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Local knowledge: Four spectacular hikes around Zurich

Ashley Franzen
Ashley Franzen - [email protected]
Local knowledge: Four spectacular hikes around Zurich
A restaurant at the Grosser Mythen in Switzerland. Photo by Julian on Unsplash

Switzerland is known for its stunning scenery, but how can you make the most of it? The Local spoke with an experienced hiker to find out how you can spend time in nature around the Zurich area.


Hiking is a great way to see Switzerland’s trails, waterfalls, and stunning vantage points, including the Alps which run along the southern part of the country

However, proper preparation can make trips more enjoyable and safer. Veteran trekker and hiking enthusiast Silvie Asler, originally from Germany and now based in Zurich, suggests carefully planning out a hike and the items needed, no matter how short the trip is supposed to be.

"We’ve had so many situations where, for example, the cable car wasn’t going, or it was raining," Asler, who is a member of the Zurich Hiker’s Club, told The Local.

"You know, you should always plan your hike and always know if there are shortcuts. Know where the next bus station is, know how long it takes you to get back to the car; properly plan the hike."

READ ALSO: How to keep safe and avoid problems when hiking in the Swiss Alps

There is a difficulty scale (which runs from T1 - the easiest - to T6 - the most difficult) that should be considered during the planning phase, and people should think about their fitness level and limitations.

"Check the difficulty," Asler added. "Also know the level of what your kids or your family are able to do, and always have a Plan B."


With access to numerous routes for hikers of all experience levels, Zurich is a great base to explore from.

Here are four great hikes in and around Zurich that will get you out in the fresh air, build up your experience in nature, and help you train (if you want) for longer, more adventurous hikes in 2023.

1. Uetliberg

Located next to the city of Zurich is Uetliberg, the tallest hill in the area, measuring at 870m. Providing great views of the city (and the Alps to the south), there are numerous reasons why this hike is popular among locals. One of which is the accessibility on the way up.


There are numerous ways up the hillside, from an easy route to narrow and steep pathways. There is even a station perched atop the hillside, so hikers can opt for a ride down instead of walking back down. There is also a hotel and restaurant offering overnights and packages.


With public transportation, Uetliberg can be reached in about 20 minutes. Otherwise, it’s about 15 minutes by car. The hike is between a T1 and T2 difficultly and takes between 45 and 90 minutes from the bottom to the top, depending on the route you use and your fitness level.

Uetliberg, Switzerland.

Uetliberg, Switzerland. Photo by Mircea X. on Unsplash


2. Grosser Mythen

This picturesque mountain is a bit further out from Zurich, but worth the trip. The route is short, albeit steep, and is better suited for people with some experience hiking.

On the steeper parts, there are staircases and chains that make the trek a bit more doable, but it’s still a medium-difficulty hike (it's considered a T3). There is a 360 degree view from the top of the summit and, almost amazingly, a small restaurant with eats so you can rest and refuel.


Public transport will have you to the Rotenflue cable car in just over an hour (1 hour 10 minutes) and driving from Zurich is about 50 minutes. Hikers start and end at the cable car and the altitude of this peak measures 1898 meters high. Hikers can expect the route to take about three hours.

3. Zugerberg

Just a short distance away from Zurich, and up the hill from Zug, is Zugerberg - an easy to medium hike that’s perfect for people (and families) of all fitness levels. Zugerberg is a great hike year-round because the terrain is relatively flat once you’re up on the hill.

Prime features of this hike are the fantastic views and the various trails that one can take back down the hill. There’s even a scavenger hunt along the way to keep the younger hikers engaged and moving forward. There is a playground and grill area with multiple grills about 10 minutes’ walk away from the funicular.


With public transport, you can be in Zug in about 20 minutes (driving takes a slightly shorter time). From the Zug train station, you’ll take the number 11 bus to Schönegg, where you can opt to take the funicular up or continue on a nearby trail up to the summit. Hiking up takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Zugerberg, Switzerland.

Zugerberg, Switzerland. Photo by Peter Wormstetter on Unsplash

4. Zwei Tobelwanderung Loop from Küsnacht

From the Küsnacht Train Station, it’s onward and upwards towards the bridge and the waterfalls. This hike takes you for a 11.55 kilometre loop that is solidly a T2. Moderate fitness - and a sure-footed stride - are necessary. Along the way, you’ll find “dragon holes” in the rocks among several other geological highlights. The trail is maintained and friendly enough to bring the kids, but older, more-experienced kids will probably enjoy this hike more.


Just a short drive from Zurich, Küsnacht sits along the Lake Zurich, north of Erlenbach. It’s a short jaunt up to the trail head from the Küsnacht train station. The train trip takes about 10-15 minutes from Zurich’s main train station. The trail loop takes 3 hours and 18 minutes to complete.

  • For more hiking inspiration and ideas, check out Silvie Asler’s Instagram The Zurich Hiker’s Club is a good way to meet foreigners and locals alike who want to get out and hike. Trains and public travel information can be found at


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