Creux du Van

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The Creux du Van
Alpine ibexes at the Creux du Van
A picture of sunset taken at the summit of the Creux du Van.
Creux du Van Pano.jpg

The Creux du Van is a natural rocky cirque approximately 1,400 metres wide and 150 metres deep, on the north side of Le Soliat.[1] It is located in the Val de Travers district, in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. A very well known, amphitheatre-shaped natural attraction of the area, it is located at the heart of a nature reservation area of 15.5 km2.


The rock arch of Creux du Van was created in 3 phases:

Phase 1: A glacier was covering the area of today's Val de Travers around 140 million years ago (Würm Ice Age). The river stream of the melt water eroded material, making a V-shaped valley.

Phase 2: During new ice ages, other glaciers were created and hollowed out the valley. In warmer periods, the material was eroded by the meltwater.

Phase 3: After the removal of the rocks from the geological fault, another stronger layer from a different age makes the erosion much slower.[2]

See cirque for a description of the process forming features like this.

The underground of the Creux du Van remains frozen to this day. In technical terms, this is called permafrost, a scenario in which there is permanent frost at a given location.[3]


Ibex were introduced in the area in 1965. As of 2009, there are 17.[citation needed]


The summit area can be reached on foot or by car. A paved road from Saint-Aubin-Sauges (on Lake Neuchâtel) or Couvet (Val-de-Travers) climbs to la ferme du Soliat (1,382 m), which is located a few minutes walk away from the summit of the rocky cirque. Some hiking paths are indicated, via les petites Fauconnières.

Notable trails in the areas include:

  • Le sentier des quatorze contours (the path of the 14 bends) is a reputed itinerary that starts in Noiraigue (Val-de-Travers).
  • Le sentier du Single leads to the summit directly from the area called La ferme Robert.
  • Other paths, however unmarked, allow the access to the summit via la crête du Dos d'Ane or also from la Fontaine Froide via le Pertuis de Bise (a breach into the wall of rocks).


Panoramic view from the top

1467 Montagne de Bounty



  1. ^ Creux du Van (1:25,000) (Map). Swisstopo. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Three Top Excursions To The Creux Du Van You Don't Want To Miss". Switzerland by Locals.
  3. ^ "A practical guide to hiking the Creux du Van rock arena". Newly Swissed Online Magazine. 6 October 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-10-07. Retrieved 7 October 2021.

Coordinates: 46°55′57″N 6°43′25″E / 46.93250°N 6.72361°E / 46.93250; 6.72361