La grande traversée du Jura – GTJ. I walked from Mandeure to Pontartlier 150 kms – The first 150 kilometers of this walk that is about 400 kms in total.
My second trek for this year 2021. I only wanted to walk for about a week so I decided to do the first 150 kms of the GTJ, which is 400 kms long in total.
I had planned in doing it in 7 days, Finally I did it in 5 days. Some of the sections I walked more than I had planned, and the very last section, I actually did 42 kms in one day rather. I felt like a challenge and wanted to see if I could walk that day with 12 kilos on my back. But it was tiring, I would suggest 6 days which is easy.
My equipment was similaire to what I use every time now, except I wanted to try my Lunar Solo tent rather than my StratoSpire1 from Tarptent. Finally I didn’t like the Lunar Solo, and am going to sell it and just use the StratoSpire1 in the future.
Hers is the list complete https://lighterpack.com/r/d0hopy
Unlike my last trek in May this time I had decent weather. Oh what a change 🙂
Be warned there are very few water points on this walk. None of them are ‘eau potable’ so take a filter. I use the sawyer filter, used it twice no problems.
Mandeure – Saint Hippolyte. Day 1
I arrived Monday evening in Mandeure having taken the train from Paris to Voujeaucourt. There is a station at Mandeure but the train to there takes forever, and it’s only a 45 mins walk.
The camping at Mandeure has been totally revamped so it’s pretty good. Toilets, showers etc all brand new. Only need to walk about a km to find the GR509 (later it will merge / become the GR5)
Tuesday morning, and time to set of, weather good, it had drizzled slightly in the night but all was dry.
This 1rst day I walked a total of 28 kms with a total elevation of 761m. The paths are nice for the first half. The signposting for the GTJ is excellent, you dont need a map or a GPS, (though later you do). I stopped at a town called Pont de Roide, and had a good and cheap lunch at a restaurent called La Promenade. I do recommend it.
After leaving this town. There’s is a little bit of road and the signposting is no longer as good. You will climb up to around 820m. Finally arriving at Saint Hippolyte where there is a camp site, enough room for tents, it’s by the river and once again toilets, showers etc were nice and clean. Even managed to buy a beer from the reception. So a good end to the first day.
If you don’t want to stay at the camping, just keep on the GR for a little while just after the camping, there is plenty of places to pitch a tent for a bivoauc, wild camping.
Here is the GPX trace that I recorded on my Garmin 66i, you may download it bit.ly/2Y09xyR
Saint Hippolyte – Goumois. Day 2
Leaving the camping at Saint Hippolyte, you are straight away on the GR509 and also the GR5. (The GTJ is also the GR509 and the GR5) Once again the paths are lovely. To Goumois its a total of 26 kms. This was the big walk in elevation as I did more than 1000m for only 26kms.
In Goumois there are 2 camp sites. Both near the town’s only bridge. One on the French side, and another the Swiss side, which is closer, and also as there was nobody in the reception (big word, as its just a small caravan) I didn’t / couldn’t pay. Two toilets and one shower, as it’s very small, but all good. I ate at the restaurent in the photos below, it’s only 200m away, just a cheese sandwich, a plate of chips and a beer, 16 euros.
Be warned the next morning I thought I would buy a coffee in one of the two cafes French side, both were closed….. though they were open yesterday evening, so grab you coffee on the Swiss side. Also there are no shops in Goumois
Here is the GPX trace that I recorded on my Garmin 66i, you may download it bit.ly/3gDwuyb
Goumois – Nowhere??? Day 3
Why Nowhere, because I pitched my tent in someones garden.
The best walking day of my trek, the path is mostly flat running alongside the river Doub, (you can see that in the elevation image) so not a great deal of climbing except at the end, which is a pure waste of time. But the path is quite difficult or rather technical, because loads of rocks and or roots, making it a break your ankle job if you are not careful, but really great I loved it, There are even two ladders that you need to climb at one point.
Note that after leaving Goumois there are no shops, and no water stops, so fill up.
The problem I found is that there are no spots for a bivouac (wild camping) just no space anywhere. You could / can stay in the two or was it three shelters though you will have to sleep on the floor. But they only have a bench and table. Spider webs everywhere, I am not ready for this yet, I was lucky ,I pitched my tent, asking at the only house on the road after the 500 m ascent, tiring and not fun. I would suggest that you do not go up this ascent but keep on the path following the Doub. But doing this makes camping difficult and an even longer stretch with nothing.
WHY quit the path running alongside the river ?
For some reason the GR leads you off the Doub. Goes up 500 m, on to a road, (where I pitched my tent, in someones garden) you will walk this road for about 1 km and you go all the way down again, rather than just following the Doub, so take a good look at the paths here before doing this. as you can easily leave this part out.
This day was 33 kms long. Only one water spot found, see photo, you will need a filter, obviously no shops no nothing else. But I loved it. though long.
Here is the GPX trace that I recorded on my Garmin 66i, you may download it bit.ly/3gBwkaG
Nowhere – Le gardot. Day 4
So starting from where I’d pitched my tent in someone’s garden, walking along a road for about 1 km or two and basically you walk back down the 500 m than I’d done the evening before. It’s a pleasant walk EXCEPT later when you arrive just after the Saut du Doubs , do not walk to Villers le lac, it’s six kms downhill on tarmac and it was really a hot afternoon…., take the boat, I so which I had known this before. it will save you time and give you a nice break.
After Villers le lac where I ate again in a restaurent, you then started a long walk up, basically 750 m up to 1258 m. I stayed a a small village called Le Gardot,
Ther is a building for Nordic walking, skiing, MTBing . The building is open all day and you can use the loos, grab some water, sit inside or outside to rest or eat. You can also pitch a tent outside, I asked and it’s allowed. Also there is a electricity socket on the outside, near the tables, Oh so useful to charge up your phone , GPS etc
Here is the GPX trace that I recorded on my Garmin 66i, you may download it bit.ly/3zmgDeQ
Le Gardot – Pontarlier. Day 5
Now this was an extremely long walk, I had originally planned in doing it in two days but decided to give myself a challenge and do it in one go. 42 kms, I’m crazy.
Today you walk France, Switzerland, France, Switzerland a couple of times. You will notice lots of stone white pillars showing you what side of the frontier you are on.
In the small village Les Alliés (roughly the 20 kms mark) there is a water point, I believe it was the second that I came across in 150 kms. Again you should filter the water before drinking it
If you are not as daft as me…
If you are not as daft as me. In Switzerland roughly after 25 kms mark you will come across a cafe, restaurent, hotel. Hotel les Cernets . You can sit in the terrace and have a great coke or beer. Also they let you pitch a tent in the garden for a small fee (as I was told by a trekker while dring a coke) I should have stayed here rather than walking overs 40kms.
After this point its’s not to difficult another 15 kms to finish at Pontarlier with nice paths or crossing fields.
Et voilà as they say in France La grande traversée du Jura – GTJ, the first 150 kms all done. It is a pretty nice trek, a little ‘bitume’ tarmac, and some wide forestry paths that are boring but other than that is nice. Again very few water points and difficult to find a sleeping place after Goumois for the following 30+ kms.
Here is the GPX trace that I recorded on my Garmin 66i, you may download it
So I’ve finished le La grande traversée du Jura – GTJ or rather the start of it, just 150 kms of the 400 that can be done. I didn’t want to do it all at this time.
Pontarlier, I was disappointed. Note that there are few hotels there so check them out before you arrive and book the room beforehand, only about two and the most expensive ones are in the town center, the cheaper ones are quite a few kms walk from the center or the train station, more walking…