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Rhône River Loop

Follow the wide and winding river Rhône through Canton Geneva’s most accessible nature reserve.

Hiking Easy

13 km
302 m
302 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
368 m
High Point
422 m
Rhône River Loop Map

Meander down the river from Geneva’s central train station, and within 15 minutes, you’ll have left any traces of the city behind you. Classical french style buildings, tall office blocks, cars, and concrete quickly disappear. All of a sudden, you’re on a woodland path through the thriving Moulin- de- Vert nature reserve with overhanging trees, green fields with donkeys to your right, and the wide, fast-flowing river on your left. The river Rhone flows 812 km from the Gotthard massif to the Mediterranean, with 27 km through Canton Geneva. This hike takes you along the 10 km flowing out of the heart of the city, and back again.


Eventually, you’ll see the crystal clear icy blue water of the Rhone river from Switzerland merge with the murkier, milky brown water from the Arve river, flowing from France. The two colours flow side by side, creating an unusual visual contrast until they eventually fully blend. Take a break on the bridge to admire this natural phenomenon, known as“Le Jonction”, from the "Viaduc de la Jonction" bridge 40 metres past the merge.

A couple of things to be aware of: at the second bridge you come to, called Pont Butin, the path splits, one climbs up, and the other sticks close to the river. Do not take the path closest to the river, as it quickly becomes very very sketchy- an impossible steep scramble over falling rocks! Opt for the other path, which takes you up to street level, and eventually back down again to the riverbank. Shortly on, you will come to a wooden platform in the river- a wonderful spot for a picnic in the sun!

A little further on you may start to hear punk rock blaring out across the river- you’ll have reached "Porteus", a large squatted building, which was formerly a waterworks. The building was redesigned to house refugees yet when the plans fell through it was taken over by anarchists, who currently reside there until the city transforms it into a centre for art projects. You may be surprised to hear that as well as all of its elegance, orderliness and luxury products, Switzerland, and particularly Geneva, are known for being the cradle of the anarchist movement.

Just after the waterworks, cross the bridge Passerale de Lignon and follow the path along the river on the other side, back in the direction from which you came. This side of the river is more developed than the other, yet it still takes a few kilometres of hiking before you start to see real signs of being in the city again. At Le Jonction bridge stop for a well-deserved treat in Cafe de La Tour's beautiful garden. (https://www.cafedelatour.ch/)

Try a different kind of adventure In summertime Geneva’s residents like to take advantage of the fast flow, taking to the river in rubber dinghies filled with snacks and beer and pumping music. Beginning from Geneva centre (the same starting point as the hike), groups flow all the way down to France, enjoying the sunshine and stops along the way, before hopping on the bus back to town.

Sources https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/experiences/route/sentier-du-rhone-from-the-city-on-the-rhone-river/ https://www.thelocal.ch/20180912/from-anarchy-to-onion-heads-the-locals-az-of-essential-swiss-culture http://www.geneva.info/jonction/



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Water features
  • Family friendly

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Guidebooks in this area