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Old 01.08.2009, 02:34
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Hiking in Switzerland

not sure if i have posted this before on another hiking thread but this website is really useful

http://activityworkshop.net/hiking/s...and/index.html
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Old 13.08.2009, 11:27
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Hiking in Switzerland

These are some of the most useful Sites concerning Hiking in Switzerland.

Tips for beginners to the sport, those unused walking in hills and mountains and those who haven't yet encountered the Swiss track markings for ‘walking paths’, ‘hiking trails’ and ‘mountain climbs’.
www.myswissalps.com/switzerland/switzerland-hiking.asp?lang=EN Similar basic info as the above site but also includes equipment advice. It is more geared to visitors on holiday but quite a bit is relevant for folk with little experience of hiking in hilly regions.
http://travelguide.all-about-switzerland.info/hiking-trails-swiss-mountains.html Explanation of the signposts and markings. Useful for a first timer.
http://activityworkshop.net/hiking/s...and/index.html Basic hiking advice, including tips for equipment. Various hikes with detailed info and an interesting page about GPS.
General Hiking Sites
www.wanderland.ch/en/wanderland.html This is a brilliant site with masses of information in English about routes, places to visit, books and maps etc. It is well worth spending a wet afternoon looking through all the various pages of the site. The 1:25.000 maps are a real plus.
www.wandersite.ch/def_english.html This site has a long list of helpful links (scroll down on first page). See below!
www.wandersite.ch/Kinderwandern.html Here are walks suitable for children and links to places worth visiting with them. Scrolling down the page shows paths broad and level enough for pushing a pram or a wheelchair.
www.swisshiking.ch/ or www.wandern.ch/ The good old days when red knee socks and leather or canvas rucksacks were everywhere. Gives the local addresses of the authorities who look after the upkeep of the paths. If you want your very own ‘signpost’, this is the place to get one. Site is only in German and French.
www.hikr.org/ Descriptions of hikes put on the site by hikers themselves. Hike descriptions mainly in German. A couple each in French and Italian.


http://www.switzerland-hiking.ch/ Another site with suggestions for hikes which also has suggestions for holiday planning.

http://www.summitpost.org/ For the 'serious' mountaineer. Info on routes in many countries - in English
http://www.summitpost.org/object_list.php?object_type=0&object_name_0=switze rland&page=1 - specifically Switzerland - in English

www.sac-cas.ch/Home.126.0.html?&L=3 The Site of the Swiss Alpine Club gives information about joining the organisation, gives details of their mountain huts for an overnight stay plus links with information about weather, avalanches etc.
This address which is on the list on the www.wandersite.ch was quite a surprise to me http://www.englishforum.ch, - a collection of well worth hikes
Guys, we are famous!

Wild Camping
It is very difficult to find any legal link but it seems that it is officially forbidden; in some places more officially forbidden than others. Obviously, if darkness is falling or the weather is changing for the worse in an area where to continue would be increasing the risk of an accident, it can be called an emergency measure. This Thread tells you more.
How to get to your starting point
The Swiss Public Transport System tells you pretty well everything about travel by rail boat and post bus.
The Alternatives Wandern Site has a link to the Funicular Railways/Aerial cable cars etc, under the title Bergbahnen in the list on the left. They are listed by canton and included are lesser know ones.

For hikers who have a strong aversion to cable-cars, this post details of regions which can be reached by Mountain Railways and Funiculars

Sometimes routes are marked with a sign saying -
Trittsicherheit und Schwindelfreiheit sind erforderlich
We’d normally translate the former as ‚foot-sure’ but the Wikipedia gives a more detailed description which is relevant for hikers in Switzerland.

It means being foot-sure over rough terrain.
Coordination must be good enough with sufficient reserves
The hiker should be able to assess the surface he is walking on – rock, gravel, scree, snow, earth, grass - also when it is wet/dry/icy/very smooth.
He recognises places where he has to be particularly careful because of the consequences of a fall.

It doesn't mean being able to walk without ever tripping or faltering, but the hiker should be able to keep his or her balance easily in any terrain. If he does stumble, he should be nimble enough to catch himself on the next step (not an easy proposition for tired, heavy legs at the end of a long hiking day!) and avoid more serious injury.

He should be able to judge his coordination and ability even when he is no longer ‘fresh’. The chance of stumbling increases in the afternoon as the body becomes physically and mentally tired. The hiker should be able to adjust his speed accordingly.

One can improve ones sure-footedness by practicing on rough ground where there is no risk involved if one falls. Poles may be a help but they were ‘invented’ to ease the strain on joints and they should not be used to compensate for a lack of surefootedness. Sometimes in rocky places one is better off using ones hands for support and one should regularly practice walking without the poles.

Trittsicherheit is not an absence of Vertigo – this is Schwindelfreiheit. However on many hikes both are required.
Schwindelfreiheit is the ability to walk in exposed places without excess fear. To a certain extent this, too, can be improved by practice.

The Use of Hiking Sticks - pros and cons - Info here

Winter Hiking in Switzerland.
www.wandersite.ch/WinterUebersicht.html#Prä
www.ausflugsziele.ch/schweiz/themen_ausflugsziele.asp?cat=Winterwandern# - this list includes a few snowshoe trails
www.myswitzerland.com/de.cfm/home/winterferien/offer-Home_Winter-TGWinter-list.html
www.tourenguide.ch/d/winterwanderungen/berneroberland/index.php - Canton Berne
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Last edited by Longbyt; 11.04.2013 at 17:44. Reason: added wild camping
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Old 13.08.2009, 11:38
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

Thanks Longbyt.

I would add to that start small and work up. Find some easy routes and use a map even if you don't need it so you get practice at orientating yourself. Being able to orientate yourself to the map may come in handy if you do some longer hikes in high Alpine areas. The wanderweg signs here are great, but a map is still an important piece of equipment.
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Old 13.08.2009, 12:04
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

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use a map even if you don't need it so you get practice at orientating yourself. Being able to orientate yourself to the map may come in handy if you do some longer hikes in high Alpine areas. The wanderweg signs here are great, but a map is still an important piece of equipment.
I would second that as whilst the signing here is generally excellent, there have been one or two occasions where a lack of sign, the sign being obscurred by new plant/tree growth and us failing to see it or us failing to see the signs due to conversational distraction and walking straight past it has meant in the event of not seeing a helpful passer by to ask for directions we have had to dig out the map and figure out where we were!!

The wanderland site is great as for those of you like me who are too stingy to buy all the hiking maps (at 20 odd CHFs a piece ), then you can just select the area you are hiking in and print off the map of the trail you need. You can also save the maps in pdf format for future use

Oh and for those of you who prefer 2 wheels to 2 feet, you can also bring up the cycling routes on the wanderland maps
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Old 13.08.2009, 12:31
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

Not wanting to poach people away from the EF but if anyone is interested in joining up with a loosely organised hike and getting to meet some new people then you could try this site...

Zurich hike and outdoor

I'm one of the organisers on the site and whilst I have had the last 6 weeks or so off due to holiday plans I am planning on organising a couple more hikes in the coming weeks. We still have the final few stages of National Route 5 (Jura Ridgeway) to finish and I was hoping to make a start on Route 1 (Via Alpina) in September though its likely that part of this route will have to be completed next season due to the winter. Most hikes I organise are done on Saturdays and Sundays and there's always a good crowd of people that turn up.
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Old 13.08.2009, 14:45
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

Excellent thread. I wonder if this or the wandersite.ch linked http://www.englishforum.ch/sports-fi...h-walking.html should replace our current hiking sticky http://www.englishforum.ch/sports-fi...nd-zurich.html ?

For those new to Swiss maps I recommend to download these two illustrated brochures from Swisstopo:It's true that many hiking maps cost more than 20 Fr., but it's worth considering the standard 1:25'000 maps at 13.90 Fr., too.
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Old 13.08.2009, 15:03
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

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It's true that many hiking maps cost more than 20 Fr., but it's worth considering the standard 1:25'000 maps at 13.90 Fr., too.
Also worth considering if you go to a particular region a lot, are the Swiss Map 25 computer versions.
You get all the benefits of lovely 1:25 000 detail & can overlay all the wanderweg routes, alpine trails etc, import your own or create your own & print off a very high res version to take out with you on a particular day. There's also lots of GPS jiggery pokery for those that are into that.
Initial cost seems a lot at 175CHF per region, but the Graubunden one I have covers an area of probably 20 - 25 single 1:25 000 sheets.
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Old 14.08.2009, 01:48
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

Let me add a couple of personal favorite sites:
  • Philippe Noth's Noth.ch site, basically in French but with many pages translated into English. Given my interests you may not be surprised that many of the hikes are en Valais
  • LesMonts.ch, with hikes, climbs and ski trips. Also an excellent section on huts. In French only.
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Old 14.08.2009, 02:10
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

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It's true that many hiking maps cost more than 20 Fr., but it's worth considering the standard 1:25'000 maps at 13.90 Fr., too.
To me, maps are simply not optional, period.

I know that all Swiss official publications recommend the 1:25,000 maps, but I never use them. They contain more detail than I need, and it takes four of them to cover what a single 1:50,000 map covers.

Of the 1:50,000 maps the ones I use are the hiking maps (T series): Swiss Hiking Maps 1:50 000. These highlight the trails that the Swiss Hiking Federation considers "official", making them easier to see. Of course, they make it easy to completely ignore non-official trails, many of which are very rewarding!

The Swiss hiking trail system is a living, dynamic system, with trails added and others abandoned frequently. Many of the commercial maps are not updated regularly, and show erroneous information. So stick with the SwissTopo maps, or the highly regarded (though I do not use them) Kümmerly+Frey Excursion maps (if you get the German page, just click on the English label on the far right).

And yes, the SwissTopo 1:25,000 digital maps, with the Swiss Hiking Federation trails, are an excellent investment. If, like me, you only hike in one of their eight regions they are more or less affordable.
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Old 05.09.2009, 22:26
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

My "mate" found some digital Swiss maps in .ozf2 format. With the help of a program called Demapper he converted them to .PNG format, and the resolution is excellent. Only problem is that the generated PNG files are some 132 megapixels in size... so viewing them requires a relatively new/powerful PC.
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Old 09.09.2009, 21:22
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

The Trans Swiss Hiking Trails are already on the Forum, but the link might be more easily found here. This one is to the Trans Swiss Trail 1. The other Trails are listed with the appropriate links at the very bottom of the page.

Unfortunately this part of the Wandersite is not in English but some of the info will be clear enough from the place names alone.

The parts we have already hiked along were very well marked and well-walked.

Happy hiking!
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Old 13.09.2009, 19:44
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland - Nearly all you need to know...

This Site Hikes and Walks in Central - Switzerland has a lot of ideas and helpful information. It includes a couple of places a bit farther afield too - the Napf for example. The text is in German and in English which is a big plus. GPS tracks are included.
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Old 14.10.2009, 12:08
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

For specific advice on hikes near Zürich, try this thread:

Hiking in the Zürich area
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Old 27.11.2009, 21:54
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

The site Hiking Switzerland, hiking trails for hikers, holiday resorts in Switzerland has a list of hiking trails in the major regions. Rather limited choice, but each comes with a map and the possibility to download Google Earth tracks.
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Old 12.01.2010, 19:07
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

Please can you advise where would be a good place to visit - for four or five days of hiking - during May?

We are keen hikers (just completed the UK coast to coast) so looking for a nice area to enjoy the best of Switzerland during May when Spring is starting out but ideally avoiding tramping through snow!

Welcome any suggestions.
Thank you
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Old 12.01.2010, 19:19
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

I cannot help you, since I visit in July-August to be sure that the higher passes are (almost) snow-free. The photo in my avatar was taken on July 16, 2007. Note the snow behind me at about 2,600 meters.

In May you will have lots of flowers, but will have to stay at lower elevations.

I wonder whether mid to late June might be an option? Probably still lots of flowers, and much less snow higher up.
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Old 12.01.2010, 19:36
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

Thanks for such a prompt reply. Alas, the dates are fixed 15-20 May, so we will have to head to areas that are lower, I guess, but hopefully we can still enjoy some good views.

Again, any guidance on which areas would be best would be useful as I have zero knowledge! I have been advised that Ascona and Locarno might be good - or Lucerne - but this was from non-hikers - so thought I'd ask some!

Best wishes
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Old 12.01.2010, 19:51
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

There is such an enormous variation of countryside that it is difficult to suggest one or two areas. You are probably best to look through the links on the earlier posts and produce a short list.

People may be able to assist better if you have some more specific queries.
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Old 12.01.2010, 20:12
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

We all have our favorites, so you will certainly not get a consensus here. Not that it matters; there is no such thing as a bad hiking area in Switzerland

Since you will be too early for alpine hikes you might research the lower Jura Crest Trail. I have no experience with it; as long as I am capable of hiking in the Alps I will continue to do so. But I am sure that others here will be able to tell you how worthwhile (or otherwise ) it is, and how likely it is to be snow-free in May.

Cicerone, the publishers of innumerable walking guides, used to have a book: The Jura, now out of print. You might find it in a library or second hand bookstore. The author, Kev Reynolds, is one of my favorite writers of guide books.

Whatever you decide I am sure that you will have a spectacular holiday. Pray for dry weather
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Old 12.01.2010, 20:20
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Re: Hiking in Switzerland

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Please can you advise where would be a good place to visit - for four or five days of hiking - during May?

We are keen hikers (just completed the UK coast to coast) so looking for a nice area to enjoy the best of Switzerland during May when Spring is starting out but ideally avoiding tramping through snow!

Welcome any suggestions.
Thank you
As others have said, there is soooo much choice. It depends where you're flying to. For example there are lots of great hikes within an hour of Zurich (including where I am) and at between 500 - 1000 m altitude you're unlikely to encounter snow. Go through the above links and search the forum for more info, and let us know where you're flying (or driving?) into
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