In the summer, adventure is right on your doorstep! What are you waiting for? Swap your car for a pair of sneakers and climb aboard the Navette des Crêtes shuttle bus. Whether as a family or with friends, on foot or even by bike, the shuttle takes you to discover the most beautiful landscapes of the Vosges Mountains.
As for me, I set out from Nancy in the early morning for a day trip escape discovering a new concept in the Vosges Mountains. The Navette des Crêtes shuttle offers micro-adventures for a car-free outing in the heart of the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park.
PROGRAMME FOR THE DAY
Micro-adventure "La Bresse at Full Speed":
- Duration: one day
- Location: La Bresse-Hohneck ski resort
- Price: €76 per person
- A half-day of electric mountain biking with a guide on an e-MTB
- A meal at the restaurant Le Slalom (at the bottom of the resort)
- A one-way ticket for the chairlift and an afternoon hike on your own
LA BRESSE AT FULL SPEED WITH AN E-MOUNTAIN BIKE
The sun isn't even up yet when my alarm clock interrupts my sleep for a good cause: today I'm headed to the heart of the Vosges Mountains to experience several activities. I’ll be joined by my friend Robin who knows the area very well. As the train to Remiremont pulls out of Nancy station, the sun finally peeks out over the horizon. The weather report is good and I'm even more looking forward to arriving. I watch the landscapes roll by under the soft early morning light. The town of Remiremont is aptly nicknamed the "gateway to the Vosges". Green mountains extend all around as you step onto the platform. The bus station is just nearby, and I head over to wait for the Navette des Crêtes shuttle while enjoying a croissant that I just bought. Once on the bus, I marvel as we get deeper into the Vosges Mountains. I can't wait to explore them today!
We're on our way to meet Pierre, our guide for a morning of electric mountain biking. Everything is coming together for a memorable experience! The sun is already high in the sky, and it's 25°C when we arrive at the resort of La Bresse-Hohneck. We meet Pierre at the foot of the ski slopes and mountain bike trails. After some explanations and a test ride, I'm ready for around 3 hours of electric mountain biking. Pierre tells us that we'll follow a trail through forests and high-altitude lakes before arriving on the pastures of the summits. We'll see La Lande Lake and its dam that generates electricity for part of the town of La Bresse and also necessary in the winter for making artificial snow on the ski slopes. The mist over the horizon lends a mystical atmosphere to the morning. Looking up, we can already see the first peaks.
After a climb dotted with superb views and natural sites, we arrive at the foot of the Rothenbachkopf. If you are as lucky as us, you can observe chamois grazing peacefully below, not far from the Rothenbach Nature Centre. Each break along our e-MTB ride includes a few words from our guide explaining more about the fauna, flora, or heritage of the Vosges. I grew up not too far from here, and I still learned a lot of interesting facts. Then, it's time to start the descent, taking the time to go around Lake Blanchemer, nestled in the mountains. I highly recommend an electric mountain bike as a way to quickly discover a multitude of remarkable sites. In no time, you'll find yourself at an elevation of more than 1,000 m all while adapting your efforts to your abilities.
LUNCH & SELF-GUIDED HIKE STARTING AT THE CHAIRLIFT
Now it's time to enjoy a good lunch at the resort's restaurant Le Slalom. Robin orders the hamburger he was already talking about on the bike ride, and I opt for a hearty dish of pasta carbonara. I then suggest extending our lunch break with a nice little nap in the sun, before heading out on our walk.
We take the chairlift up near the Hohneck and the Kastelberg. Several hikes start at the top of the chairlift, for ramble through an extraordinary setting. What a delight to be on top of the world, surrounded by nature! Over the next few hours, we cross paths with lots of Vosgienne cows, taste "brimbelles" (bilberries), and admire the panoramic view from the upper mountain pastures. If you fancy, you can also take a break at one of the many farmhouse inns near the summits. The richness of the Vosges landscapes strikes me. Even though I come there often, I can't help but marvel at the natural, wide-open spaces and 360-degree views.
For your return trip, remember to check the timetables for the Navette des Crêtes shuttle bus. We caught the bus at the foot of the Hohneck and changed routes at the Col de la Schlucht mountain pass. Then it was time to take a starry-eyed train ride back from Remiremont to Nancy. I must admit ... we had only just gotten home, and Robin and I were already thinking about our next adventure in the Vosges Mountains.
THE NAVETTE DES CRÊTES
This service from local tourism professionals makes it simple to reach all the remarkable landscapes of the Vosges Mountains by public transport. There are 9 bus routes for an easy journey from any train station or main car park in the Vosges and Alsatian valleys
Like us, experience one of the micro-adventures offered by the partners of the Navette des Crêtes and the Vosges Mountains. Discovering wildlife (chamois), electric mountain biking, or guided hikes, there's something for everyone. Please note that the shuttle runs from 15 July to 15 August. A day pass will cost you €7 (free for children under 5) and a ticket for the Route des Crêtes (Peak Route) only is €3. More information on the shuttle's website.
SOME TECHNICAL ADVICE
There are plenty of lovely surprises in store for your day in the heart of the Vosges Mountains. But keep in mind that the weather at the summits might be quite different than at your starting point.
Be sure to bring a few items: a waterproof jacket, a water bottle, and a snack like granola bars. If you go in the middle of summer like us, sunscreen can also be a life saver. We had a nice sunburn at the end of the day! For a stress-free afternoon of hiking, make sure you have an IGN map and a charged phone. It's also a good idea to look at the different hikes ahead of time.
Discover the riches of the mountains and experience one of the many micro-adventures on offer. You can choose your adventure depending on the shuttle route of the Navette des Crêtes that you want to take. It's that simple!