Whether it’s the jumping off point for snow resorts like Morzine, Chamonix and the Alps, or that fact that so much international business is done in this city, Geneva is a bustling centre point of Europe. Whether you’re passing through for work or pleasure, it’s worth knowing that Geneva is home to some stunning trail running, providing you know where to look….
Geneva sits at the west end of lake Geneva with the Rhone flowing out through France. From the city centre, ambitious runners can simply stick their trainers on and head down stream on the Rhone, where the landscape slowly transforms from bustling urban environment to peaceful, rural countryside. While this route might not tackle the crazy ascents of areas like Mont Salève, it is no less stunning, as you run surrounded by the mountainous region.
Situated just a few miles west of Geneva itself is the Allondon Nature Reserve. This dramatic river is a tributary to the Rhone and home to beautiful woodlands, tracks and hillsides. You can take a leisurely 9km loop from Malvern, or plot deeper routes along the Allondon all the way to the Rhone.
One of Switzerlands most stunning hiking trails, the Jura Crest Trail connects Zurich to Nyon, a town just north of Geneva. Taking around 16 days to through hike, this trail can be broken down into sections, some of which are ideal for some trail running. Serious ultra runners will enjoy the prospect of this route, with some delicious options for carb loading in the evenings.
Mont Salève is on the edge of Geneva and rises some 1379m. You’ll need your passport to go there as this is over the border in France. The route to the summit is around 5.5km and you can take the cable car one way if the return descent seems like too much. However, there are some more challenging routes in this area to explore such as the 12.5 mile Trail Crêtes du Salève, or the Colonges-Mount Salève at close to 14 miles.
The Alpine Passes Trail is a wild, long distance journey that takes around 34 days to hike through. The one-way route begins at Chur and ends at Lake Geneva. Not for the faint hearted, this is a feat in human endurance, particularly if you are thinking of running even a few of the sections. Spanning 610km, with more than 3700m of ascent, this is a brutal, but magnificent trail that often flies under the radar of most outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you’re staying in Geneva, or using it as a base for wider activities in the area, the region is ripe for wild running. Of course all routes need to be checked for conditions ahead of setting off, as many will be un-passable in the depths of winter when snowfall is heavy. While some can be tackled throughout the year, it’s important you layer effectively for the climate.
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