Môtiers: The Poëta-Raisse Gorges

Rousseau once wrote «I have, opposite my windows, a beautiful waterfall which from the mountain top, plunges from a rocky escarpment into the valley, with a sound heard for miles around, especially when waters are high». From waterfall to waterfall, alongside these impressively steep gorges which once inspired fear (poëta from the latin putidus meaning "altered, fetid"), this trail will lead you through a delightful hike through rocks and water.

Technical sheet No. 4098308

A Môtiers walk posted on 05/06/15 by Tamtraductions. Last update : 02/09/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h25[?]
Distance Distance : 10.28 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 527 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 524 m
Highest point Highest point : 1,186 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 734 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Jura mountains
Location Location : Môtiers
Starting point Starting point : N 46.911739° / E 6.610764°
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Môtiers - Houses


(D) Car park at the Môtiers small train station. Yellow diamond shape waymarks.

Take a left leaving the car park to get to Grande Rue near a small central fountain. Leave the village heading up Grande Rue. Shortly after the electric factory on the outskirts of the forest, leave the small paved road taking the stone path on the left heading towards Grotte-Cascade (Cave-Waterfall). After crossing the stream over a small footbridge, head up to the waterfall taking the stairway to the right.

(1) Go back to the bridge below, cross over and walk along the field to the left. Cross back over the stream, this time over a concrete footbridge and get back to the small paved road. Go left, going through the car park. On the other side, where a sign indicates Neuchâtel-Rando, take a right on a stone path heading towards Poëta-Raisse, Chemin de la Fontaine à Louis. A sign warns you that "the gorges path is not secured, continue at your own risk". Don't panic, our Swiss friends are merely cautious, you will be able to climb carefully without too much difficulty.

(2) You go through the middle of what seems to be anti-tank defences ignoring a trail heading up to the right, follow the yellow diamond shapes from afar, keeping to the stream's proximity (from either side). Go across it, over a wooden footbridge, there will be a fork in the path, keep heading straight up (Circuit 56).

(3) You'll come to a small open space with a fork, take the Poëta-Raisse direction to the right. Too many instructions could get you lost rather than help. Just know that you should always stay in proximity of the stream either on one side or the other, crossing over several times, first heading south-west and then heading south-south-east.

(4) Above all, locate the fork in the path, near the diamond shaped waymark, by the foot of a tree to the right bearing signs (you'll have to look up). You'll be coming back here later. For now, keep going straight ahead (le Chasseron direction). Yet another beautiful wooden footbridge with an exquisite view over the gorges and the cavities dug by the stream. Go right. You're going to climb up the gorge on a stairway alongside the waterfalls. The climb becomes somewhat easier. Keep heading towards Poëta-Raisse Gorges.

(5) Cross the Reid again over a small dock, opposite there's a chalet and a picnic table. You're now arriving at the most scenic part of the hike, climbing the gorges alongside the rocks on a stairway, a rail to the rock side, a drop to the other. Climb up calmly and carefully reaching Poëta-Raisse summit (1131 m) with picnic tables and benches (6).

(6) Head back down, carefully, to the fork (4). This time, head up left towards Château de Môtiers on a beautiful hillside trail overhung by rocks and heading down a magnificent, bright forest filled with slim fir trees.

(7) After "la ferme perdue du Breuil" (lost farm of Breuil), you'll come across a charming stone path. Go down it to the right over roughly 200 metres and leave it when it takes a hairpin turn through the rocks by the marker post. Take the trail that goes right back towards the wood, heading to Château de Môtiers across a gorgeous ridge line.

(8) Locate the arrow on the fir tree urging you to leave the ridge and head down to the left towards the castle. Go across the clearing with a fabulous view of the mountain pastures to the right.

(9) You'll get to the Château de Môtiers, a private property with not much to see. Head down the trail opposite the waymark post leading to Môtiers, ignoring the paved road. At the bottom of the hill take a right to get to the village, looking back you can spot the castle on the mountain side. Get back to Môtiers on Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and you'll reach Grande Rue again.

(10) Opportunity to stop in at "Hôtel des Six Communes" which accepts euros, then head right to visit "église Notre-Dame" which dates back to early XIIIth century, now a temple with a very bare interior, but with a beautiful wooden ceiling. Go back to the car park just opposite.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 734 m
1 : km 1.58 - alt. 809 m
2 : km 2.33 - alt. 802 m
3 : km 2.68 - alt. 824 m
4 : km 4.37 - alt. 1,048 m
5 : km 4.98 - alt. 1,094 m
6 : km 5.41 - alt. 1,165 m
7 : km 7.46 - alt. 963 m
8 : km 8.18 - alt. 902 m
9 : km 8.63 - alt. 835 m
10 : km 10.14 - alt. 737 m
D/A : km 10.27 - alt. 734 m

Useful Information

A hike perhaps best to do after a rainy period to take full advantage of the waterfalls beauty. Good shoes strongly recommended. Not suitable for children, seasonal hikers or people subject to vertigo. Some mountainside parts are unsecured with a vertiginous view over the gorges. The OpenStreetMap hiking map isn't very accurate, lots of trails are missing or not in the right place. Below you can find the intinerary on Swisstopo. For more precision, you can download this file kml and drag it to this tab Swisstopo.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Môtiers : Rousseau Museum installed in 1969 in two of the rooms Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thérèse Levasseur occupied during their exile from 1762 to 1765. Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Môtiers : Maison de l'absinthe.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.