6 trails to challenge yourself in the Jura Mountains

With its mid-mountain landscapes, the Jura lends itself particularly well to trail running. For a number of years, the region's municipalities have been working to mark out their trails: in the heart of the forest, beside lakes or on steep ridges, every runner should find a trail to suit them!

The most bucolic: Espace Trail Pays des Lacs

Here, you can run alongside mountain lakes, before climbing to the lookouts overlooking them, all in the middle of the forest. Just 20 minutes from Lons-le-Saunier, the resort of Clairvaux-les-Lacs is home to three trail courses devised by local clubs. From the "Tracoutis" trail, a very easy 7km route, to the "De la Baume à la Scie" trail, more challenging at 18km but still accessible: everyone should find a trail to suit them in this resort. Every year, the Trail des Lacs takes place on these trails: a complete 55km course that allows you to discover all the natural riches of the Jura mountains!

Espace Trail Pays des Lacs (External link)
Explore the Jura Lakes Region (Terre d'Emeraude tourisme) (External link)

The most diverse : Espace Haut-Jura Trail

There are no fewer than 300 kilometres of marked trails here! In the heart of the Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park, just a few kilometres from Saint-Claude, the Espace Haut-Jura Trail is a must for nature lovers. More than 20 mid-mountain trails coexist here, spread over six villages: Saint-Claude, Septmoncel les Molunes, les Bouchoux, Viry, Plateau du Lizon and finally Lajoux. Every year, the 7 Monts trail and the UTTJ trail (June) bring together runners from all over France.

Espace Haut-Jura Trail (External link)
Explore Saint-Claude and its region, in the Haut-Jura (External link)

The most mountainous: Espace Trail Xavier Thévenard in Métabief

Without doubt the most committed trail site in the Jura mountains! The Espace Trail Xavier Thévenard (named after the great trail champion and resident of the village of Jougne) is located in the heart of the Jura mountains, on the Mont d'Or. At 1,463 metres, this peak marks the border with neighbouring Switzerland. Here, you can run along unobstructed ridges, on the edge of cliffs offering fantastic 360° panoramic views of the Jura plateaux. In the heart of the mountain pastures, it's not unusual to come across shepherds and their flocks! Runners can choose from four routes, covering a total of 90 kilometres of varying levels of difficulty.

Espace Trail Xavier Thévenard à Métabief (External link)
Explore the resort of Métabief, in the Haut-Doubs region (External link)

The trickiest: Altitude 800 trail station

Located on the Route des Sapins, near Levier, between the source of the Loue and Lison rivers, about an hour from Besançon and Lons-le-Saunier, the Altitude 800 trail station offers eight signposted trails in the heart of nature for running, mountain biking and hiking. Amid the fir trees, runners can immerse themselves in the forests of the Jura mountains. It's easy to imagine a stay here, just long enough to try out several routes, as several gîtes and even a campsite can accommodate tourists passing through.

Altitude 800 Trail Station (External link)
Explore the Route des Sapins (External link)

Closest to a major city: Espace Trail Grandes Heures Nature

Are you staying in Besançon but looking for a breath of fresh air? Then you've come to the right place! This is the very first permanent trail area approved by the French Athletics Federation. Starting out from Besançon, 186 kilometres of circuits allow runners of all levels to find their ideal route: technical paths, shady forest tracks, steep terrain... It's best to check that the circuits are open before arriving on site, for example by telephoning Besançon town hall: some areas of forest that have been damaged by drought are closed to the public.

Espace Trail Grandes Heures Nature (External link)
Explore Besançon and the surrounding area (External link)

The most affordable (or almost): Haut-Bugey trail station

At the entrance to the Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park, the Haut-Bugey trail station is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts of lakeside itineraries.
In Nantua, Genin or Sylans, you can relax in short strides along the water's edge.
The more experienced will not be able to resist the call of the mountains, with their unsuspected peaks and vertical drops. A favourite playground of champion Xavier Thévenard, the Les Balcons du Lac de Nantua course (28km) is a great way to warm up before tackling the vertical kilometre...
To avoid any mishaps and record your performance, don't forget to download the free Ain Outdoor app.

Station de Trail du Haut-Bugey (External link)
Explore the Haut-Bugey (External link)

Getting to the Jura mountains