71 Passwang–Oberaargau
71 Passwang–Oberaargau

Cycling in Switzerland

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Passwang–Oberaargau

Stage 1, Dornach–Balsthal

Route report
60 photos

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Passwang–Oberaargau

First the cool Goetheanum in a busy, densely populated urban area, followed by a dry plateau with cherry trees. The road to Balsthal leads across steep Jura passes full of flowers and guarded by castle ruins perched on rugged rocks.
The ruins of majestic Dorneck Castle are looming over Dornach with the Goetheanum below, the world centre for the anthroposophical movement. The building was designed by founder Rudolf Steiner and its architecture is characterized by organically expressive forms and the departure from right angles. Just above the train station of Dornach and Arlesheim is a fountain where three of SwitzerlandMobility’s regional bike routes meet. The Passwang–Oberaargau route (no. 71) continues up the winding pass and through the forest.

Riding past cliffs and blooming grain fields, you will spot Schartenfluh up high. At 753 m it is the highest elevation of the Gempen plateau. After almost as many switchbacks as kilometres, a myriad of cherry trees appearing on the plateau is a welcome sight. On the other hand, there isn’t a single creek or river around. The reason is the geology of the flat-topped mountain: the underground is permeable to water and full of karstic fissures and therefore the rain water quickly seeps away. The rural area before Seewen is also pretty to look at. The Museum of Music Automatons is located right on the bike route. It houses one of the largest collections of Swiss music boxes and a fascinating selection of music automatons from centuries past.

Next comes the tiny Baslerweier pond followed by the villages of Bretzwil and Nunningen, before the route continues uphill again, heading into the Fold Jura of the Ried and Nunninger Mountains. Across the Passwang pass, in the middle of the Thal Nature Park, you reach Ramiswil. On your right is a mill from the 16th century. Visitors are welcome and the mill can even be rented. With a little imagination, the rugged limestone cliffs of Mümliswil are sure to make you think of the famous natural rock arena of Creux-du-Van. And when you approach the Neu Falkenstein ruin near St. Wolfgang, you almost feel transported back to the Middle Ages. The beautiful tour through the Jura Mountains with over 1000 altitude meters – who would have thought? - finally ends in Balsthal. Now it’s time to visit the restaurant that overlooks Altes Kornhaus, a stunning building built in 1790.
First the cool Goetheanum in a busy, densely populated urban area, followed by a dry plateau with cherry trees. The road to Balsthal leads across steep Jura passes full of flowers and guarded by castle ruins perched on rugged rocks.
The ruins of majestic Dorneck Castle are looming over Dornach with the Goetheanum below, the world centre for the anthroposophical movement. The building was designed by founder Rudolf Steiner and its architecture is characterized by organically expressive forms and the departure from right angles. Just above the train station of Dornach and Arlesheim is a fountain where three of SwitzerlandMobility’s regional bike routes meet. The Passwang–Oberaargau route (no. 71) continues up the winding pass and through the forest.

Riding past cliffs and blooming grain fields, you will spot Schartenfluh up high. At 753 m it is the highest elevation of the Gempen plateau. After almost as many switchbacks as kilometres, a myriad of cherry trees appearing on the plateau is a welcome sight. On the other hand, there isn’t a single creek or river around. The reason is the geology of the flat-topped mountain: the underground is permeable to water and full of karstic fissures and therefore the rain water quickly seeps away. The rural area before Seewen is also pretty to look at. The Museum of Music Automatons is located right on the bike route. It houses one of the largest collections of Swiss music boxes and a fascinating selection of music automatons from centuries past.

Next comes the tiny Baslerweier pond followed by the villages of Bretzwil and Nunningen, before the route continues uphill again, heading into the Fold Jura of the Ried and Nunninger Mountains. Across the Passwang pass, in the middle of the Thal Nature Park, you reach Ramiswil. On your right is a mill from the 16th century. Visitors are welcome and the mill can even be rented. With a little imagination, the rugged limestone cliffs of Mümliswil are sure to make you think of the famous natural rock arena of Creux-du-Van. And when you approach the Neu Falkenstein ruin near St. Wolfgang, you almost feel transported back to the Middle Ages. The beautiful tour through the Jura Mountains with over 1000 altitude meters – who would have thought? - finally ends in Balsthal. Now it’s time to visit the restaurant that overlooks Altes Kornhaus, a stunning building built in 1790.
42 km
Asphalted: 42 km
Natural surface: 0 km
1100 m | 950 m
difficult

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Dornach-Arlesheim
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

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Traffic volume
Beware: busy main roads Dornach–Gempen and Neuhüsli–Passwang–Balsthal
Ascent Passwang
113
Ascent Passwang
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Balsthal, Bahnhof–Passwang
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 450m.
Cycle transport: limited space for bikes; no obligation to transport.
SBB Timetable

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Balsthal
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Services

Accommodation

Gasthaus zur Sonne
Gasthaus zur Sonne
Aesch
Hof Stucketen
Hof Stucketen
Beinwil SO
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Bookable offers

La Route Verte
La Route Verte
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Places

Aesch
Aesch
Dornach
Dornach
Seewen SO
Seewen SO
Reigoldswil
Reigoldswil
Beinwil SO
Beinwil SO
Passwang
Passwang
Balsthal
Balsthal
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Places of interest

Arlesheim Cathedral
Arlesheim Cathedral
Ermitage Arlesheim
Ermitage Arlesheim
The Museum of Music Automatons at Seewen SO
The Museum of Music Automatons at Seewen SO
Reigoldswil-Wasserfallen Cableways
Reigoldswil-Wasserfallen Cableways
Hair and Comb Museum
Hair and Comb Museum
Thal Nature Park
Thal Nature Park
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Signalization

Signalization
For cycling, follow the logo indicated on the red signposts. Take a printout of our web map on your tour for safety's sake.
Signalization