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Old 03.04.2007, 13:33
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Wild camping allowed?

Hi Folks,

With summer tentatively approaching, I'm getting ideas about heading into the mountains for long weekends once the snow has receeded a bit. I'd like to have the freedom to kip where I want, and I just wanted to ask if anyone knows the rules and regs on wild camping in the more isolated parts of the mountains.

Cheers,
Sam.
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Old 03.04.2007, 14:15
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Interesting question. I didn't know the official answer, but Lonely Planet Switzerland has some pretty good info:

"Free camping is not strictly allowed and should be discreet, but it is perfectly viable in the wide open mountain spaces, and is fairly common in places like Ticino. If the police come across you, they may not do anything (especially if you've been responsible with your rubbish) or they may move you on. A fine is theoretically possible. Farmers might let you pitch on their land - but ask first."

I've wild-camped several times here while bike touring, typically in wooded areas a short distance away from a road, and have never had any trouble.
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Old 03.04.2007, 14:47
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

As far as I know wild camping is not allowed.

I found a note on the TCS website,here it is roughly translated apologies for my pidgin english.:-D

If wild camping is allowed or not depends on the local cantonal or town laws.
It's generally forbidden throughout Switzerland along shores of lakes as well as rivers.In some cantons,for example Graubünden and Ticino it is generally forbidden to camp e.g put up a tent or station a caravan outside of a specially designated area,elsewhere you need to ask the permission of either the owner of the land or the local police.

I will keep on looking and post if i find a legal based text.
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Old 03.04.2007, 15:08
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

We have been here a few years and haven't been able to figure this one out either.

We are used to camping in the US which is somewhere between total wild camping and what we find here in campsites. in the US you pay a small fee and choose a site, and they are often in the middle of nowhere with no one "running" the campsite and you just put money in a box. The sites are by rivers and lakes and you are allowed to build a bonfire to cook and keep you warm.

Here the campsites are more like camping in someone's back yard or on a soccer field! Sometimes we couldn't even use our charcoal grill and we had to eat canned food. They were also between 30-50 euros a night in the summer!

Let me know what you find.
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Old 03.04.2007, 15:11
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Thanks guys,

Looks like it might be one of those rarely enforced rules - I guess I'll give it a go and see what happens. I'm going to be bivy'ing high up in isolated areas and obviously I do things responsibly. I'll be pitching after susset and leaving before sunrise, so I doubt anyone would see me.

Cheers,
Sam.
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Old 03.04.2007, 16:08
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Hi guys,

I frequently "stealth camp" up there, usually in wooded areas off the beaten path. I only know a couple of places where it's explicitly verboten up in the mountains, like Graubünden's NP or the Karrefeld plateau (between Braunwald GL/Muotathal SZ) which is a nature preserve.

Open fire is a no no during heat waves, otherwise use existing fire rings to grill your Klöpfer (Cervelat). Personally I prefer cooking dindin on my butane or alcohol stove so as not to give away my location.

Asking the local landowner (usually the farmer summering his cows/sheep up there) is never wrong. They'll be pleased as it shows good manners. In general they don't mind camping as long as you close fences and don't ruin/burn the place down. Or take up permanent residence...

I've even had cases where I was heading up with a big pack and a farmer saw me (it was near dusk) and remarked: "Going bivouacking, eh? Well, rather you than me " Turned out he was on first-name level with the weather gods...
http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1...39404009iphDdh
http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1...39404009GkueWw
(2nd pic, yes, that's a 50m drop-off next a couple yards away from my "bed")
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Old 03.04.2007, 16:37
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

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We have been here a few years and haven't been able to figure this one out either.
We are used to camping in the US which is somewhere between total wild camping and what we find here in campsites. in the US you pay a small fee and choose a site, and they are often in the middle of nowhere with no one "running" the campsite and you just put money in a box. The sites are by rivers and lakes and you are allowed to build a bonfire to cook and keep you warm.
Here the campsites are more like camping in someone's back yard or on a soccer field! Sometimes we couldn't even use our charcoal grill and we had to eat canned food. They were also between 30-50 euros a night in the summer!
I agree, the organized campgrounds in Europe have many drawbacks, and I often find wild-camping to be a more enjoyable experience as there aren't other people all around you and you don't pay a huge fee. However, wild-camping is difficult to do if you are car-camping, and the lack of plumbing is certainly a downside to wild-camping.

As for the bonfire, you'll have to get away from the North American mentality that one cannot camp without making a fire; propane stoves are the way to go for cooking.
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Old 03.04.2007, 16:56
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Cool. Cheers. I agree, nowt better than roughing it away from the crowds.
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Old 03.04.2007, 16:59
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

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... and they are often in the middle of nowhere...
Sorry, Switzerland's so small, we don't have a "middle of nowhere". Walk a couple of days in the US, you're still in the middle of nowhere. Here, you end up in another country
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:18
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

It's my feeling it's generally not allowed. I've often gone wild camping, but do my best to find a local to ask if it's ok. They generally give a bemused look as if to say, 'if you're daft enough, go ahead...'

One particularly nice - although not terribly isolated - place is around Quinten on Walensee. Apparently it's the warmest place in Switzerland owing to the huge cliffs of the Churfirsten mountains right behind you. As there are no cars there, it's quiet and the odd day-tripper / hiker has to take the last ferry back. The lake is only ever a few metres away and affords a great, peaceful view. Use your Primus, though and watch out for the wild pigs scavenging in the night
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:27
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

If I might be allowed to gatecrash the thread, can anyone recommend any places where it would be good to go wild camping, assuming it was actually. um, allowed?
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:31
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Sounds like a potential 80chf bourse .....
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:39
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

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They generally give a bemused look as if to say, 'if you're daft enough, go ahead...'
That's what I get all the time They probably think back to their days in the Army and the obligatory bivouacs up there...

What I also noticed is the almost absolute lack of "no trespassing" signs...

In the States you can buy 'em stating "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again"
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:46
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Not sure how it is here, but I know that in some places the no trespassing signs are the farmers way of trying to protect himself from being sued if you injure yourself on his land. Since there are public rights of way through many farms (wanderwegs) then I think there should not be a problem.

As for places to camp... One spot I have my eye on to spend a night this summer is in the saddle between Piz Nair and Suvretta, in Engadin (over St. Moritz and Silvaplana), there is a little lake there and you are well away from it all. I've only been up there during the day but it seems like a really quiet place to spend a night.
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:47
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

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If I might be allowed to gatecrash the thread, can anyone recommend any places where it would be good to go wild camping, assuming it was actually. um, allowed?
On the ridge between Wägitalersee and Sihlsee (SZ), view on two lakes
Anywhere near the Pragelpass/Klöntalersee
Panixerpass area (either coming up from Elm/GL or Rueun/GR), there's an unmanned SAC hut there (12Fr a night)
Foo Pass (coming up either from Elm/GL or Weisstannen/Sargans SG)
Klausenpass, coming up from Urnerboden (UR)
Bräch, above Braunwald (GL), just follow the arrows to Bärentritt on your way up to the Ortstock (2700m, walkable).

Actually, too many places to name, like I said, off the beaten path. The beaten path being the obvious tourist traps in the Berner Oberland (Jungfrau area).
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Old 03.04.2007, 17:54
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

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Not sure how it is here, but I know that in some places the no trespassing signs are the farmers way of trying to protect himself from being sued if you injure yourself on his land.
Ah, America, land of the multi-million dollar lawsuit.

There's no such thing over here, the concept is called "Selbstverantwortung". If you go out there, you've implicitly accepted the risk of an accident and it's up to you to inform yourself to avoid injury and get proper insurance.
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Old 03.04.2007, 18:14
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

I found this guide below from the Alpine Club, it seems to boil down to common sense stuff really, there are only two places were it's forbidden to camp, Obwald and federal nature reserves and, obviously, the usual list of cultivated fields and the likes but judging by the pictures, if you are in the wildnerness, no one will bother you. It's always a good idea to ask a local farmer if he/she is ok and buy some local products too...

http://www.sac-cas.ch/uploads/media/...biwakieren.pdf

http://www.sac-cas.ch/uploads/media/..._et_camper.pdf

Last edited by ExoticLatic; 03.04.2007 at 18:19. Reason: Adding details
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Old 03.04.2007, 21:38
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Slightly off topic from the original question, but if you are going for a long hike high up in the mountains, then staying in one of the Swiss Alpine Club's huts is certainly an experience that you should have at least once while you're in Switzerland. You can search their list of huts by name, location, or region (click the map in the bottom right of the page) in French or German.
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Old 15.05.2007, 18:27
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Bumpity Bump

Ok, so "wild" camping is technically possibly illegal but doable. As far as the legal campgrounds are concerned, it sounds like they are all RV park resorts. Is this true?

In California, there were some campgrounds, state and national, that were horrible, very crowded, not tent friendly, had massive numbers of campsites etc and then there were more secluded ones where RVs weren't even allowed and the campsites were big enough to not bother the neighbors, etc/

So, does anyone here know of such small time campgrounds?
(no, I don't need a proper shower!!!)

Else, for those who just go "off the beaten path", how do you do this exactly?With a map? Do you just take the train somewhere, find a trail and eventually camp aways off of it?

Thanks!!
l.
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Old 15.05.2007, 18:58
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Re: Wild camping allowed?

Our experience is that it's no problem , we have often stayed overnight at many woodland sites where there are fire places with grills set up by the locals ... these are much safer than making your own fire place ..

have you looked at the "Schlafen im Stroh" ? sleeping in hay .. there are many farmers who will let you sleep in their barns for a small fee , they provide a linen sleeping bag and usualy a breakfast if you want it.

I used to run young adult survival courses ( woodcraft/bushcraft) in UK , so if anyone fancies the idea of some alpine (lowland valleys ) I would love to join in...
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