Location: Canton of Fribourg, on the Jaun Pass road, after Bulle et Broc
Description: Difficult hike to the typical topography of this region. Steep climbs and descents. If you are strongly subject to vertigo, this hike is not for you.
Total length: about 11 km
Effective walking time: 4 to 5 hours
Positive and negative difference in altitude: approx. 900 meters
National hiking map 1: 50,000: 252 Bulle
Best period: May to October
From the church of Crésuz, follow the roads “Praz à la Tiennaz” and then “Praz-Derrey” towards Mont Bifé. At the end of the road, the path runs along the Route des Planches for about 600 meters. When you reach Planches Road, head west for about 50 meters to take a road to Mont Bifé. This is the road to Essertex, which you follow until the junction of the road of the Petits Monts. At this junction follow Mont Bifé, Vanil des Cours via a forest road. 100 meters after the hairpin of this forest road, you leave the road to take a very steep path in the direction of the alpine chalet “Les Petits Monts”. Fifty meters after the alpine chalet, the route separates in two (Mont Bifé or Vanil des Cours). For Mount Bifé, follow a not very marked path, which climbs along the grassy ridge along the fence of barbed wire grazing. Subsequently there is no more difficulty to follow the route “Mont Bifé, Vanil des Cours”. After the cross, as the road crosses pastures, it is a little erased by the traces of cows. But you will find regular signs.
When descending the “Vanil des Cours”, leaving the forest when you reach the place called « Le Commun Derrey” there is a sign for “Les Cours”. There is a path that goes to the alpine chalet. Do not borrow it. When you arrive at the alpine chalet there is a sign that asks tourists to spend 30 meters above the chalet! Therefore, from the Les Cours signpost, there is no path for about 500 meters. The general direction is as follows: you pass about 30 meters above the alpine chalet and head for a saddle-shaped pass. From the top of the pass, follow the direction of the signpost, straight up to a big fir tree on the trunk of which is the proper signage and you leave the pasture by a door on the right. Beware there are many false traces, many hikers have to look their way!
The path crosses an austere forest along the southern slopes of Vanil des Cours. When you reach the “Cours” alpine chalet (beware there is no path from the forest exit to the alpine chalet, but a directional peg), follow the direction “Crésuz” by a road Alpine. Once at “Utsets”, return towards “Crésuz”, direction West.
As you walk along the ridges of Mont Bifé and Vanil des Cours, you can admire on one side Lake Gruyère and the other Charmey, Lake Montsalvens and Gastlosen.
This hike can be done in both directions. The famous thermal baths of La Gruyère are located in Charmey (2 km). After your hike, enjoy going for a swim. It’s a good way to relax the muscles and admire the panorama from the outside pools.