Best Hikes Near Zurich: Stunning Trails to Explore

best hikes near zurich

While there are a lot of great things to do in the city of Zurich, one of the best things to do is to get out into the stunning scenery near Zurich. 

You are in Switzerland after all, one of the most beautiful countries in the world filled with mountains, lakes, and stunning views around pretty much every turn. 

Within about an hour or a few hours of Zurich, you can find yourself on some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Switzerland and there is no better way of seeing all that the landscapes have to offer. 

Join me as I run through the best hikes near Zurich so you can choose your favorite hikes for your time in Zurich and the surrounding area.

Rigi

Mount Rigi
Mount Rigi

The Rigi Panorama Trail is located on Mount Rigi which is on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It is easily accessed by train from Zurich Main Station and is an awesome family hike. 

You will need to take the train from Zurich Main Station to Arth Goldau and then get on the mountain train to Rigi Kulm station. It takes about 1.5 hours or you can drive which takes about 1 hour. 

The hike starts at Rigi Kulm, 1798 meters above sea level and it takes you around to Rigi First and then ends at Rigi Scheidegg where you get a cable car back down the mountain. 

The trail is well-marked and in excellent condition, so much so that it is suitable for strollers. Along the way, you will get spectacular views across Lake Lucerne and into the mountain peaks of the Swiss alps in pretty much every direction as you go around Mt Rigi. 

There is very little elevation change on this hike, just 250 meters, so it is an easy walk and everyone can handle it from grandparents to kids. 

While on the trail you also have the option to stop at a restaurant and playground for a break and to enjoy the fresh mountain air and lovely views for a little bit longer. 

  • Type: Point to Point 
  • Distance: 8.2 km 
  • Duration: 3 hours 
  • Height Change: 230m up, 320m down
  • Rating: Easy 
  • Starts At: Rigi Scheidegg
  • Ends At: Rigi Kulm

Melchsee Frutt

Melchsee-Frutt Tannensee
Melchsee-Frutt Tannensee

Melchsee Frutt is a stunning car-free mountain town that takes about 2.5 hours to get to from Zurich Main Station. The journey involves two trains, a bus, and a cable car but it is very much worth the effort, or you can drive to Melchsee Frutt in just 1.5 hours from Zurich. 

Considering it is a 5-hour round trip by public transport, it is best done on a day trip from Zurich or you can book an overnight stay. 

What makes hiking here so stunning is the beautiful lakes, green meadows, Swiss cows, and views of snow-capped peaks. 

The hike begins at Melchsee Frutt cable car station and takes you past the beautiful lake of Melchsee to the stunning lake Tannensee. You should then walk around the lake and back the way you came to Melchsee Frutt. 

  • Type: Loop 
  • Distance: 8 km 
  • Duration: 3 hours 
  • Rating: Easy 
  • Starts At: Melchsee Frutt
  • Ends At: Melchsee Frutt 
Related Reading

Things To Do In Zurich: History, Culture, and Swiss Delicacies

Learn More

Stanserhorn

Stanserhorn
Stanserhorn

Stanserhorn is a beautiful mountain on the southside of Lake Lucerne and getting there from Zurich is an awesome adventure in itself. You will have to get the train from Zurich Main Station via Lucerne to Stans where you get a funicular and then an open-air cable car to the top. 

The ride up on the open-air cable car is incredible as you get breathtaking views of Central Switzerland in every direction including 10 lakes and countless mountain peaks. 

Once you reach the peak, the impressive views continue and you can access a few viewing platforms there is even a restaurant to have lunch at. 

There are numerous hiking trails available at the top, especially if you are looking for a challenging hike. One of our favorite hiking trails for families is the 1 km loop around the peak with great views. 

  • Type: Loop 
  • Distance: 1.5 km 
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Rating: Easy 
  • Starts At: Stanserhorn
  • Ends At: Stanserhorn

Bürgenstock

Bürgenstock
View of Bürgenstock from Rigi

One of my top hikes near Zurich is on the Bürgenstock mountain on the shore of Lake Lucerne. The view from the top is amazing, and the journey from Zurich is beautiful too. 

Take the train from Zurich Main Station to Lucerne and get on a boat across the stunning lake to Kehrsiten Bürgenstock where you get a funicular to Bürgenstock Resort Station. 

From there follow the Felsenweg Bürgenstock trail around the mountain with views across the lake to the peak at 1100 meters above sea level and to the Hammetschwand Elevator. 

You can then hop on the Hammetschwand Elevator which takes you hundreds of meters higher for an even better view of the area. 

  • Type: Out & Back 
  • Distance: 2-3 km 
  • Duration: 1-2 hours 
  • Rating: Easy 
  • Starts At: Bürgenstock Resort Station
  • Ends At: Bürgenstock Resort Station

Uetliberg

uetliberg winter
Uetliberg Mountain from Zurich

Some of the best hikes near Zurich lie on the Uetliberg mountain, Zurich’s local mountain. You can find a few amazing hikes here that you can start from Zurich itself. 

You also have the option to take the train to the top and then hike back down after seeing the awesome views of Lake Zurich and making it to the peak. This is a wonderful autumn hike when all the leaves are changing color. 

The Planet Trail is a great hike for the family and it takes you from Uetliberg to Felseneg. It is an easy hike and every km represents 1 million kilometers in space. You start at the sun and end at Pluto, and it gives you a sense of how big our solar system is along with awesome views across the entire lake.

  • Type: Point To Point 
  • Distance: 6 km 
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Rating: Easy
  • Starts At: Uetliberg
  • Ends At: Felsenegg
Related Reading

Uetliberg, Switzerland: Guide To Zurich’s Mountain

Learn More

Pizol 5 Lakes

pizol lakes
Pizol Lakes

One of the coolest hikes near Zurich which will show you some rugged Alpine scenery is the Pizol 5 lakes hike in Eastern Switzerland. It is a beautiful hike but a challenging one as you navigate around peaks and see five stunning lakes on the way. 

The hike starts at Pizolhütte cable car station and ends at Gaffia cable car station. Getting there from Zurich Main Station takes about 2 hours and requires a train, bus, and three cable cars, but it is worth it. 

Seeing the lakes, the rugged terrain and the views across the alpine peaks are incredible and you also get an up-close view of Pizol peak too. This is a hard hike and not so suitable for young kids, but you don’t need any special equipment to do it

  • Type: Loop 
  • Distance: 10 km 
  • Duration: 5 hours 
  • Rating: Difficult 
  • Starts At: Pizolhütte Cable Car Station 
  • Ends At: Gaffia Cable Car Station

Lagern

Lagern
Lagern

Lagern is one of the closest hikes near Zurich as it only takes you 15 minutes by train from Zurich Main Station to get to the starting point, Baden. 

Baden is a stunning little town that is worth exploring on its own. From there you follow the trail along the ridge to Lagern and then onto Dielsdorf where you can get back to Zurich with ease. 

There are some great viewpoints along the way as you follow the ridge and you can look to both the south and Zurich or the north. Some parts of the trail are quite challenging with steep edges, so it might not be suitable for anyone with a fear of heights. 

  • Type: Point To Point 
  • Distance: 13 km
  • Duration: 4 hours 
  • Rating: Moderate to Difficult 
  • Starts At: Baden
  • Ends At: Dielsdorf

Grosser Mythen

Grosser Mythen
Grosser Mythen

One of the great hikes near Zurich is Grosser Mythen, which is also in the Lucerne region. Grosser Mythen is about 2.5 hours from Zurich Main Station and requires two trains, a bus, and a cable car to get to. 

Grosser Mythen is a stunning peak and it is one you can hike to the top of quite easily in comparison to other peaks in Switzerland. It is just 1.7 km from the Holzegg Cable Car Station but you have to go up 400 meters over that short distance, so it is a steep climb. 

But, there is nothing quite like standing on a mountain peak, especially for just 1.7 km of hiking. The views are epic and feature the alpine peaks, lakes, valleys, and lots more.  

  • Type: Out and Back 
  • Distance: 3.5 km 
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Rating: Difficult 
  • Starts At: Holzegg Cable Car Station 
  • Ends At: Holzegg Cable Car Station 

Säntis

Säntis mountain
Säntis mountain

Säntis is one of the most iconic peaks in Switzerland and it offers some of the best hikes near Zurich. 

Mt Säntis sits at 2501 meters above sea level and you can access it via cable car. At the top is a stunning complex to walk around and get amazing views from multiple viewing platforms. 

You can hike to the top and go on hikes from the gondola station but the hikes are for experienced hikers only as they are super steep, difficult, and dangerous. 

Unless you are up to the challenge, grab the cable car to the top and stroll around there before getting the cable car back down. 

It takes 2.5 hours to get to the peak via two trains, a bus, and a cable car from Zurich Main Station. 

  • Type: Various
  • Distance: Various
  • Duration: Various
  • Rating: Various
  • Starts At: Säntis Gondola Station 
  • Ends At: Säntis Gondola Station 

Hasenmatt

Hasenmatt
Hasenmatt – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

One of the top hikes near Zurich lies on Hasenmatt which is a part of the Jura Mountains to the east of Zurich. It takes about 1.25 hours to get to from Zurich via public transport, so is closer than a lot of the hikes near Zurich. 

The trail takes you up the mountain and gives you views across the Jura Mountains and across central Switzerland into the alps on a clear day too.  

A great place to start hiking from is the base station for the Weissenstein cable car and then hiking up the mountain, and taking the cable car down again. You can do it the other way around if you don’t want to hike up and only want to come down. 

  • Type: Point To Point 
  • Distance: 12 km 
  • Duration: 5 hours 
  • Rating: Medium 
  • Starts At: Weissenstein cable car Bottom 
  • Ends At:  Weissenstein cable car Top 

Stoos

Stoos ridge hike
Hiking along the Stoos Ridge

The Stoos Ridge Trail is one of the coolest hikes near Zurich as you follow a ridge between two peaks with awesome views but the hike isn’t too difficult either. 

From Zurich, head to Stoos where you will board the steepest funicular in the world and a cable car to get to the peak of Klingenstock where the trail begins. It takes about 3 hours to get to using public transport. 

From Klingenstock you will follow the ridge to Fronalpstock overlooking Lake Lucerne to the east, the Alps to the south, and even more amazing views in every other direction too. At Fronalpstock ride back down to Stoos on the cable car. 

  • Type: Point To Point 
  • Distance: 4.4 km 
  • Duration: 2 hours 
  • Rating: Medium 
  • Starts At: Klingenstock
  • Ends At: Fronalpstock

Ebenalp Seealpsee

Seealpsee, Appenzell
Seealpsee, Appenzell

One of my top hikes near Zurich is Ebenalp to Seealpsee which features a lovely mountain, a beautiful lake, and a great restaurant too. 

You can either take the cable car to Ebenalp and hike down to Seealpsee lake or use the service road from Wasserauen to the lake instead. Experienced hikes can take the trail down from Ebenalp but lots of people have died on the trail so the service road is recommended. 

Enjoy a loop around the lake, a summer swim, and stop at one of the restaurants around the lake for a delicious lunch. 

  • Type: Out & Back 
  • Distance: 7.7 km 
  • Duration: 3.5 hours 
  • Rating: Medium 
  • Starts At: Various 
  • Ends At: Wasserauen
Related Reading

12 Mountains Near Zurich: Which Should You Explore?

Learn More

Best Hikes Near Zurich: Frequently Asked Questions

Zurich
Zurich

Is Zurich great for hiking?

Zurich is not the best place in Switzerland to base yourself on hiking, but there are some good trails close by. The likes of Lucerne have lots more hikes and better ones than Zurich. 

Are there mountains near Zurich?

Yes, there are some smaller mountains near Zurich that you can see across the lake such as Uetliberg but they are not as high compared to the alps. 

What is the most difficult hiking trail in Zurich?

The hardest hiking trail in Zurich is the Zurich to Baden via the Limmat River trail. It is 29 km long and takes about 7 hours to complete. You can find the details here

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *