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Swiss Hikes - Others

The following are some hikes which haven't quite made it into the list of recommendations. However, the information here may help if you're exploring these areas yourself. These haven't been written up in full, either because they require more research, (perhaps at a more suitable time of year), or because they're not really day hikes in the same sense as the others. See also other multi-day hikes for longer options.

Pilatus

There are several short walks on the top of Pilatus, which are very scenic and worthwhile, but they don't belong in the same category as the other Swiss hikes. Any tourist information centre will give you a brochure on the so-called Golden Roundtrip from Luzern, with boat, cogtrain, cable car and bus. As a day trip (with your non-walking visitors), it's highly recommended, but the short walks around the top are more or less incidental to the tourist trip experience. Of course, you can also hike up Pilatus yourself, but it's a steep pull up and the hordes at the top could be a bit off-putting!

Ratzi - Biel

profile of the hike
The hike from somewhere above Ratzi to Biel

This is listed on their website as a "Winterwanderweg", but here our definitions don't coincide. Almost no signposting, and knee-deep snow, turn this short walk into an exhausting endeavour if you haven't got snowshoes. The area itself is beautiful, high up in the valley East of Altdorf, but is definitely more suitable for skiing or snowboarding (if you don't mind drag lifts) than winter walking. See wandersite.ch for more information on this walk. This stretch from Ratzi to Biel also forms part of the Schächental Höhenweg, one of the options in the Alpine Pass Route. Update: there is a shorter "Rundweg" in a loop from the top of the Biel cable car (park at Bürglen in the valley and get a return ticket for CHF17) - this was at the time of writing (March 2005) signposted and packed, giving some non-too-challenging walking high above the valley. Biel is also the end of the Chinzig Chulm hike from Muotathal.

Hoher Kasten

There's a variety of loop walks around or over the 1800m Hoher Kasten, with spectacular panoramas around the Appenzellerland. Alas, at the time of research, the snow conditions were not favouring an easy hike, so this will have to wait for another expedition. Check the bus connections from Weissbad to Brülisau, as when the bus isn't running, you'll have at least an extra 45 minutes' walk each way from there. You can also take the cable car (see link) to whisk you up to the summit, saving the almost 900m of ascent. If you like your scenery wild, then this area is worth exploring.

Belp

Any place with the name of "Belp" had to be worth visiting, and with its own "Belpberg" who could refuse? A scenic, rural, agricultural area not far South of Bern, with fairly undemanding walking and decent panoramas of the Alps. An easy suggestion is given (in German) by tourenguide.ch, going over the Belpberg and back down to Kaufdorf.

Wildspitz

There are superb panoramas from the summit of the Wildspitz (N 47°05'04.0, E008°34'39.3), as although it's only 1580m altitude, it's right in the middle of the central Swiss peaks, giving views towards Rigi, the Mythens, the Glarner Alps and several lakes. There is convenient access from Arth-Goldau, Unterägeri, Walchwil and Sattel, but some routes can be quite tricky (including handrails and ladders!).

Pizzo Centrale

panorama from pizzo centrale

Panorama from the top of Pizzo Centrale (snow in August!)

Very close to the Gotthard pass and the ski resort of Andermatt, the peak of Pizzo Centrale (N 46°34'41.2, E008°36'53.9) is either 2999m or 3000m depending on which map you use, and thus claims the "highest Swiss walk so far" title in my book. The views from the top are stunning, if somewhat bleak, and the path up to the top is not too difficult. The bus brings you all the way up to Gotthardpasshöhe at 2090m, so the climb isn't too strenuous either. The only snag is that it's a bit of a dead-end without some scrambling, so you may find yourself having to retrace your steps back to the pass.

Pfannenstiel

Something of a contrast from the dizzy heights of the Pizzo Centrale, this is a lowly 850m hump on the Eastern side of the Zürichsee. Very convenient to reach from Zürich, there are a variety of paths (and bike tracks) all over the broad ridge. The metal tower near Hochwacht (N 47°17'26.5, E008°40'23.1) lets you look out over the treetops to the Zürichsee, with Rigi, Pilatus, the Glärnisch range and Säntis, or down the other side to the Greifensee. One of the many popular options involves taking a boat to Meilen, walking up through Toggwil to the top (there's a restaurant at Hochwacht), and then down to Forch to take the S-bahn back to town.

Stanserhorn

profile of the hike
The hike over the Stanserhorn

The views from the top of the Stanserhorn are fabulous. From the heart of Central Switzerland, you get an amazing panorama of Pilatus, Rigi and the Vierwaldstättersee on one side, and the Walenstocke, Titlis and the whole Berner Oberland on the other (see picture at edlibaer's page). The summit (N 46°55'47.2, E008°20'24.6, 1890m) is almost 1450m higher than Stans, but it's an easy (if quite strenuous) climb. Or a train and cable car can take you up between April and November. If you climb up, don't miss the lookout point at Blatti (N 46°56'07.8, E008°22'08.3, 1564m), with sudden, breathtaking views towards Engelberg. This is just waiting for more research to find a better route down - the path to St Jakob is poorly signposted and not particularly recommended. See the excellent guide at stanserhorn.ch (under "Hiking" -> "Different Hikes" in the English menu) for more suggestions.

Flumserberg

flumserberg

Easy walking in Flumserberg

The ski resort of Flumserberg currently (Oct 2004) has a Railaway offer with a round-trip ticket including cable cars up and down, and an opportunity to do the "GeoTrail" (flumserberg.com link no longer working). This very easy, very short, family-oriented walk provides good scenery and lots of flowers, and there are lots of other alternatives as well. Just be careful of the early closing times of the cable cars and the early closing times of the buses from Tannenheim down to Flums.

Heinzenberg

profile of the hike
Heinzenberger Gratweg

West of Lenzerheide, near Thusis, is a ski- and hiking area called Heinzenberg, with a relatively easy, although exposed, ridge walk from Ober Tschappina to Präz. Passing over Glaser Grat, Tguma and Präzer Höhi, it's a good 19km, 5/6-hour walk up to 2160m, with around 800m up and 1170m down. A description of the hike (in German) is at wandersite.ch, and online maps of the area can be found at thusis-viamala.ch and heinzenberg.ch.


Grimselpass

Oberwald

Winter walking above Oberwald

West of Andermatt, the train takes you through the Furka tunnel to the head of the Rhone valley at Oberwald. From there, during the summer, road traffic winds up to the Grimselpass and Furkapass, but in the winter the area is left to walkers and skiers (especially cross-country skiers). The road from Oberwald to the Hotel Rhonequelle is beautifully packed and prepared for walking, with just the occasional snowmobile for company - this makes an easy hour of uphill walking, no snowshoes required. From then on, the (unsignposted but packed) path leaves the road to the left, zigzagging its way up through the trees towards the Grimselpass and providing great views out over the valley. This walk is described (in German) at wandersite.ch, although at the time of our research the snow was too soft to allow an ascent all the way to the pass without snowshoes, so it was necessary to return the same way. With snowshoes it should be possible to reach the pass and return along the road to the hotel Rhonequelle, making a loop rather than a there-and-back.

Klewenalp

On the south side of the Vierwaldstättersee, between Stans and the Rütli meadow, the ski resort of Klewenalp (klewenalp.ch) is easily reached by cable car from Beckenried down on the lake shore. Easy, short loop walks at the top provide panoramas over the lake and across to Rigi and the Mythens. You can also make a longer walk with a round-trip ticket, going up with one lift and coming down with another, for example with the Niederrickenbach-Dallenwil cable car or the Stockhütte-Emmeten cable car.

Hirzli

Just West of Ziegelbrücke overlooking the Walensee and the canal leading to the Zürichsee, the 1640m peak of Hirzli is not amazingly high but if you climb all the way from Ziegelbrücke (420m) it's a hefty ascent. Alternatively there's a cable car from Niederurnen to Morgenholz (980m) to take the bulk of the strain. Once on the top, apart from the lofty views, there's a nice loop walk via Ober Planggen and Muesalp back to Morgenholz.

Pizol

pizol plot
Plot of the 5-lake hike on Pizol

The so-called "5 Seen Wanderung" (5-lake hike) is one of the main summer attractions at Pizol, between Sargans and Bad Ragaz. It starts from the top chairlift station at 2224m and makes a clockwise loop over 3 ridges (up to just over 2500m) before dropping down to the lower chairlift station at Gaffia (1870m). It's all clearly signposted, and on a sunny weekend there can be many people with the same idea - it can turn into something of a procession. From the chairlift station head right and uphill, climbing up to Wildsee-Luggen, then right and a steep (and very slippy if snow-covered!) descent to the Schottensee. Then it's a longer and panoramic ascent to Schwarzsee-Plangg with superb views in all directions; then down to the Schwarzsee and up the other side to the "Steinmännchen Garten" opposite. From here it's a long descent past the Baschalvasee to finish at Gaffia for the chairlift down (last lift at 5pm). Ascent is around 550m, descent 900m, so it's a reasonably tiring but very rewarding excursion. This hike and some others are described at pizol.com and details of the railaway offer at railaway.ch. A German description of this hike is available at wandersite.ch.

Holzegg in the Winter

panorama from muesliegg
Panorama in Winter from Müsliegg

At the top of the ski resort of Brunni, directly underneath the Grosser Mythen, Holzegg makes a good start point for a loop walk in winter on cleared trails with panoramic views. This route takes part of the Schwyzer panoramaweg past Rotenfluh to Ibergeregg, then drops down to Grossenboden and back round to Müsliegg before returning to Holzegg. The trail is clearly marked, with other possibilities indicated by pink signposts. This loop is around 7 kilometres with several restaurant opportunities along the way. It crosses a few ski pistes which can be awkward when it's busy, but the views are spectacular.

Stoos in the Winter

There's a shortish winter walking path cleared in the ski resort of Stoos above the Muotatal near Schwyz. Starting from the bottom of the Sternegg lift, it climbs the side of the piste past the top of the jump park and round to the base of the Klingenstock lift. From there it drops down to the left, clearly marked, and makes a wide loop (partially on the road) to return to Stoos just by the funicular station. Access via Schwyz and Schlattli is good, the paths are cleared, the restaurants are good and the views of the Vierwaldstättersee and the Muotatal are rewarding.

Upper Engadine

profile of the hike
Along the Silsersee and Silvaplanasee

The upper Engadine valley offers some wide scrubby landscapes at surprisingly high altitude, and some attractive lakes reminiscent of northern England. It's in a remote far corner of Graubünden but not far from the famous (and expensive) St Moritz. Reached by train via the Vereina tunnel and the lower Engadine or over the spectacular Albula pass and Tiefencastel, even the journey provides plenty of interest. This is one example of a lower-altitude walk for the early season, from Maloja (N 46°24'12.6, E009°41'43.1, 1805m) it's a very easy stroll along the southern shore of the Silsersee through Isola to Segl Maria, and continuing around the Silvaplanasee to Silvaplana (N 46°27'43.8, E009°47'48.3, 1806m). The impressive waterfall on the way to Silvaplana makes an interesting diversion.

On Wikipedia there's a nice photo of the two lakes passed here, taken from a little higher up.

Chinzig Chulm

This long and strenuous hike starts off from Muotothal Hintere Brücke bus stop (N 46°58'23.3, E008°46'24.6, 627m), in the side valley from Schwyz past Stoos. It climbs southwards through Liplisbuel and Schafbiel to reach the deserted ridgetop of Chinzig Chulm (N 46°54'25.9, E008°43'31.0, 2073m) after a long and hefty ascent. The descent on the other side continues through Stelli to Biel, where there's a cable car down to Brugglen, or a pleasant traverse to Ruogig for an alternative cable car down to the valley. The whole thing takes a good 1500m+ of ascent though, and around 19km, so it's for fit legs only.

Chli Aubrig

This pleasant and easy circular walk starts and finishes at Sattelegg (N 47°07'35.5,E008°50'49.6, 1194m), a short drive from Einsiedeln over the narrow bridge across the lake, and then up to the pass, where there's a restaurant and ample parking. Follow the signs to Chli Aubrig, the smaller of the two main peaks in the area. This leads south to Wildegg, where there's another restaurant and great views. Then a worthwhile side trip heads up to the tiny summit of Chli Aubrig, with views in all directions including Hoch Ybrig and the central Swiss peaks of Rigi, Pilatus and the Mythens. Back from Wildegg, the return route continues round the eastern side of Chli Aubrig and back north to Sattelegg.

Triftgletscher

Between Meiringen and the Sustenpass, the cable car Triftbahn gives access to a wild landscape around the Triftgletscher. A major attraction in the area is the 100m long hanging bridge 70m above the river, overlooking the spectacular glacier. It's possible to do a day hike here taking advantage of the cable car although it's better to make it a two-day hike staying at the Windegghütte. See other multi-day hikes for more about the two-day options.

Säntis

At 2500m, Säntis is the highest mountain in northeast Switzerland and by far the most prominent point around this area. The north face is especially steep, and offers an interesting hike up from Schwägalp (N 47°15'21.6, E009°19'11.5, 1360m), conditions permitting. The narrow and precipitous path winds up the sheer cliff to Tierwies (N 47°14'55.2, E009°19'43.9, 2085m) with a hut perched on the sharp ridge (only open during the summer). From there the path follows the ridgeline towards the summit, culminating in a cable-guided scramble to the looming communications complex (N 47°14'58.1, E009°20'36.2, 2494m). The views out over the northwards plains, west to the Zürichsee, Rigi and Pilatus, round to the Churfirstens and the Rhine valley to Liechtenstein and Austria, are all spectacular. And the sharply-drawn geography of the ridges down to Seealpsee and Wasserauen, with Hoher Kasten beyond, is stunning. Note that the steep north face of Säntis keeps snow surprisingly long into the summer months, making the route rather dangerous.

From Wasserauen (N 47°17'11.4, E009°25'43.8, 870m), there are a couple of options to climb to the top of Säntis, either via Seealpsee, Meglisalp, Rotstein and the Lisengrat, or via Seealpsee and Unter Messmer. Both routes obviously involve a lot of climbing though.

From Wasserauen you can also take the cable car up to Ebenalp (N 47°17'04.8, E009°24'40.7, 1590m) from where a dramatic ridgetop hike leads via Schäfler and past the Öhrli to the summit. But despite the cable car it's still over 1200m climb to Säntis. A return hike via Messmer, Altenalp, Äscher and Wildkirchli is extremely scenic but puts the total climb/descent to over 1700m. Descending via Seealpsee all the way to Wasserauen instead reduces the extra climb but puts a long long descent on the knees.

Roggenstock

This lesser-known peak next door to the Hoch Ybrig ski resort offers easy walking and great panoramas. One option is a loop walk from Oberiberg (N 47°02'23.3, E008°46'54.8, 1087m), climbing to Tubenmoos and looping clockwise via Roggenegg up to the summit of Roggenstock (N 47°01'23.8, E008°47'23.0, 1772m). After retracing the path back to the junction, the clockwise loop continues via Fuederegg and Adlerhorst back to Tubenmoos, where it rejoins the outbound path. All of the walk is on easy paths apart from the short section up to the summit and back. There are occasional geological information boards along this walk but all are scientific and unintelligible for the layperson. A full description is at gruxa.ch in English and German.

Wägitalersee

An easy stroll for an autumnal day is around the Wägitalersee, a smallish mountain lake east of the Sihlsee and south of the end of the Zürichsee. The walk follows the road, which will be too tame for many, but the roads are quiet and the changing views are spectacular with beautiful Autumn colours. The bus from Siebnen-Wangen takes you on a scenic rural route southwards up to Innerthal (N 47°06'20.6, E008°55'11.8, 906m). The restaurant at Au (N 47°04'12.8, E008°54'43.4, 910m) is almost exactly half-way round the lake, taking around 1h30, and about the same again to continue round the lake back to Innerthal. There are hourly bus connections back to Siebnen-Wangen with connections to Ziegelbrücke and Zürich.

Bürgenstock peninsula

A small peninsula jutting spectacularly up out of the Vierwaldstättersee, Bürgenstock is just across the lake from Rigi and is famous for the Hammetschwand lift (see wiki) clinging to the cliffside. Transport however is difficult, with only occasional buses and boats serving the area. An immaculate old funicular climbs up from the lakeside to Bürgenstock (N 46°59'47.3, E008°22'43.7, 860m). By car the best place to park is just before the hotels in the provided car park, or alternatively at the car park at Honegg.

Currently the spectacular Felsenweg along to the base of the Hammetschwand lift is closed (due to rockslides), so the alternative route follows the signposts towards Hammetschwand, up steeply through Hauwald to the top of the lift (N 47°00'03.5, E008°23'46.4, 1120m) where you get great views including Rigi, Pilatus, the Stanserhorn, the valley towards Engelberg and the Titlis massiv beyond, Klewenalp and the ridge towards Rütli, the Vierwaldstättersee, Luzern, and several other smaller lakes. A reasonably short loop walk can be made by descending steeply through Chänzili to Mattgrat, then returning along the road past Honegg to meet the outbound road below Hauwald.

Maderanertal

This small and picturesque valley cuts into the mountains to the east of Amsteg, between the Vierwaldstättersee and Andermatt (see openstreetmap). There are a number of one-day and two-day walks here, perhaps overnighting at the Windgällenhütte (N 46°47'24.6, E008°45'20.2, 2028m) if it's not already booked out (it's popular). Buses go regularly between Erstfeld and Talstation Golzernbahn.

One of the many day options is to start from the top of the Golzernbahn cable car at 1390m (only takes 8 people per trip, 8 CHF one-way), traverse to Seewen, and then climb up above the Golzernsee to the hut. There are then a few options for the descent, including a high traverse back to Oberchäseren and back down to the top of the cable car, or a short sharp descent from the Golzernsee down to the river to the southeast, or a longer, perhaps hairier, descent along the Sennenweg to Balmenegg. The route back alongside the roaring river is very pleasant but descends a long way.

Hundwiler Höhe

There's a short, steep and rewarding loop hike to the top of the Hundwiler Höhe starting and ending at Zürchersmühle (just north of Urnäsch). You get great views over Appenzell and the Alpstein massiv, with Kronberg in front of Säntis, and in the other direction a great contrast of flatland to the north. Here's a GPS track in gpx.gz format (open in a tool like GpsPrune to transfer to your GPS), and more information at wanderland.ch.

Alvier / Margelchopf

There's an interesting range of mountains called the "Alviergruppe" between the Walensee and the Rheintal, just north of Sargans and kind of continuing the sweep of the Churfirstens. As well as looking westwards down the whole length of the Walensee, it also looks across the Rheintal to the three sisters range, and also northwards to the Alpstein massif with Säntis and Hoher Kasten. The only snag is that it's fairly inaccessible, at least by public transport. Amazingly for Switzerland there are no buses, and no cable cars. If you have a car though, you can park at Berghaus Malbun (no, not the Liechtensteiner Malbun, the Buchser Malbun) which is up a long winding road from Buchs.

From the car park at N 47°08'50.0, E009°26'02.1. 1350m, you have a straightforward climb up to Alvier (N 47°06'35.5, E009°24'53.0, 2340m) and/or to the Margelchopf (N 47°08'45.2, E009°23'56.9, 2160m), but visiting both requires a fair bit of drop and climb. The views are stunning though, and it certainly feels remote. There's also a German language description of a Margelchopf loop by a German hiking group.