The routes

Pedestrian / 5 steps / 77 km
Circular walk on the French-Swiss border starting from Maîche
Pedestrina / 5 steps / 60 km
From Morteau (F) to La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH), dive into the history of watchmaking and its smuggling past.
VTT / 7 steps / 252 km
Discover the job of the custom's officer
3 steps / 3h to 5h / 45 km
From Saint-Ursanne to Saint-Hippolyte step into the shoes of a smuggler

Paper guides

Mobile App

Your Travel Book

Your Travel Book

Your travel books Discover all travel books created by hikers, enthusiasts, photographers and illustrators, be they amateurs, well-known professionals or novices. Share your comments and vote for the best travel book. This section will be available soon. We're waiting for yours!

Discover the job of the custom's officer

7-step circular cycling route starting from Morteau (F) or Saint-Ursanne (CH), look out for the clues to dismantle a smugglers' organisation.

During your cross-border patrol around the river Doubs, you will come across numerous towns brimming with history such as La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle as well as countless stunning views over the surrounding landscape and mountains.

Foil the smugglers' tricks

During a tracking patrol accompanied by a former Basque smuggler, collect the clues left behind on the ground in order to arrest the instigator of a cross-border smuggling band.

In the shoes of a customs officer from the beginning of the 20th century, cycle along the smugglers' paths in search of clues to identify the smugglers' leader from a list of French-Swiss offenders. You will also be required to carry out daily missions, which will allow you to enhance your knowledge of the area.

During your classes at the mobile customs office of Morteau, you will enjoy the privilege of cycling across the exceptional landscape of the Valley of Doubs while improving your knowledge of the local heritage in order to expose the smugglers' tricks.

In France

In Switzerland


Carte IGN
3524 OT - Morteau Saut du Doubs
3523OT - Vallée du Dessoubre

Carte Swiss Topo
231 - Le Locle
232 - Vallon de St-Imier


Highlights of the route

The Saut du Doubs waterfall and the basins of the river Doubs, the Echelles de la Mort (the steps of death), the La Cendrée Viewpoint, the Sommêtres viewpoint and the customs officers' huts

Technical data file

The 252 km Gabelous circular cycling route will allow you to immerse yourself in the daily life of the customs officer, the "tax soldier" of a bygone era who patrolled the French-Swiss border for the purpose of tracking down smugglers.

Along the 7-step route around the river Doubs, you will have the opportunity to discover a number of remarkable tourist sites such as the Saut du Doubs waterfall and the Echelles de la Mort (the steps of death). You can either begin the trail at Morteau (F) or at Saint-Ursanne (CH). Bicycles are available for hire in both locations.

In addition to the architectural heritage of the UNESCO towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, along the trail you can also admire the ingenuity of the local men who built the Châtelot, la Goule and Refrain dams in order to generate electricity as well as the underground mills of Col des Roches.



31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape A
Pinpoint this step
Morteau MM - La Chaux du MilieuLL
DISTANCE : 41.004Km   |   ASCENT : 1022m11   |   Walking time : 5h0055

Your journey begins at the Cul de la Lune Campsite in Morteau and continues in the direction of Switzerland ascending the ridges of the Doubs valley.

Once you have crossed the border in the locality of Brédot, you will pass through  Brévine, a village which holds the record for the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Switzerland

On your way, don't miss

. The tuyé farms (for smoking meats) of the Pays horloger (watchmaker country) and the Grand Cachot farms
 The Cerneux-Péquignot boundary markers
. Lake Taillères in the la Brévine valley

A short distance from the trail

. The Obertino bell foundry in Morteau
. The Marais Rouge (Red Marsh) peat bogs of Ponts de Martel

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape B
Pinpoint this step
La Chaux du MilieuLL - La Chaux de Fonds (Suisse)LL
DISTANCE : 43.004Km   |   ASCENT : 1086m11   |   Walking time : 5h3055

During this step, you can discover two towns (Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds) that feature on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their watchmaking town planning.

Upon arrival in the locality of l’Escarpinea, stop for a break and enjoy the magnificent view over the lac de Moron and the Châtelot dam.

On your way, don't miss

. The Underground Mills of Col des Roches (Le Locle)
. The Saut du Doubs waterfall and the basins of the river Doubs
 The watchmaking urban ensemble of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, UNESCO world heritage sites

A short distance from the trail

. The International Museum of Horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds
. The Town Hall of Le Locle
. The view over lac de Moron in L’Escarpineau

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape C
Pinpoint this step
La Chaux de Fonds (Suisse) LL - Goumois (France/Suisse)GG
DISTANCE : 38.503Km   |   ASCENT : 732m77   |   Walking time : 4h3044

During this step, you will come across wooded pastures characteristic of the Franches-Montagnes, where horses and herds of cows roam freely. Not far from the village of Goumois in an idyllic setting, you will find the Theusseret falls.

Before arriving at your destination, you can also take in the view over neighbouring France from the Sommêtres mountains.

On your way, don't miss

. The Musée du Paysan horloger (watchmaker-farmer themed museum) in Le Boétchet
. The panoramic view from the Sommêtres mountains
. The La Goule dam

A short distance from the trail

. The Church of Noirmont
 The Centre de chevaux Maison Rouge aux Bois (The Maison Rouge aux Bois horse centre)
. The ruins of the old mill in Goumois

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape D
Pinpoint this step
Goumois (France/Suisse) GG - Saint-Ursanne (Suisse)SS
DISTANCE : 32.103Km   |   ASCENT : 714m77   |   Walking time : 4h44

This fourth step departing from Goumois, a small cross-border village nestled in the valley of the river Doubs, will take you to Saint-Ursanne. This village, known as "the pearl of the Jura" will captivate you with its picturesque medieval charm

On your way, don't miss

. The roue de Bollement (wooden water wheel from the medieval sawmill of Bollement) in Saint-Brais
. The Village of les Enfers
 The boat trip to Tariche

A short distance from the trail

. The dry stone walls in Les Sairains
. The view over Les Sairains in Montfavergier

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape E
Pinpoint this step
Saint-UrsanneSS - Fessevillers (Suisse)FF
DISTANCE : 29.502Km   |   ASCENT : 890m88   |   Walking time : 4h0044

Discover the old customs officers' huts. along the path that links Saint –Ursanne to Fessevillers. These huts were once used by the customs officers as an observation point as well as a place to shelter from inclement weather.

Part of the route then goes alongside the border, where boundary markers still mark the borderline between the two countries today. However, after the revolution, some of the boundary markers were hammered into the ground or destroyed.

On your way, don't miss

. The collegiate church and cloister of Saint-Ursanne
. The Church of Fessevillers and the master glassmakers of Clos du Doubs
. The boundary markers in the Epiquerez–Chaufour region

A short distance from the trail

. The views along the ridges of Épiquerez
 The Chèvrerie de l’Eldorado (the Eldorado goat farm) in Indevillers

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape F
Pinpoint this step
Fessevillers (Suisse)FF - Fournet Blancheroche (France)FF
DISTANCE : 35.503Km   |   ASCENT : 1217m11   |   Walking time : 6h1566

The one-day route will take you through the emblematic site of the Echelles de la Mort (the steps of death). In the past, people were fearful of the valley and the échelles de la mort as a result of legends and the numerous accidents attributed to this area of the Doubs gorges.

Complete your journey with a stop off at the La Cendrée Viewpoint (990 m) above the Vallée de la Mort (Death Valley).

On your way, don't miss

. The customs officers' huts.
. The Echelles de la Mort (the steps of death) site
. The La Cendrée Viewpoint

A short distance from the trail

. The Refrain dam
. The Chapel of Urtière in Saint-Roch

31lpi211l844Les Gabelous - Etape G
Pinpoint this step
Fournet Blancheroche FF - Morteau (France)MM
DISTANCE : 37.503Km   |   ASCENT : 578m55   |   Walking time : 5h1555

Diese letzte Etappe auf Ihrem Weg der Gabelous führt Sie über Les Fins, das Dorf, in dem im Jahr 1818 ein untypischer Schmuggel stattgefunden hat, nach Morteau. In der Tat musste Vater Joriot die Pfarrei verlassen, weil er am Schmuggel von Taschenuhren beteiligt war, die er in die Schweiz schmuggelte, um den Wiederaufbau und den Schmuck seiner Kirche zu bezahlen.

Entdecken Sie die Käse der Gegend in einer der Comté-Käsereien in der Region. 

Auf dem Weg zu entdecken

. Bauernhof Les Louisots
. Die Kirche St Claude in Les Fins
. Der Mont Vouillot

Etwas abseits des Weges

. Aussichtspunkt Les Philiberts
. Arboretum in Les Fins
. Käsereien

Well for walking



Office de Tourisme du Pays-Horloger
bureau de Morteau
+33 (0)3 81 67 18 53 |
bureau de Villers-le-Lac
+33 (0)3 81 68 00 98 | Envoyez un mail
Office de Tourisme de saint Ursanne
+41 (0) 32 420 47 73 |
. Weather
Before you leave , check the weather forecast 
Tél. : 08 92 68 02 21 -  refreshed 3 times per day
. Book your accommodation
Contact accommodation to pre book your nights 
. Take ID with you d’identité
Do not forget to take your ID as you cross the border and can be controlled. 
. Préparer sa randonnée
Obtain an adequate equipment and be sure to stay hydrated during your hike

Prévoyez: hiking shoes, backpack, rain gear , water bottle , sunscreen, hat, first aid kit, Swiss army knife , binoculars etc ...La time set for the steps is given for information only. This is an estimate based on an actual running time, which takes into account the length and height differences . Adjust your pace. Do not go too fast, take regular breaks and take time to marvel at the beauty of nature around you !

. Respect nature
You go hiking in a privileged environment. Help us preserve it, do not throw your garbage , do not fire and do not practice ceuillette on & rsquo; itinerary . & Nbsp; You grow in an environment of low mountain and pasture . Be sure to follow the herds and wildlife . Stay on marked trails , close the portals of the enclosure, and bypass the herds especially if young individuals composing them.

© administration fédérale des douanes (AFD) source © Laurent Cheviet © Laurent Cheviet © Laurent Cheviet