17a: Moudon to Lausanne/Lake Sauvabelin

Through the Enchanting Jorat-Woods

 

DIDIER HEUMANN, ANDREAS PAPASAVVAS

 

We divided the course into several sections to make it easier to see. For each section, the maps show the course, the slopes found on the course, and the state of the roads. The courses were drawn on the “Wikilocs” platform. Today, it is no longer necessary to walk around with detailed maps in your pocket or bag. If you have a mobile phone or tablet, you can easily follow routes live.

For this stage, here is the link:

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/de-moudon-au-lac-de-sauvabelin-par-la-nouvelle-via-jacobi-4-141088218

It is obviously not the case for all pilgrims to be comfortable with reading GPS and routes on a laptop, and there are still many places without an Internet connection. Therefore, you can find a book on Amazon that deals with this course. Click on the title of the book to open Amazon.

Camino de Santiago in Switzerland. Via Jacobi 4: From Bodensee to Geneva

If you only want to consult lodging of the stage, go directly to the bottom of the page.

Today, you embark on a captivating threshold, a rite of passage between the Swiss plateau, where the Broye Valley unfolds its charms nestled in the earth, and the dazzling Lake Geneva. This transition, a veritable natural ballet, unfolds amidst a string of hills, primarily cloaked in forests. Your odyssey leads you to the peaks of Lausanne, within the sacred woods of Chalet-à-Gobet, perched at over 800 meters above sea level. Lausanne reveals itself thus, stretched between summit and water, with the lake resting at less than 400 meters above sea level. Here lies a stage of exceptional beauty, a patchwork of landscapes, a mosaic of moments. From the very first steps, Moudon bids you farewell along the Broye, before Bressonnaz marks your departure from this companion on the road. For lovers of the undergrowth, it will be a true enchantment: a long ascent, followed by a descent amidst magnificent forests, under the benevolent guard of the beech trees. The first chapter of this woodland saga concludes at Montpreveyres.

In a surge of renewal, the creative minds at SchweizMobil have reinvented the traditional route leading to Lausanne from Montpreveyres. Formerly, the route traversed Vers-chez-Les Blanc, Epalinges, before merging into the heart of Lausanne. In a desire to magnify the experience, illustrated by an almost enigmatic diagram, so discreet is it, the new Via Jacobi 4 now ventures towards Chalet à Gobet, meandering through the enchantment of the Jorat-Woods.

 

This journey through the woods, continuing beyond Chalet à Gobet into the vastness of Jorat, is an ode to nature, frequented by a legion of joggers, cyclists, and hikers, all disciples of Lausanne’s beauty. This pilgrimage concludes by rejoining the old path in the wild Flon Valley. With unexpected grace, the route avoids urbanized areas, save for rare exceptions. But the route still holds many wonders. After the idyllic passage through the Flon valley and a strenuous ascent via stairs bordering the highway, you’ll reach the Bois de Sauvabelin and its lake, a jewel nestled atop Lausanne. The descent towards Lausanne, eyes caressing the lake, to the heart of the city, and then to the lake’s shores, will be recounted in the following pages. The new Via Jacobi 4 distinguishes itself with exemplary signposting, an absolute necessity. The Jorat-Wood is a labyrinth of trails where it is easy to get lost, to be transported elsewhere for any hiker not initiated into the mysteries of these places.

Difficulty level: Today’s altitude variations (+545 meters/-415 meters) might seem intimidating, but the journey is long, and most of the time, you won’t perceive these ascents and descents, except perhaps when crossing streams like the Bressonne and the Flon. More often than not, it will be an enchanting stroll through the woods.

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State of the Via Jacobi: Today, the stage unquestionably belongs to forest paths:

  • Paved roads : 6.8 km
  • Dirt roads : 20.4 km

Sometimes, for reasons of logistics or housing possibilities, these stages mix routes operated on different days, having passed several times on Via Podiensis. From then on, the skies, the rain, or the seasons can vary. But, generally this is not the case, and in fact this does not change the description of the course.

It is very difficult to specify with certainty the incline of the slopes, whatever the system you use.

 

For those seeking “true elevations” and enthusiasts of genuine altimetric challenges, carefully review the information on mileage at the beginning of the guide.

We have divided the route into several sections, to facilitate visibility. For each section, the maps give the route, the slopes found on the route and the state of Via Jacobi.

Section 1: Along the Broye once again.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: relatively straightforward.

The Via Jacobi, awakening echoes of the past in the heart of Moudon, gracefully escapes into the upper town, flirting with the shadow of the castle, where stone facades recount centuries of history.
Following its course, the route embraces the ramparts with a gentle descent, brushing past the remnants of the medieval city, silent witnesses to a bygone era.

The Tower of the Broye, sentinels of time, stands tall, a vestige of the former castle’s magnificence, its history woven in the 13th century by the hands of the Zähringen of Fribourg.

The descent continues, serpentine, along Rue du Bourg where flower-filled terraces flourish, like colorful smiles, until the city is left behind.
The Via Jacobi then takes the path of the Vines, a poetic descent towards the river, under the benevolent gaze of the scallop shell of Compostela, a rare sentinel of this pilgrimage in Swiss land.
In the hollow of the valley, a dirt path leads to a green haven by the water. Here, the river is a bit more untamed than in the section followed the day before, skipping lightly over stones with grace.
The Via Jacobi gracefully crosses the Broye, this river winding from the Fribourg Pre-Alps, trickling through Moudon, Lucens, and Payerne before merging into Lake Neuchâtel.
A wide path, bordered by the camaraderie of tall trees, offers a corridor of shade and freshness along the watercourse.
Soon, it flirts with the municipal pool, continuing its journey, a faithful companion of the river.
A bridge, like a link between the shores, offers soldiers passage to a barracks, a testament to the life pulsating beyond the water.
The path, in its intimacy with the river, gradually approaches the cantonal artery, the Route de Berne, bearing witness to the convergence of worlds.
Under the Route de Berne, it ventures, drawing closer to the metallic echo of the railway, a dialogue between the steps of pilgrims and the breath of trains.
Through a discreet staircase, it reaches Bressonnaz station, before dancing once again with the Broye, in a perpetual movement of coming and going.

The road then sneaks along the edge of the forest, before being charmed by Carrouge, where the lively waters of the Bressonne mingle in an aquatic embrace. 

On the tarmac, the Via Jacobi embraces the hamlet of Bressonnaz Dessous, after traversing the whispers of Carrouge.
It traverses the hamlet, in an embrace where Carrouge weaves among the deciduous trees and wild herbs, road companions.
Then, it briefly caresses a road escaping into the countryside, before succumbing to the charm of a grassy path, at the edge of the forest, by the riverside.
Hidden in the dance of tall grasses, a sign titled Sankt Jakob, like a beacon in the greenery, guides the steps beyond the river.
The path, carving a path through the tall grasses, stands tall with determination, ascending towards the Route de Berne.
Further along, it joins the small route of Brits, climbing parallel to the Route de Berne, greeting the Brits farm along the way, before heading towards Vucherens.

Section 2: Between forest and countryside.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: a fairly long ascent through the forest, followed by tranquility.

The Via Jacobi, like a capricious muse, gracefully detaches from the road leading to Vucherens. It blends into the gentle landscapes of undulating wheat fields and scarlet poppies, resolutely embarking on the Path of the Bourguères towards Syens, threading its own narrative through the valleys and plains, veering off the beaten paths to immerse itself in the authenticity of forgotten trails.
However, the Camino de Santiago deviates from its usual course approaching Syens. It breaks away from the monotonous axis of the cantonal road to venture in the opposite direction, losing itself in the verdant meanders of the Chemin des Grands Champs.

Continuing its journey, the Via Jacobi engages in a zigzag dance, following the whimsical twists of the Chemin de Maufay, where a grand farmhouse stands majestically, rising like a guardian of local traditions.

Beyond the Maufay farmhouse, a narrow path slopes up with determination along the Chemin du Chalet, offering pilgrims an ascent to the heights.
The road then climbs towards the threshold of the forest, but soon, the Via Jacobi abandons the main path to plunge to the right into the woods, leaving behind the dazzling light of the road to merge into the benevolent darkness of ancient trees.
A winding path, sometimes muddy, emerges, challenging adventurers to climb the steep slopes of deciduous and spruce woods, rewarding them with an expanded horizon and deep communion with wild nature.
Finally emerging from the woods, the path calms down, gently guiding through the undulating grasses to the first houses of Vucherens, with scattered houses like pearls dotting the countryside, also offering a majestic view of the backdrop of the Pre-Alps.
Vucherens, like a jewel nestled in the countryside, reveals its charms to passing travelers. The Via Jacobi, delicate and discerning, prefers to escape through the heights, on the Route du Village, gracefully climbing among the carefully restored farmhouses and recent residential areas.
Crowning the hill, the Route de la Grotte unfolds, replacing the gentle melody of the Route du Village. At its crossroads stands a small chapel, a silent witness of the 18th century, where history blends with spirituality. The chapel is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Pancras. It is worth mentioning that Catholics are a minority in a predominantly Protestant canton.
Continuing its quest, the Via Jacobi transforms into the Chemin de la Main de Fer, offering walkers a journey into preserved rurality. Modest homes mingle with vast expanses of countryside, bearing witness to the unique marriage of tradition and modernity.
The majestic Gottaz farmhouse, daring to defy urban planning laws, stands like a beacon amidst the sea of greenery, nostalgically recalling that the charm of Vaud farms lies in their rustic simplicity, far from the splendors of neighboring lands.

Section 3: Still between forest and countryside.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: an easy course.

From this point, the road stretches out like an immaculate canvas, weaving its way through meadows and cereal fields, majestically framed by the peaks of the Valais Alps, the captivating contours of the Fribourg and Vaud Pre-Alps. In this wind-swept plain, no obstacle impedes the view along the road stretching straight ahead, as far as the eye can see. Each step resonates like a harmony in this natural symphony, imbued with the splendor of the landscapes.
At the turn of the plateau, where two paths intersect, the Via Jacobi gracefully descends towards the Route de la Main de Fer, like a ballet dancer gliding across the earth’s stage. The traveler is carried away by the fluidity of the movement in a gentle dance downwards.
The descent into the plain begins with great calm, a slowness that allows one to appreciate every moment, every detail of the landscape transforming under the walker’s steps. Between meadows and mysterious groves, trees offer their benevolent shade. The descent unfolds like an infinite ribbon, yet it unfolds effortlessly, like a feather carried by the wind.
At the edge of this descent, in Ussières, the Via Jacobi merges with the path of a busy road, elegantly crossing the delicate murmur of the Bressonne. Here, the traveler is invited to merge with the flow of vehicles on a lightly trafficked road.
Then, like a narrative taking an unexpected turn, the road turns towards Ecorcheboeuf, traversing what seems to be a ghost village, a mixture of scattered developments fading into the horizon.
In the verdant sanctuary of the forest, a dirt trail opens up before the walker, offering a promise of fulfillment. The trees, majestic guardians of this wild realm, stand gracefully, their dense foliage caressing the sky in a gentle embrace.
The slope, like an enchanting melody, guides the traveler through the twists and turns of the forest, between ancient beeches and towering spruces. At times, clearings emerge like oases in this wooded landscape, offering a bit of respite and welcome light.

At a pivotal crossroads, the walker finds himself at the intersection of paths, facing a myriad of directions. Here, vigilance is paramount, where every choice can seal the fate of the traveler. Beware, your signpost is located to the right of the path, and the narrow trail to follow towards Monpreveyres, barely visible, also descends on the right. Pay close attention to it! You must not continue straight ahead towards Claie aux Moines. That would lead you astray into the forests surrounding Lausanne. However, the sign is quite clear. The Via Jacobi (Via 4, surrounded in blue) turns right, at a right angle into the forest, heading towards Chalet à Gobet.

Section 4: In the forests of Montpreveyres.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: easy route, but very steep slopes to reach the river.

A narrow path, like a thread of Ariadne through the twists of time, delves into the valley, with vertiginous slopes sometimes approaching 30%, clinging to the earth’s flanks like a dancer on a tightrope. Sometimes, mud swallows it, like a sly trap laid by nature itself. But there, in the tumultuous embrace of the ground, wooden stairs emerge, like hands extended in the darkness, offering travelers support in their quest into the unknown. The slope, almost vertical in places, defies gravity, with slopes so steep they seem to taunt the sky itself. Yet, despite this marked descent, as swift as an arrow released from the bow of destiny, an unsuspected grace presides: the descent is short-lived, like a fleeting caress before plunging into the depths of oblivion, to overcome obstacles and reach the bridge spanning the Bressonne. 
This is a new and enchanting encounter with the river. In the depths of the small valley winds the Bressonne, a river often turbulent but remarkably wise in these peaceful places.
On the other side of the valley, the slope softens, like a sigh of relief after the effort. Yet, even in this apparent gentleness, the earth still hides its traps, with inclinations sometimes up to 20%, like claws of shadow concealed under a veil of greenery. The crossing over the Bressonne actually constitutes the only real challenge of this first stage of the journey.
The path then emerges from the forest, revealing a place of singular beauty, where the cure, the Salle du Tilleul, and the temple of Montpreveyres stand side by side. A Catholic priory, once erected in these places in the Middle Ages, was swept away by the tumultuous winds of the Reformation in the 16th century. Over the centuries, the buildings have evolved, adorned with the signs of time. The cure, also housing the Salle du Tilleul, has dedicated itself to cultural activities, making these walls imbued with history vibrate.

The temple, like a phoenix rising from its ashes, bears witness to the centuries gone by with its stones polished by time. Standing against the forest, it seems to contemplate eternity, a silent witness to the tumults of the world.

The road then makes its way to the village of Montpreveyres, split in two by the Route de Berne, and passes by the local school. In Switzerland, especially in the cantons of Protestant confession, many administrative buildings, including schools of yesteryears, proudly display modest spires.

This is where the new Via Jacobi 4 begins. Pay close attention here. The old direction sign still points to Epalinges, and to Lausanne four hours from here, the old Via Jacobi 4. You can still go there. But you won’t have any indication of the Via Jacobi 4. We cover this route in the parallel stage.


The new Via Jacobi 4 then heads towards Chalet à Gobet, a one hour and forty-five-minute walk away.

It passes under the Lausanne-Berne Road and climbs towards the heights of the village.
Soon, a path opens up in the dense forest, like a secret passage to another world, between the protective arms of millennial trees…
…to emerge in a clearing, overlooking the village rooftops.
But this flash of light is fleeting, and soon, a bumpy, paved road takes a steeper climb through scattered woods.
The trees, majestic, stand like sentinels in these Jorat woods, where only beeches and spruces reign supreme, accompanied here and there by modest hornbeams and ferns adorning the slopes. Here, oaks, maples, ashes, and chestnuts are mostly absentt.
At the top of this ascent, the modest road opens onto a plateau, encircled by the dense canopy.
A wide dirt path then plunges into the dense and obscure forest.
Shortly after, this path narrows, becoming a narrow trail through tall grasses, like a promise of adventure into the unfathomable depths of nature. 
But this immersion in the wild nature cannot last, and further on, the trail opens onto a modest paved road, which, otherwise, would lead you to a square and a vast farm, proudly standing in the countryside.

However, here, vigilance is required, lest you stray further towards the hamlet of Moillebaudin. A forest path quickly branches off to your left, plunging into dense woods.

This forest path then crosses through a dark undergrowth, quickly emerging onto another paved road.
The route then deviates very little on this straight road before turning right onto a small road leading to the vast fields of the countryside on a hill.
The path, like a hidden thread of Ariadne in the shaded folds of nature, soon disappears into the enchanting darkness of the forest canopy.
Here, the trees, like ancestral sentinels, stand majestically, their intertwined branches forming celestial vaults where the sun’s rays weave luminous arabesques. The soul of the walker is carried away in this world of shadows and lights, where each step resonates like a note of music on the forest floor carpeted with dead leaves.
In this symphony of colors and scents, the path gracefully winds beneath the last remnants of the Moillebaudin dwellings, and at the first crossroads, turns left.
The forest, in these places, unveils all its magic, making the walk as easy as it is enchanting. Make sure to follow the arrows along the way, or you risk getting lost in these boundless woods.

Shortly after, attention becomes crucial, lest you find yourself lost on the Lausanne-Berne road.

It is imperative not to continue straight ahead, even if the path appears more obvious. A narrow trail veers to the right, soon marked by a yellow diamond painted on the bark of a beech tree. Finding the diamond is crucial to avoid getting lost in the woods. Generally, trails in Switzerland are well-marked, but here, clarity is lacking. It’s puzzling why the folks at Schweizmobil didn’t opt for a visible fork in the road rather than painting a diamond on a beech tree off the path, further obscured by foliage. It’s important to understand that for a local hiker, losing their way in the Jorat woods is not a significant concern; they will always find a way out. However, for foreigners, the stakes are different. It’s not the same cup of coffee. They need to know where they are going. And they need to know with certainty.
This trail, as fine as silk woven between tall grasses and dense bushes, sometimes reveals modest clearings where light plays with shadows in an enchanting dance.
At its end, the path joins the Route des Censières and turns left.
The Route des Censières, a haven forbidden to vehicles, welcomes the walker with light steps, effortlessly.
The forest, in this place, distills an unparalleled magic. Further on, asphalt succeeds beaten earth. The trees offer their benevolent shade, and only the melodious song of birds disturbs the surrounding silence.

Section 5: In the beautiful forests of Jorat and Chalet-à-Gobet.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges:  route without difficulty.

At the turn of the Via Jacobi, a discreet refuge stands, offering its hospitality to wandering souls in search of rest, before continuing into the wooded labyrinths.

Continuing their journey, the walkers plunge into the solemn tranquility of the forest. Like a discreet nymph, the Via Jacobi guides their steps with an assurance that never betrays. Despite the absence of manifest signs, the discreet yellow markers, like fireflies in the darkness, illuminate the pilgrims’ path, offering them the certainty of following a well-trodden path. The murmur of nature guides the travelers towards unexplored horizons.
Further on, another welcoming refuge rises, poised like a jewel in the heart of a clearing bathed in light. In this stopping place, equipped with a large picnic area, you can arrive by car.
Here, the asphalt road gives way to a more hospitable path, winding between majestic ancient trees. Nature, in all its magnificence, unfolds its charms, inviting travelers to lose themselves in its sweet melody.
The trees, silent witnesses of the passing time, gracefully dance under the delighted gaze of the walkers. It has already been said. These are tall and slender spruces and majestic beech trees playing with the sky. White firs are very rare. There are also some maples in the Jorat-Wood, but oaks, chestnuts, and ashes are often absent.
The descent looms, drawing travelers towards new horizons. The path, like an emerald ribbon unfurled by the hands of nature itself, guides the adventurers’ steps towards the unknown. The wide path begins to gently slope towards the Lausanne-Berne road, whose rumble of cars can be heard.
Shortly after, at the crossroads, the path splits, leading travelers even lower. Now, it is a narrow path that awaits them, plunging them into the heart of the forest. Excitement rises, announcing a new stage in this enchanting saga.
The path winds its way among tall grasses and dense bushes. The song of the nearby road, the Lausanne-Beene highway, becomes more insistent. Nature reveals its duality, mixing harmony and tumult in an enchanting dance.
Further down, the horizon widens again, offering travelers the grand spectacle of ancient trees now standing majestically.
At the end of the descent, the path opens onto the Route des Paysans, winding like a thread of gold through the Jorat-Wood. 
Thus opens the domain of the Bressone Pond, a true hidden gem in the heart of the forest. Deterrent barriers mark the trails, preserving the hidden treasures of nature. But there are so many other paths and places for riders. The forests are immense, where man merges with the eternity of the woods.
The walk leading to Chalet à Gobet unfolds like a gentle stroll, an irresistible invitation to explore the mysteries of nature. From the first steps into the dark forest, a vegetal symphony unfolds before your eyes, where proud beech trees compete in majesty with white firs and spruces.
In this arboreal choreography, each species claims its nobility. Beeches and maples stand as tall as imposing firs and majestic spruces, erecting their silhouette towards the sky.
An invisible guide soon leads to the pond, a tranquil mirror nestled just steps from the path. At its edges, a clearing welcomes travelers in search of rest, offering the benevolent shade of ancient trees.
Nestled in the heart of the woods, the pond reveals itself as an aquatic jewel, a miniature universe where aquatic plants dance. Water lilies, reeds, iris, and water buttercups mingle in a living tapestry, inhabited by unsuspected fauna. Ducks, coots, and herons find refuge here, while frogs and toads animate the natural symphony with their songs. A ballet of dragonflies tinges the azure, plunging the visitor into a timeless enchantment.
Continuing on the path, the eye is immediately drawn to the “President Fir,” a living symbol of nature’s grandeur. It proudly dominates its green kingdom, resilient despite the assaults of time and the elements.
The most remarkable firs are sometimes called so by foresters because they are the oldest, largest, and tallest trees in the forest. This one has a venerable age, estimated between 200 to 300 years. Its height is around 50 meters. Struck by lightning multiple times, it has been rejuvenated. But it is not so old, it still has some beautiful years ahead if given life. Pines, firs, and spruces can reach 400 to 600 years. They can treat beeches and sycamore maples like children, which only live for 500 years, but must respect oaks of 900 years or lime trees of over 1,000 years. Obviously, these trees are newborns compared to a Patagonian cypress, which would be 5484 years old. This colossus of the giant sequoia family, which can reach 45 meters in height, thus dethrones the record holder, which was previously a Californian pine, nicknamed Methuselah, aged only 4850 years. When will a new record be set? But on the reasonable scale of the Jorat Wood, 50 meters is already high. You have to get a stiff neck to guess the top.
In this majestic portion of the forest, your footsteps echo on the Chemin des Vuargnes, a gentle path where the embrace of the trees guides you with millennial solemnity. But what are these “Vuargnes”? This is how the region names the great white fir, a venerable giant capable of defying time for centuries. Here, the white firs stand in close ranks, like impeccable sentinels, their trunks straight as marble columns, revealing only a top touching the clouds, like a celestial crown.
Further on, the path crosses an invisible border to merge into a paved road at the edge of the woods.
There, at the edge of this asphalt road, line up the vehicles of avid hikers, passionate mushroom pickers, or strollers accompanied by their faithful canine companions. Once, out of discretion, a discreet counter was erected, revealing that half a million souls tread these lands every year, in search of communion with the enchanting nature that surrounds them.

The road stretches to Chalet à Gobet, the summit of Lausanne, where a vast parking lot proudly extends along the Lausanne-Berne cantonal road, like a natural amphitheater dedicated to wonders. Chalet à Gobet, a true Garden of Eden from childhood for the inhabitants of Lausanne, sits at nearly 900 meters above sea level. In the past, when winter was still generous with snowy coats, it was here that the youngest were initiated into the delights of skiing and sledding. An embryo of a ski lift, a testimony of a bygone era, signified the joyful excitement that reigned in these places.

On the edge of the basin extends a vast sign, detailing the twists and turns of the paths of this titanic forest. A true melting pot of walkers: joggers, cyclists, horse riders, or mushroom lovers mingle in this greenery. The Jorat Wood, a true Sunday painting, offers the essence of nature just a few steps from homes. Here, getting lost is inconceivable. Via Jacobi 4 heads in the same direction as all the other listed paths. You will notice that we are still over two and a half hours from the center of Lausanne.

A wide dirt road, rocky to the touch, lazily stretches along the basin, glancing at times at green meadows, at times at undulating fields of cereals.
Further on, the trail ventures, stealthy, under the canopy, playing hide-and-seek with the sun’s rays.

It then opens onto an important junction, a crossroads of forest destinies. Via Jacobi 4, like a star in the night of paths, shines with its clear indicative.

A narrow path begins, sometimes sliding on polished logs, plunging into a marquetry of bushes to cross a stream with timid currents. 
The path then becomes more confidential, casually losing itself in the hollow of the basin, skirting the secrets buried in the bushes… 
… only to reemerge on the other side, rescued from its subterranean adventure. 
At the top of this ascent, the path follows a modest road, bordering the other side of the basin. 
It is a winding little road, engulfed by the woods, where a holiday colony nestles, like a pearl in the heart of the forest edge. 

Section 6: Between wild nature and sparse civilization.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: a quite demanding route, mostly downhill.

The Jorat-Wood stands tall like a vast labyrinth, woven with hundreds of trails, sometimes paved with asphalt, sometimes gently kissed by natural ground, intertwining, winding, rising, and falling. Once, on the main arteries, ancient granite milestones stood, silent witnesses to directions toward neighboring villages, in a time when these routes were still passable. Now deserted by cars, these roads have merged into the wooded thickness. Only a meticulously plotted route or the guidance of a GPS can ensure smooth navigation, for even the markers sometimes remain discreet. Only joggers and riders, initiated into the secrets of these trails, know their twists and turns. 
A few steps away, the Via Jacobi veers onto a wide brownish dirt road, its hue bearing witness to the slow decomposition of spruce and fir needles littering the ground.

Further on, another significant intersection looms ahead. Remaining faithful to your route, you follow Via Jacobi 4, an hour and forty-five minutes from the vibrant heart of Lausanne.

The distant hum of engines tickles your ears, a sign that the path is nearing the only road artery winding through the woods. Here, the slope slightly intensifies, but nothing in this haven of peace seems insurmountable.
On the other side of the busy road, a trail timidly plunges into the thickness of the woods.  
In the heart of this forest, spruces stand majestically in number. Sometimes nicknamed red fir because of the reddish glow of its juvenile bark, this tree dominates the lands of Jorat. Yet, it is crucial to correct this mistake: spruces are not firs, a truth reiterated endlessly.

Shortly after, another fork appears, like a crucial decision on Via Jacobi 4, deviating from the main arteries of the trails that traverse the Jorat Wood, an enchanted stage where hikers delightfully lose themselves in the twists and turns of living nature.

With confident steps, the trail soon joins a modest tarred road, which cars can tread up to the edge of the woods, before their progress is impeded by nature’s resolute will.
From here, the route stretches out in a straight line, alternating between smooth asphalt and dirt, a choreographed dance between civilization and wildness, revealing the contrasts of a perpetually changing landscape.

It is here that a new intersection looms, an invitation to backtrack towards the Chalet des Enfants, a cherished gem for tourists exploring the Jorat Wood, while your itinerary remains faithful to Via Jacobi 4, heading towards Les Buchilles and the vibrant heart of Lausanne.

A broad trail then begins, plunging into the woods with sometimes bolder slopes. Among the majestic spruces and proud beeches populating these forests, sycamore maples, field maples, and sometimes the solemn shadow of ancient oaks, lofty rowans, graceful birches, or towering Douglas firs rising up to 50 meters high, invite themselves here and there. Ash and chestnut trees, on the other hand, are rare, like jewels hidden in the secret folds of vegetation.
Further down, the path becomes less courteous, rockier, the slope increasing as the trail crosses the wake of a tributary of the Flon, this winding river that rushes down the neighboring valleys.
The trail continues its descent into the valley, embracing the contours of the terrain with an assurance that testifies to its long heritage. Since the dawn of time, the Jorat Wood has been shaped by the hands of nature, and since the year 2021, it has been consecrated as a “National Importance Park”, a well-deserved title, a distinction engraved in the earth. Here lies the largest forest massif of the Swiss Plateau, a realm of life, breath, and mystery. Now, between 10 to 20% of this sanctuary rises in free evolution, foresters only crossing its limits out of security necessity, thus letting nature play its own melody.
Each step, each breath resonates with the echo of past stories, of days when the monks of Montheron, on the borders of these woods, shaped the environment, opening clearings, planting trees in a dance with time. These hills have been the stage of a long exploitation, where man and nature have danced an uninterrupted waltz since the era of the monks. The piles of cut wood, silent witnesses to this history, stand as sentinels along the trail, reminding all passersby of the labor that has sculpted these places.

Further down, at the crossroads, a fork presents itself, offering the possibility of a return to the Chalet des Enfants, a symbol of innocence nestled in the heart of this majestic expanse. Yet, your journey remains faithful to Via Jacobi 4, a line drawn in the earth, an invitation to follow the thread of history.

The path then merges into the dense shadow of the woods, a comforting darkness that envelops each step with its protective cloak. The trees stand like sentinels, their branches caressing the sky in a gentle melody.

Then, like an act of mercy, the trail loosens its wooded embrace, giving way to open countryside, to the Barze farms that proudly stand against the horizon. We have left the Jorat Wood behind, but its imprint will undoubtedly remain engraved in your hearts, in your memories. For ten kilometers, from Montpreveyres, you have been privileged witnesses to the grace and freshness of these woods, an enchanted parenthesis far from the tumults of the modern world. But it’s not yet the end of the forest for today. One forest follows another.

A winding and twisting road, paved with asphalt, guides the steps of travelers to the peaceful hamlet of Les Buchilles, nestled in the folds of the hills. Beyond the contours of the forest, the elevated districts of Epalinges stand majestically, resembling sentinels overlooking the city of Lausanne, like vigilant guardians watching over their territory.
The path, like a river winding through the dense forest, swiftly leads the walkers to the mysterious Flon-Wood. There, among the green foliage, the air is imbued with woody scents and secret murmurs, evoking ancient tales and forgotten legends that inhabit these millennia-old places.

Suddenly, a fork appears before the hikers, offering two equivalent and enigmatic paths. In this vegetal maze, orientation becomes a challenge, a puzzle to solve. Senses must be sharpened, becoming a detective of nature, scrutinizing the smallest details of the environment. With an attentive eye, a discreet arrow reveals itself, hidden among the foliage, offering a precious guide to the left path. A sigh of relief escapes the lips of the adventurers, grateful for this providential help in their quest.

The wide path, like a ribbon of emerald descending the steep slopes, leads the travelers into a more pronounced descent through the Flon Wood. Each step brings them closer to the unknown, each turn reveals new horizons to explore. The Flon-Wood so far is a carbon copy of the Jorat-Wood. Same trees, same charm and gentleness.
However, as the path descends further, the physiognomy of the place metamorphoses, giving way to wild and untamed nature. Travelers then enter a narrow valley, where the whispers of the Flon River resonate like a distant echo, cradling wandering souls in a sense of mystery and wildness. Each step becomes an adventure, each moment a discovery, in this universe both familiar and foreign, where the boundary between reality and imagination fades away.
After a short walk, the trail opens onto a sun-drenched clearing, where the tops of the evergreens tenderly caress the sky. This green oasis offers a welcome respite to the travelers, inviting them to contemplate the simple and timeless beauty that surrounds them.
Further down, the trail snakes out of the forest, gradually reintegrating into civilized world.
Through the sleepy hamlet of La Picholette, where modest houses nestle against the hillside, travelers continue their journey, imbued with the tranquility and simplicity of rural life.

The direction is still Lausanne-Tunnel on Via Jacobi 4. You can also reach Epalinges, passing through Les Croisettes. However, there is no serious reason to opt for this detour.

Section 7: Amidst the freshness of a tumultuous river and a small lake.

 

Overview of the route’s challenges: a fairly demanding route, mostly downhill, except for the severe ascent on the highway pillars.

From here, a delicate trail begins, weaving its way through the mysteries of the undergrowth and the vast expanses of neighboring meadows, often threading between dense bushes, young beech shoots, sinuous hornbeams, and elegant viburnums of the dense undergrowth.
At times, it emerges from the confines of the meadows, as if seeking to bask in the golden sunlight, to flourish fully in this sea of greenery. 
It is then that a final glance loses itself in the verdant valleys, capturing the fleeting brilliance of wildflowers and the light dance of ephemeral butterflies.
And then, like a desperate lover, the path suddenly plunges into the meanders of steep slopes and impenetrable jungle.
The steep slope defies any attempt at easy progress, while light struggles to penetrate the thick canopy. Here, the valley nestles, nestled between two walls of molasse, like a secret jealously guarded by nature itself.
At the end of a dizzying descent, the wooden bridge finally emerges, a humble sentinel spanning the tumult of the Flon River.
This small river, patiently carving through the molasse over centuries, carries within it the remnants of a tumultuous past, when its power was once more formidable. The murmurs of the tumultuous waters still echo in the meanders of the valley, punctuated by the song of crystalline waterfalls.
However, the Via Jacobi, true to its own destiny, chooses to move away from the tumult of the rapids. It climbs gracefully but severely on wooden stairs, towards the dirt road that returns from Epalinges. Here, the Via Jacobi 4 rejoins the old route that once passed through Vers Chez-les Blancs and Epalinges. You can still choose this route which we present in the parallel stage.

In the tranquil depths of the valley, spectacular cliffs of carved marl stand majestically along the eroded earth track, descending with an almost feminine grace to embrace the sinuous banks of the river. Their imposing presence lends the landscape an aura of eternal grandeur, as if they were the immutable guardians of this verdant realm, silent witnesses to the centuries that have shaped this land.
In the heart of this enchanting tableau, the trees unfurl their slender silhouettes, rising like prayers to the ethereal sky, their branches gently caressing the clouds. Their gnarled trunks, living remnants of time immemorial, stand like protective sentinels, watching over this world of green and azure with a solemnity that commands respect.
Farther down, the path meanders slowly towards the river, this living artery of nature which, at times, delights in dancing over the centuries-polished stones, dipping its toes into the lush tufts of bushes among the majestic deciduous trees. Here, the dominance of conifers fades.
Further on, as the trail briefly wanders onto a ribbon of tarmac, a riverside house stands, defying all logic in its solitary erection amidst this wild nature. 
Further along, the path slopes up above the river on dirt, giving you the feeling that you are about to leave the valley. 
However, barely have you begun to believe that you are emerging from this vegetal haven, than the path declines abruptly, leading you towards the tumultuous banks of the river. The imposing towers of Epalinges loom ahead, erected on the cliffs like slumbering giants.
The descent is steep, the path turning into a maze of rocks beneath your feet, seeming to remind you with each step of the inherent harshness of this wild landscape. Finally, you reach a bridge spanning the river, its sober architecture harmoniously blending into the surrounding panorama, like a tangible link between worlds.
The path winds, illuminated by one of the many streams flowing into the wild river. Under the watchful eye of a heron, frozen like a connoisseur before the stalls of a luxury fish market, it seems to delicately choose its next bite.
One final effort, a brief but determined ascent, and here is the path offering a graceful descent towards the watercourse, supported by wooden logs arranged like jewels in a natural crown. Each downstream step seems to be a dance with the river, a symphony where elements meet in perfect harmony.
From this moment on, the path plays with the Flon and its tributaries, skillfully juggling from one bank to the other with an ease bordering on magic. The landscape transforms into a setting worthy of the greatest tales, captivating the imagination and inviting escape. It is not uncommon to encounter mothers here, pushing their precious bundles in strollers, offering their little ones the enchanting spectacle of nature in all its splendor.

Here, even the river sometimes allows itself some whims, taking on the airs of a capricious diva, playing with the reflections of the sun and the dancing shadows of the riverside trees. It snakes gracefully, infusing lively energy into this landscape already vibrant with life.

Further along, the path continues alongside the river, delving ever deeper into a lush forest where chlorophyll reigns supreme. The trees bend gracefully as walkers pass by, offering their benevolent shade as a refuge in this symphony of greenery.

The stroll in this enchanting Flon valley comes to an end when, looking up, the highway reveals itself in all its majesty. A striking contrast between the tranquility of the surrounding nature and the bustling life of modern civilization that stretches beyond the horizon. Here, magic happens, in this encounter between two worlds, between the reassuring calm of the greenery and the incessant tumult of civilization. And here, it’s no small feat! 

A stone’s throw away, the journey veers off at the ancient Vivarium, now residing in higher skies, nestled in the modern complex of Aquatis in Epalinges. At this moment, you find yourself at the foot of the monumental staircase, soaring beneath the majestic arches of the highway, like concrete giants crowning the heights.
Here, the challenge is unequivocal, steep, almost insurmountable. Wooden steps, modest companions, offer you the ascent to the top of the highway bridge, like rungs to the summits of the world. Each step is a challenge, each step climbed a victory over the relentless incline.
This is followed by a winding path that follows the contours of the highway, guiding you in harmony with the traffic flowing majestically on the road below. It’s a dance between man and machine, an urban symphony where the walker’s steps mingle with the hum of engines, in a sonorous urban choreography.
Then, like a jewel in the heart of nature, a wooded path unfolds, inviting you to enter the verdant sanctuary of Sauvabelin Park. The trees bend into a majestic arch, as if to welcome you into their secret kingdom, where tranquility reigns supreme.
Lake Sauvabelin, a coveted jewel of Lausanne residents, where the murmur of calm waters blends with the crystalline laughter of children and the gentle whisper of beasts. Once polluted, the lake was stripped of its copper-poisoned mud in March 2016, revealing its ravaged flanks. But man, in a moment of redemption, sealed the banks, shaped the promenade, restoring to this once-troubled lake its former splendor, like a phoenix rising from its ashes.

Naturally, you cannot spend the night here. You will need to reach Lausanne. We will delve further into the journey leading to the heart of Lausanne, as well as the path leading to its shores. However, in this parenthesis, we will also mention the ancillary journey of the ancient Via Jacobi 4, traversing the lands of Vers Chez les Blanc and Epalinges, from Montpreveyres.

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