La Chaux au Fonts-Viller de Lac
In the jura mountains, the GR5 first follows the Doubs river, then later crosses the ridge of the mountains. As the overnight accomodations are quite rare in the first part of the trail and they are often closed form September to April, the trail begins in La Chaux au Fonts. This city can be reached by train. Directly next to the railway station is a supermarket. After the supplies are filled up, the trail follows the local shopping mile. It climbs uphill and passes a vocational school. After leaving the city, it turns in the direction of Le Bassel. Here are the first signs to Maison Monsieur. The trail continues on a tarred street, and, at the first way forking left, turns to the farmstead. It descends the slope in zigzags, and later crosses several times the road from La Race. In the valley, the trail follows the road approx. 500m downstream, then crosses the Doubs on a narrow bridge. The GR5 follows the banks of the Doubs, where two huts offer rest. In front of the barrage, the path climbs up the slope, afterwards it redescends on iron stairs to the barrage. The GR5 follows the shores of this artificial lake, first through forest, then along the rocky edge. Later, where a rock forms a natural barrier, Saut de Doubs, the Doubs forms a 20m high waterfall. The dammed Doubs is popular with excursionists, small passenger liners drive from Saut de Doubs to Viller de Lac. After having passed the waterfall, the GR5 climbs uphill to the plateau. In Chaillexon, the Centre de Vacances was completely occupied, as was the gîte d'étape. The hotel de l'Union at Viller de Lac is quite cheap (24EUR), but simple.
Viller de Lac-Les Allies
The GR5 crosses the Doubs and follows to the Rue de la gare. The trail climbs over the earth barrier and leads to the next underpass. From there, the path leads uphill to Prelot. A dirt road leads across a meadow up to the farmstead, a short while back on the road and then across the meadow into the forest. At the end of the forest, the trail passes the Auberge Chauffard, crosses the D447 and heads in the direction of the Swiss border. On the ridge, the GR5 runs parallel to the Swiss border, passes a transmitting station and leads to Le Gros Gardot. Now it continues on a tarred street, where it abbreviates the road close to a chapel. It runs again on bitumen to Nid du Fol. 2km further down, the trail passes Grand Mont, and after another 2km there are two choices: You can go either directly to to Les Allies or to Montbenoît. The path to Montbenoît climbs uphill to Rochers du Cerf, turns right at the D47 and leaves the road at a barn. The GR5 passes another transmitting station and leads on a narrow path through the forest. The trail crosses the Doubs at the sawmill and leads through the village, then passes a Gîte d'étape. At the next bridge, the GR5 recrosses the Doubs, leads into the forest and then joins the road to Hauterive le Fresse. The Gîte d'étape la Perdrix was occupied, but in les Allies is another Gîte d'étape.
Les Allies-Châlet-Refuge du Gros Morond
The GR5 continues briefly on the road to Pontarlier, then turns left on a dirt road. At the end of the road, a path continues along the slope across pastures. At the mill, it redescends into the valley, where, at the next farmstead, it leads into the forest. At the Defile de Entreportes, you can either follow the road in direction of La Ferme Motte, where the GR5 branches after a short while. This rather steep trail joins the road, which climbs the hill in large serpentines, at the top. The other branch of the GR5 joins later on. The dirt road leads to the Fort du Larmont Inferieur and downhill to le Frambourg. In the village, the GR5 follows the road to Neuchâtel, turns right into the forest and climbs uphill to the Roche Sarrasine. The path leads to les Fourges (Gîte d'étape, supermarket) and to Les Hôpitaux-Vieux. Here, the GR5 climbs steeply up to le Morand. The Gîte d'étape Petit Morand was occupied, the Gardien of the CAF Chalet did not come. So that night, I had to use the bivouac bag.
Châlet-Refuge du Gros Morond-Gîte d'étape La Combe de Civies
The GR5 follows the edge for a while, then leads over pastures to Mouthe. Except for a few isolated farmsteads, which serve as accommodation only in the wintertime, no houses are in the area. At bottom of the valley, the GR5 passes the source of the Doubs. In Mouthe, there are a supermarket and a Gîte. At the Gendarmerie (the local police station), the GR5 leaves the main street, one passes a customs clearance, and after 600m, one turns right to the edge of a forest. 1h later, the trail passes Chaux Neuve ( 2 x Gîte). This area is called "La petite Sibérie", as in 1888, -48°C was measured. At the end of the village, the GR5 turns rigth, and after 2km, it turns left. It passes two barns, then joins the road to the Pré d'Haut and ends at the parking lot below the Refuge. The GR5 leads to Chappelle de Bois on a dirt road. The Gîte d'étape La Combe de Civies lies in the valley of the same name, in the village itself are two other overnight accomodations.
Gîte d'étape La Combe de Civies-La Cure
At the Mairie, the GR5 turns left in the direction of the rocks. A small trail leads to the ridge. The path is then parallel to the French/Swiss border. At the Roche Bernard, the GR5 leaves the ridge, it leads on a narrow path, later on a dirt road to Les Rousses. The last 3 km to la Cure are covered on the road, here is a railwaystation with connection to Nyon.