It is commonly thought that the Jura mountains are a great place for snowshoeing in the winter. They have been a paradise for cross-country skiers for a long time, and are becoming a paradise for snowshoe hikers as well. Thanks to its varied relief, the absence of sharp elevations, and its rough climate, the Jura massif is an ideal destination for both family hikers and hikers with more sport experience who will find terrain where they can discover or practise this discipline. The topoguide is the first publication that will guide you along the snowshoeing route of the Grande Traversée du Jura.
GTJ snowshoeing route Practical information
Is there snow on the GTJ snowshoeing trail?
If skiers can use the trail, it is equally accessible to snowshoe hikers.
The GTJ snowshoe route hasn’t been subject to any changes since the last issue (2015).
3Fees and marking
The snowshoeing trails are marked and maintained safe, and access has been subject to a fee for several years. Several options are offered for the GTJ snowshoeing route:
- You can purchase the weekly pass named “Montagnes du Jura” (valid 7 consecutive days for all cross-country areas in the massif) at a price of €20/person.
- You can purchase a daily pass every day before starting your day hike. Prices vary depending on the cross-country areas: from €3 to €5 per day per adult.
Landmarks and signposts are installed from the Christmas holidays until the end of March. In an open environment, the GTJ snowshoeing route is marked by yellow marks, while in the forest it is marked with flags that hang from branches. Only GTJ snowshoeing route marks have a yellow background, make sure not to confuse them with the marks of other GTJ routes you may see.
The GTJ snowshoeing route is different from summer hiking routes, as it goes through pastures that are not accessible during the summer.
4Guides, maps and GPS
The “Guide pratique Raquette” shows every leg of the route and contains a wide range of practical tips. A map of the cross-country trails will also be useful. You can purchase a map of the different areas at the relevant departure sites. Alternatively, you can get all the maps in advance and prepare your hike: our “coffret carto” box contains maps of all the Jura’s cross-country areas and is available in our online shop.
If you have a GPS, you can download the route free of charge from this link:
Use caution: your progress will be much slower with snowshoes in the winter than with regular hiking shoes in the summer. As a general rule, snowshoe hiking speed is between 2 and 3 km/hr. If you plan on hiking 5 hours per day, you can cover a distance between 10 and 15 kilometres depending on the relief, your physical condition, the weather, the snow level, whether you have a rucksack or not, and whether you want to wander off the trail, discover a lookout point, visit a museum, relish a blueberry tart, etc. Make sure you take that into account when planning your hikes!
Mouthe is alleged to be the coldest place in France. And that is great, because the GTJ snowshoeing route goes through it! Jokes aside, the Jura likes to remind us that we are in the mountains. So, your equipment should be appropriate.
What you can’t do without:
- Hiking sticks;
- Shoes: Your shoes must be comfortable and broken in;
- Clothing: You should plan on multiple layers of clothing, along with a waterproof winter coat. Make sure you also take a soft hat and a pair of gloves for cold and/or windy weather.
- A pair of gaiters (to prevent snow from getting in your shoes);
- A rucksack (with rain protection);
- Accessories: sunglasses; cap; sunscreen lotion; flashlight; knife; identity documents; survival blanket and candle; maps and compass; lighter and whistle;
- Food: Make sure you take enough food for the day and a sweet snack in case you need an energy boost;
- At least 1.5 litre of water per person per day;
- First aid kit (containing gauze, disinfectant, physiological salt solution, elastic band, bandages, second-skin bandages, tick tweezers, a needle, paracetamol);
- Mobile phone with charger.
What can come in handy:
- Vacuum flask;
- Sleeping bag (if you’re planning on staying overnight in shelters);
- Minimum toiletry items;
- A pair of binoculars and/or a camera.