France has a great deal of mountain resorts dedicated to winter sports. However the practice of snowshoeing meets a growing public. Like hiking in summer, snowshoeing is more like an adventure: in direct contact with the environment and with an incomparable feeling of freedom.
Recommended snowshoeing itinerary
The great crossing of the Jura is a winter snowshoeing itinerary (also possible in crosscountry skiing) from Metabief (Doubs) to Giron (Ain). The complete itinerary makes 115 kilometers, but feel free to customize it. Altitude of the trek is between 940 and 1390 masl.
Day 1 : Métabief – Rochejean : 12 km D+ : 645m : D- : 511 m
Day 2 : Rochejean – Mouthe : 13 km D+ : 220 m ; D- : 430m
Day 3 : Mouthe – Chaux Neuve : 7 km D+ : 200 m ; D-: 100 m
Day 4 : Chaux Neuve – Chapelle des Bois : 11 km D+ 250 m ; D- : 210 m
Day 5 :Chapelle des Bois ; Bois D’Armont : 11 km D+ 360 m ; D- : 380 m
Day 6 : Bois d’Armont – Prémanon : 16 km D+ : 230 m D- : 130 m
Day 7 : Prémanon – Lajoux : 14 km D+ : 380 km ; D- 360 km
Day 8 : Lajoux – Bellecombe : 11 km D+ 300 m ; D- : 230 m
Day 9 : Bellecombe – La Pesse : 8 km D+ 290 m ; D- 260 m
Day 10 : La Pesse – Giron : 13 km D+ 340 m D- 500 m
Along the trip, you can enjoy some cultural and gastronomic breaks : museums, Comte producers, ice-skating,
Access by public transportation are possible, with train/bus connections.
- Access via Frasne (From Paris to Lausanne or Paris to Bern). Connection by coach to Métabief.
- Access via Morez (Dole – Saint-Claude – Bourg-en-Bresse), 12 kilometers from Chapelle des Bois
- La Cure (Swiss) (Nyon – Saint-Cergue – la Cure), 2 kilometers from Les Rousses and 3 kilometers from Prémanon.
Check the national railway company website for schedule.
Accomodation is possible at each stage of the route, either on hostels, refuges, guestrooms, hotel or resort centers.
Try to book before you leave. Accomodation available in Métabief, le Gros Morond, la Petite échelle, Mouthe (1,5 km), La Source du Doubs, chez Liadet (2 km), Chaux Neuve, la Combe des Cives, Chapelle des Bois, Sur Les Lacs, Chalet Gaillard, Bois d’Amont, les Rousses, Prémanon, La Cure, La Frasse, Lajoux, Lamoura (3 km), Les Molunes (1 km), Bellecombe, Les Moussières (3 km), Le Berbois, La Pessse, Giron.
The Jura (as many mountain area in France) is a great place to try a variety of cheese : do not miss the Comte, but also try the Mont d’Or, the Morbier or the Bleu de Gex.
Before you leave
As any activities in mountains in winter, snowshoeing may be dangerous. Be sure to check weather conditions and avalanche risks before you leave. Prepare you backpack with enough food, hot water and warm clothes. Avalanche transceivers may be necessary in some cases. Of course, do not forget your map and compass.
Trail markings is generally in place from mid-december to end of March. It is a yellow and pink design. Do not get confused with crosscountry markings.
A pass is now required to enjoy your trip. Fees include a participation for the markings, accesses to restrooms and pic-nic areas. Cost is 20 € / person for 1 week.
Before you leave, get in touch with the association Grandes Traversées du Jura which take care of the itinerary. They can provide you with some maps, list of accomodation, guide books, etc.