Gorges Areuse, Areuse Gorges, Gorges de L’ Areuse, Neuchâtel Switzerland
Getting there and back.
Gorges Areuse is located in the Kanton of Neuchâtel Switzerland. From Neuchâtel Train Station you can take a train to either Noiraigue or Boudry. If you go just for hiking starting at Noiraigue is nicer. If you go for photos start in Boudry. You have the sun in your back (if you go in Spring like I did).
The train ride from Neuchatel to Boudry is about 20 min. and to Noiraigue about 35 min. Going back to Neuchâtel: well I ended up at Boudry and only once per hour you have an SBB train to Neuchâtel. So if you don’t want to wait like I did, check online for departure times from Boudry. There is a second local train (Littorail) from Boudry to Neuchâtel. Check on TransN for more info. If you take that local train, you have to get to their own railway station which is about 30min walk from SBB train station. Click here for a Google Map which shows both train stations or scroll down (Maps).
I will explain what I did. For me it was the first time to to Gorges Areuse. I did some research on the internet and actually most sites wrote to start in Noiraigue. So I did…. Neuchâtel Bahnhof / Train station is actually quite nice. Surrounded by French Swiss architecture, houses and building with these typical French balconies and many other things. From here you follow Lake Neuchâtel towards Noiraigue overlooking the wineries and some part of Neuchatel Old Town.
Neuchatel Railway Station
Coming at Noiraigue there is a picturesque train station. The town itself is not big, more like a small village. Plenty of signs point you in the direction of Creux du Van or Gorges Areuse. So off we go, following the railway… Gorges Areuse here we come !
Noiraigue Railway Station
I had some expectations of the surrounding but my expectations were far to low… Man… it is gorgeous out there ! I have seen some photos of Saut de Brot, the iconic stone bridge but in real life it is much more impressive. The total natural scenery and divers landscape makes you think you entered another world. Like all other places I visited in Switzerland it is spotless clean, no plastic garbage, etc. laying around.
Hiking Map. Click to enlarge.
1 Noiraigue Railway Station – 2 Saut du Brot (Stone Bridge) – 3 Champ du Moullin – 4 Pont de la Verriere – 5 Pont de Vert – 6 Pont de Clees – 7 Cafe du Pont – 8 Boudry Railway Station (SBB)
Click here to view an interactive hiking map. (by: map.wanderland.ch)
The hike is long. I mean loooong ! About 11,5 km. If you just hike and hike and hike and not paying attention to the beautiful scenery you can do the hike in 3 hours 50 min. or faster. If you are like me, taking about 1500 photos, stop at scenic places and take a brake for a picnic you will be probably a bit longer on the way. It took me about 6 hours. 🙂 But I took my time to make photos. At places like Pont de Clees one of the highlights of the hike, you can easily spent 1 hour shooting as a photographer. And so on, there are more very nice places like Saut du Brot and Pont Vert. Plenty of (small) waterfalls and water streams. Bridges, stone pass throughs, thick moss covered tree roots and rocks. There is just to much of all that nice stuff ! For me, the ultimate highlight was the area at Pont de Clees in Gorges Areuse. That was absolutely stunning. I wish I had brought super wide angle (15mm) and a Full Frame body.
I will definitely walk into the Gorges Areuse one more time, maybe in Autumn to get those real nice leaf colors, and this time more prepared. The problem for photographers is that there is not much info on internet about the place. Sure you get the general info and on MySwitzerland you can also find some info but for travel and landscape photographers like me there is actually not much.
This place is just ( 650m) before Saut de Brot.
Photography tips Gorges Areuse Neuchâtel Switzerland
Gear: bring a camera body with high dynamic range like a Nikon D810 or a Sony A7 series (for full frame lovers). Fujifilm lovers will have a blast with an X-T1, X-Pro 1 or 2 due to the color simulations. I shot with a Fujifilm X camera and used the Velvia simulation. When you have a cropped sized sensor, Nikon D7200 (or 7100), Sony A6300 or A6000 are great cameras. Canon I cannot recommend, not that they are bad, (I shot many photos on this trip with a Canon 70D) but due to the lack of dynamic range. You will see that in post processing when lifting the dark shadows. Though, if you are a Canon user, a 5D mk3 or a 6D will get you along. Lenses: 16-35mm F4, 24-70mm F2.8 or 24-105mm F4, 70-200mm F2.8, or a travel zoom like 18-200mm or 18-135mm. 10-24mm (for the wide shots) and a 16-55mm on crop sensors are fine. I choose zoom lenses because they give you more flexibility, less image quality but more coverage of focal length. Primes you can bring, but 12km is a long walk and you need to carry all of it…. 🙂 Recommended: 14 or 15 or 16mm for the ultra wide shots, 20 or 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and a 100 or 135mm. Filters: CPL and ND. Tripod: Yes a small one will do fine. Tip: custom white balance card can really help…
Plenty of trapped waterfalls
Pont de Clees
As you see on the photos, shooting conditions can be quite challenging. From harsh bright sunlight, to hard contrasts. Quite some reflections from leafs…. Yellowish color cast created by the sunlight.
Now due to the nice landscape at the Areuse Gorges you can actually start being really creative. Not just take a photo, little post processing and done. No….. for example: HDR lovers can have a true blast here. Especially on very sunny days like I had, you can loose yourself in shooting HDR. Also in post processing, the sceneries that you can create are out of this world. I am selecting some photos to create such an image. I will use Lightroom and Photoshop and probably some HDR program like Photomatix or Aurora Macphun.
In my point of view, photography is not just taking shots. It is also applying your own creativity to it. In this digital era there are so many (software and technical) tools available to help you create what you have in mind. Of course everybody got its own taste. Not everybody like the same like you do or reverse. But I think there is space for everyone and also we need to respect each others work.
Here’s a good place for a picnic.
Here you can find more info about Gorges Areuse.
Saut du Brot
Creux du Van.
If you start in Noiraigue, you can also go to Creux du Van. One has to climb exactly 725 metres to find yourself standing in the middle of an arena of superlatives. This natural amphitheatre has a diameter of one kilometre and is the result of constant erosion by water and ice. It is a paradise for mountain goats, marmots, deer, birds of prey and nature lovers.
Click here to view an interactive hiking map to Creux du Van.
Info about Creux du Van click here.
Map of Boudry Railway Stations.
Click to enlarge.
And more photos… 🙂 Click to enlarge. Horizontal shot.