This hike is a must-do for botany enthusiasts. In addition to fields, the forests along the Aubonne river and the vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva, the National Arboretum can also be explored on the way. The vast parkland houses more than 3,000 plant species from around the world.
The MBC train (Morges-Bière-Cossonay) takes you from Morges to Bière, across vineyards and the countryside to the Jura foothills. The town is known throughout Switzerland as the site of an artillery and infantry military training area. From the Bière railway station, the route descends to the Aubonne river, which has its source here and flows into Lake Geneva after 12 kilometres. A pleasant trail with benches and picnic areas leads along the river. At the reservoir, the rivers Toleure and Sandoleyre join the Aubonne.
Once past the reservoir, botany enthusiasts can rejoice: above the vineyards of La Côte, a 200-hectare arboretum featuring more than 3,000 plant species from around the world awaits them. Marvel at over 200 maple species, oaks, magnolias, rosebushes, wetlands and Japanese katsura trees; they live up to their name in autumn, smelling of gingerbread and caramel. The tree and bush garden, created in 1968, is being managed by volunteers. You can choose between several circular paths with information panels. The arboretum is a delight for the eyes and nose and contributes to the conservation of species. The site includes an orchard with ancient varieties and a beautiful collection of apple trees and rosehip bushes. There's also a visitors' centre and a wood museum.
You eventually leave the arboretum in the direction of Saint-Livres. Coming out of the forest, enjoy splendid views of Aubonne and its round, white tower proudly overlooking the medieval town. The castle is a tribute to former Baron Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and his travels to the Orient. Next, the route branches off to the left and passes through Saint-Livres. The place takes its name from Saint-Libère (Liberius), Pope from 352 until 366, to whom the first church was dedicated.
Leading across fields and vineyards and affording magnificent views of Lake Geneva, the hike ends at Yens. The village sits on a ridge above the valley of the Boiron river. From here, take the train back to Morges.