Thursday 16 May 2013

Basel Allschwilerwald Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 9.8 km (6.1 miles), terrain rolling hills

Basel running routes:
Basel Rhine River Run
Basel Allschwilerwald Trail Run
For more running routes, see Route List.

Here is a link to a brochure (in German) of the woods, including a map of all its trails

If you want to do a trail run while in Basel, here is the place to go. It also adds an interesting twist by crossing the border into France, visiting the French village of Neuwiller.

Basel sits right in the northwest corner of Switzerland, and the city limits touch upon Germany to the north and France to the west. If you want to do some trail running in the countryside, you'll have to head toward the edge of town.
In Allshwilerwald
So, to try something very different from my usual river-run, I decided to head to Allschwilerwald, a hilly area of woods and fields southwest of town. A tram-line heads right there, and the area touches the French border. It is a popular running area, and you will pass many runners along the way in the evenings.

NOTE: If you do this run, make sure you bring your passport! Although, chances are that you'll see no hint of a border patrol, you are legally obligated to carry a passport in case anyone wants to check. I only saw horses and chickens out there, myself.

To get to the start of the run, take the number-8 tram line south to the final station at Neuweilerstrasse. The line runs right through the heart of Basel.
The tram stop: run up that street on the right!
At the tram stop, turn southwest and run down Herrenstrasse for a block to the next corner. You'll see a raised, park-like area across the street to the left. There is a small reservoir pond in there.

Turn left and run to the east end of the pond, then turn right to continue heading southwest, with the pond on your right side, and a stream to your left.
Head up this trail next to the pond
After the pond, keep running along the right side of the stream. Just stay on that side of the stream for the next kilometer, no matter what other trails might branch off.

You will have woods (and a Vita Parcours) on the left, and fields from an old Swiss Army shooting range on the right. Chances are, there will be construction going on on that property: on the day after I did this run, all the old buildings were cleared of squatters, and they were torn down the same day. Apartment buildings are planned for the property.
Follow the trail on the right, past the Parcours on the left
You will start going uphill into the woods, and head through an area of garden plots. The stream will now be further off to the left, down in the little valley. You will then come to a spot with some wood carvings on the right side, and a trail branching off to the right, but just keep running straight.

At the top of the hill, 1-km after the pond, the stream will curve towards you from the left, and the path will cross over it, getting narrow. About 20 meters further, a the first trail on the right, turn there and head west, with young woods to the right (along the stream) and older woods on the left.
The trail crosses over the stream ahead, getting narrow. Turn right at the next trail!
In just another 200 meters, you'll come to a paved road, Oberwilerstrasse. Turn right and cross the street in just 20 meters, now turning left after the guardrail ends, onto the dirt road going into a field.
Crossing Oberwilerstrasse: Run to that field and turn left onto the dirt trail
This long series of fields will now head uphill, with woods to either side. Just keep heading uphill for 1.2-km, going southwest.
Heading uphill between the fields: Switzerland to the left, France to the right
For the last half-kilometer, the dirt road forms the border to France. The fields to the left are in Switzerland, and the fields to the right are in France. Keep running until you come to a yellow way-marker at the top of the hill. It will point to the right to go to the French village of Neuwiller.
Way-marker: turn right to run to Neuwiller
Turn right.

Already on the other side of the road, the signs will be in French. You will now run downhill into a pretty valley, with Neuwiller at the bottom. Many houses seem to have one car registered in France and one in Basel. The people speak the same Swiss-German dialect as the people in Basel, too.
In Neuwiller
The street is called Rue d'Oberwil. You will wind by some houses, a small school, and the town hall until you reach the main village street at the bottom.

Turn around there and head back the same way that you came. On your way back down the long series of hills, heading northeast, you will be able to see the hills of the Black Forest in Germany in the distance.
On the way back, with Black Forest on the horizon

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