short line to Oensingen on the main line. I arrived with 40 mins to spare so I grabbed some local cheese from the butcher/dairy shop and had a coffee at the very friendly Landgasthof Ochsen.

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