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Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trails

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Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trails

Postby Rainechaser » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:19 pm

Okay, so I'm sure this is sort of a faux paus, and if so forgive me, because I am about to ask a question not strictly about climbing a 14er. It's not that I don't hope to climb one in the Swiss Alps one day, but for the time being I find myself in the position to visit Switzerland briefly and would LOVE any day hike advice from anyone who has gone there before. Namely free/cheap trails that are not super touristy yet safe. We will be staying in Zurich for 2 days, so not enough time to acclimate to much more, sadly. That and the friend I am going with is not a big hiker, so I am just hoping for some advice from anyone who has been to the Swiss Alps before on good places to go. Again, sorry if this is out of place, no disregard for rules intended.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby MtnAddict » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:50 pm

Too many to list. I lived there for a year, just google...

Bernese Oberland trails
Aletsch Panoramaweg, largest glacier in the Alps
Eiger Trail
Trails in Zermatt near the Matterhorn

These might be a little far for only a two day trip, but I have taken the train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen on a day hike.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby jet » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:13 pm

A great place to visit not to far from Zurich is Lucern. My wife and I were there in March. Lucern is a interesting town and you could spend a day there just walking around. Its at the end of a large lake. We took a boat to Viztnu(sp) which is at the base of Mt Rigi. We got off the boat and just started heading uphill thru the town. We stayed on Mt Pilatus one night, which is nearby . www.pilatus.ch , After we came down on the cable cars we hiked back up, just following roads and trails until we got into the snow. There are other trails around the lake. We wanted to explore, hike, the branch of the lake where William Tell lived but didn't have enough time. Depending on what you are doing check out the Swiss Pass. It covers all public transportation including boats, trains, buses . Hiking is pretty easy and user friendly in Switzerland. I've been on other trails in the country near Zug. We just started walking until we saw a trail that looked interesting and followed it. In the country you will probably hear the cow bells. I couldn't figure out what I was hearing the first time I heard them. Get a few cows in one spot grazing and they can make a lot of noise. Enjoy your time, we can't wait to go back.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby Rainechaser » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:01 pm

Thank you guys for the advice! I really appreciate it. I knew there had to be some free/cheap natural hiking areas other than all the tours we were seeing. Can't wait to see the alps in person after all the pictures and stories!!

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby geoffirons » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:25 pm

I lived in Europe for 10 years and spent most of my free time in CH ("Switzerland"). Zermatt is my favorite place in the world, but may be a bit too far for your available time. The Bernese Oberland is spectacular-- Lauterbrunnen, Kleine Scheidigg, Eiger, Jungfraujoch, etc. You might also look into Kandersteg-- there's a unique sideways-sitting chairlift there which takes you up to a nice alpine lake with very good day hike options. Have fun!

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby Dan_Suitor » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:40 am

Not Faux Pas at all.

The heart of the Alps is a bit south of Zurich. geoffirons list is great, but check travel times as it might take a bit of time to them, and you definitely want to spend time there when you do.

+ 1 on Pilatus, however, it is quite the popular mountain, so if you are trying to avoid crowds, this might not be the best place. For your needs, the Rigi is a little less traveled and has plenty of hiking trails. See http://www.rigi.ch/en/navpage-HikeRIGI.html

Enjoy your trip to Switzerland. You will find 2 days is not nearly enough and want to go back to stay longer.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby fleetmack » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:52 am

Trails in Zermatt near the Matterhorn


+1

I've hiked most everywhere around there, none of the trails will disappoint. Downside is it's a 4+ hour train ride from Zurich
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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby rocky » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:35 pm

Love the Zermatt area, but the travel time may limit you to a closer destination on this trip.

Train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen is only 2hrs 25min. You will pass through Interlaken. From the incredibly scenic village of Lauterbrunnen, you should take the Jungfraujoch Train which will take you to the "top of europe" -- an experience you and your friend will never forget!

Here's the link for the train: http://www.jungfrau.ch/en

Link to information about Lauterbrunnen: http://www.mylauterbrunnen.com/

Trust me -- once you've been to the Berner Oberland, you will go home and sell your grandmother's silver for the chance to visit again!
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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby quattordesch » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:28 am

I grew up in Switzerland...

There are many good suggestions already. I'll add my 0.02. Luzern/Pilatus is a good suggestion (1h by train to Luzern, 2h to Pilatus). Interlaken is great (2h by train). Davos or Arosa (2h 20min or 2h 30min by train) are great places. There are tons of hiking trails of all difficulties everywhere. Uetliberg is just outside Zurich if you want a local hike.

Here are some links which might be useful:
train schedule (includes buses, boats, and most local tranportation) www.sbb.ch
zoomable and printable topo map of Switzerland: mobile.map.geo.admin.ch
(I'm sure there is a non-mobile device site as well. In any case, click on the "i" surrounded by two circles in the top right corner and scroll down to "hiking trails". Select. This gives you ALL the trails in Switzerland. The color coding used is: yellow: anyone can do it in sneakers, paved when going through towns/villages. red: hiking trails, covers a wide range of difficulties but always marked and with a trail. Blue: only do if you know what you're doing, mostly marked but can be without trail. Altitude on the map is given im meters.)

PM if you have specific questions, I'd be happy help.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby aussie56 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:56 am

I would second Luzern - pretty awesome history as well as pretty nice if not spectacular mountains. Too bad you are not going to Geneva - awesome stuff close by.

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby Bullwinkle » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:12 pm

I lived in Geneva for 4 years and have seen the whole country. There are many good options. My favorite area for casual hiking is the Bernese Oberland:

http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/bernese-oberland1.html

This is a relatively short train ride from Zurich and there are more trails than you can count--at just about any level of difficulty. One of the nice things in that area is you can hike from village-to-village traveling very light. Your train will come into Interlaken, then you can take rail or bus up to Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. If you have the energy you can hike up. Kummerly & Frey, as well as Office Federal de Topographie make some nice maps for hikers.
As a mountain more fully reveals itself to a man, so the true nature of the man will be more fully revealed

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Re: Visiting the Swiss Alps--looking for advice on good trai

Postby Rainechaser » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:55 pm

Oh wow! Thank you all so much, those suggestions all sound awesome--I know I'm going to die having to leave after only two days. :( Thanks also for the links, that is really helpful with all of this trip planning. Switzerland is only a small part of where we are going and all the info can get really confusing, I will definitely share them with my travel companion.

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