Best Spring Hikes In Switzerland: 12 Epic Trails to Explore

best spring hikes switzerland

Spring hiking in Switzerland isn’t very easy to come by and this is because the weather makes it quite challenging.

Between the months of April and mid-June, the weather isn’t so predictable and you can experience snow in early April one week and glorious sunshine the next.

Also, the alpine trails aren’t open until mid-June in most cases, and some ski seasons in the mountain resorts push to May. This means those high-altitude hiking trails are off-limits, the mountain huts are closed, and mountain transport has barely started up.

So how do you find some good spring hikes in Switzerland? Luckily the lower altitude trails are absolutely gorgeous with beautiful views of surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Join me as I run through some of the top spring hikes Switzerland has to offer so you can enjoy hiking from early spring into late June in this great destination.

Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lauterbrunnen Valley

Sitting in Central Switzerland close to the popular regions around Jungfrau, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is open for hiking from April while the surrounding mountains are closed until late June.

The hiking path begins at Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof and takes you through the valley which is home to more than 70 different waterfalls. Early spring is the best time to see waterfalls in Switzerland as the snow melt has them booming.

The surrounding countryside is stunning with rolling fields, green hills, trees, blue lakes, and of course, the giant mountain tops towering on either side.

This is an easy 6.7 km hike along a well-paved trail that follows the valley. You will see waterfall after waterfall plummeting down the mountains and there are plenty of picnic areas along the way, some of which even have BBQs and firewood.

You’ll stroll past lots of farms and alpine villages, and you could even ride the cable car up to Schilthorn for a great view on a clear day. Be sure to see the subterranean Trümmelbach falls along the way as they are very unique and immensely powerful.

Once you get to Stechelberg you can either get the bus back to Lauterbrunnen or follow the same trail back to where you started!

Type: Out and Back

Distance: 6.7 km each way

Duration: 2 hours each way

Rating: Easy

Starts At: Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof

Ends At: Stechelberg, or Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof

Mt. Rigi Panorama Trail

Mt. Rigi
Mt. Rigi

Overlooking the shores of Lake Lucerne is one of the best hikes you can do in Switzerland in the Spring. Situated in eastern Switzerland, this hike is very easy to access from Zurich.

The Mt. Rigi Panorama Trail is accessed via the Goldau Train which runs all year round. The train takes you up to Rigi Kulm ay 1798 meters above sea level where the trail begins.

The panoramic views are stunning from the trailhead and as you follow the trail, you will pass by incredible cliffs and mountain tops. The trail is easy with very little elevation so it is great for kids too.

The trail finishes at Rigi Scheidegg where you will find a fun playground and a restaurant with great views of the mountains, surrounding forests, and lakes too.

From Rigi Scheidegg you jump on the cable car down to Kräbel and from there, hop on the cog-wheel train back to Goldau.

Type: Loop

Distance: 8.2 km

Duration: 3 hours

Rating: Medium

Starts At: Goldau Train Station

Ends At: Goldau Train Station

The Swiss Path

The Swiss Path
The Swiss Path – Image courtesy of Kecko

The Swiss Path trail doesn’t get its name from anywhere as it showcases everything quintessentially Swiss in one hike, from wildflowers to farms, it has it all.

The trail begins in Flüelen and follows Uri, one of Lake Lucerne’s branches. There are fantastic views across this bright blue lake and it is a lovely view to have beside you while you hike for the first few hours.

From the lakeside, you will then hike up into the mountain meadows that will be filled with wildflowers if you do this hike in May. Once you reach the meadows you will have nice views of the peaks above you.

This is when the hike becomes very Swiss and you will hike past cows, farmhouses, through villages, along promenades, and more.

It is quite a tough trail for spring but it is great mountain training for when the high alpine hikes open up in the summer.

Type: Point to Point

Distance: 15 km

Duration: 5 hours

Rating: Medium

Starts At: Flüelen

Ends At: Brunnen

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces

Lavaux Vineyards on lake Geneva
Lavaux Vineyards on lake Geneva

This is another great spring hike as it flows through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lavaux Vineyards next to Lake Geneva in Western Switzerland.

You will get big views across Lake Geneva with the Swiss Alps in the background all contrasted by the deep green vineyards. You may even be able to buy some local wine from vine-side stalls along the way and you can combine it with a lake cruise too.

The trail starts at St Saphorin after which you will follow a small paved road through the vineyards with the lake and the alps sitting on your left. The views are never ending and will be sitting there for the whole of your hike.

It is an easy route that follows the same path for 11 km. Along the way, it is worth stopping for a lakeside lunch and once you get to Lutry, have a refreshing dip in the lake. You can then catch the ferry back to where your car is or where you are staying and enjoy a lake cruise too.

Type: Point To Point

Distance: 12 km

Duration: 4 hours

Rating: Easy

Starts At: St Saphorin

Ends At: Lutry

Giessbach Falls

giessbach falls
Giessbach Falls

Sitting in the Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland lies the stunning hike to Giessbach Falls. This hike has more than just one waterfall by the way, there are three major ones and lots of smaller ones too, and they are all in full flow in the springtime.

The trail starts at Bönigen and follows the stunning shores of Lake Brienz. It isn’t too challenging but there are some long climbs and descents too. However, the views across the lake and into the Alps are a great distraction.

The first waterfall you will come to is Eschwanden after which you go through the little fishing village of Iseltwald. After this, follow the signs to Isch which will take you to Mülibach falls and onto Giessbach Falls.

Giessbach Falls really is the main attraction on this hike. This waterfall is incredibly powerful as it showers down into the lake with the stunning Grand Hotel Giessbach in the background.

Type: Point To Point

Distance: 18 km

Duration: 6 hours

Rating: Medium

Starts At: Bönigen

Ends At: Brienz Bahnhof

Pfannenstiel Weg, Canton Zurich

The Pfannenstiel trail is another great lakeside hike with stunning views that are perfect to do in Spring.

The trail takes you from Forch up to Pfannenstiel and down to Meilen on the shores of Lake Zurich. It is easily accessed if you are staying in the Zurich Area and features forests, views across Lake Zurich, and the alps.

It begins by taking you through a forest up the Pfannenstiel ridge and once you are at the top, the views are to die for! Be sure to check out the views from Hochwach and Uetliberg towers. This is also where you can stop for a picnic or lunch in the hilltop restaurant.

From here, it is a slow descent down to Meilen on the lake. The trail follows a lovely stream with a few waterfalls. The landscapes as you go down are pretty magical.

Type: Point To Point

Distance: 12 km

Duration: 3 hours

Rating: Easy

Starts At: Forch

Ends At: Meilen

Schnebelhorn, Canton Zurich

Schnebelhorn
Schnebelhorn – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

This is a wonderful hike if you are craving some elevation as it takes you up to the highest peak in Zurich Schnebelhorn which sits at 1291 meters above sea level.

The hike is of medium difficulty and features stunning views of Lake Zurich, the Alps, Santis, and even Lake Constance on a clear day.

A lovely trail to follow starts at Hulftegg and takes up along route 69 and the Zurich Höhenweg ridge. You will hit a few peaks along the way including Chrüzegg, Tweralpspitz, and Schnebelhorn.

You will know you have finished the hike when you get to the cable car at Atzmännig which will take you back down the mountain. It is open from April onwards.

Type: Loop

Distance: 15 km

Duration: 5 hours

Rating: Medium

Starts At: Mühlrüti Hulftegg Bus Stop

Ends At: Atzmännig (Bergstation) Cable Car

Gorges de l’Areuse

Sitting in the Jura Region of northwestern Switzerland lies the stunning Areuse Gorge and there is no better way to explore it than by hiking through it.

This is a great hike to do in spring or summer that follows a river almost the whole way and features numerous waterfalls. The area used to be called Fairyland and that is because everything is green, covered in moss, and somehow magical.

The trail is flat but trail conditions can change to be very slippery if it is wet. Along the way, you will have the steep walls of the gorge to marvel at as well as thunderous rapids and waterfalls of the river you follow as you do.

Type: Point To Point

Distance: 11 km

Duration: 3 hours

Rating: Easy

Starts At: Noiraigue Bahnhof

Ends At: Boudry Bahnhof

Seerenbachfälle Hike

The Seerenbachfälle Hike can be done in many ways but the best way includes one of the best lakeside trails you can find in Switzerland.

Following the river from Ziegelbrücke station, you will get to Lake Walensee. The lake is surrounded by cliffs and mountains that appear to fall straight into the lake. It looks like a seascape but with mountains and rugged contrast of green foliage, cliffs, and the crystal waters of the lake are to die for!

The trail takes you through the town of Weesen to Betlis, then to the magical Seerenbach waterfalls. You can then head to the lake for a chilly dip and get the boat back from Weesen to shorten the hike.

Type: Out And Back

Distance: 18 km

Duration: 5 hours

Rating: Medium

Starts At: Ziegelbrücke Bahnhof

Ends At: Ziegelbrücke Bahnhof

Swiss Grand Canyon

Swiss Grand Canyon
Swiss Grand Canyon – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Swiss Grand Canyon as it is known is actually the Rhine Gorge Trail. This is a great option for spring hikes with the family as the path is easy, and great for strollers, there are playgrounds along the way, plus a restaurant at the end with some of the best views around.

Starting at Flims Waldhaus, it is a 3.5 km walk along the trail past the stunning Caumasee lake. Then it is a bit of time in the forest before you reach the lookout tower with amazing views of the Rhine Gorge.

Stop for lunch and then head back or hike down the gorge and follow the river to the train station and get the train back home.

Type: Out And Back

Distance: 7 km

Duration: 3 hours

Rating: Easy

Starts At: Flims Waldhaus

Ends At: Flims Waldhaus

Federispitz

If you are looking for a tough hike to do in spring in Switzerland, going to the top of Federispitz is the challenge you have been looking for.

This hike requires a 1400-meter climb over 8 km as it rises up and when you reach the top you’ll have awesome views of the Glarus Alps, Appenzell Alps, Walensee, and Zürichsee. The descent to Weesen is tough but takes you through stunning meadows full of flowers.

Be sure to wear good hiking boots for this trail and be sure to do it in good conditions as the trail gets very narrow with steep drops at some points.

Type: Point To Point

Distance: 14 km

Duration: 5 hours

Rating: Hard

Starts At: Ziegelbrücke Bahnhof

Ends At: Weesen

Oeschinensee Lake

Oeschinensee Lake
Oeschinensee Lake

Sitting in the Bernese Alps, this is a stunning hike that can be done by the whole family from mid-May.

The Kandersteg cable car will take you up to a flat and easy trail that leads to the stunning Oeschinensee Lake. This alpine lake is about as beautiful as they come and you should make a day of it.

You can eat at one of the lakeside restaurants, have a picnic, and even hire a rowing boat. There are stunning mountains surrounding the lake too!

If you are a little more adventurous and the snow has melted in late spring or early summer, there are lots of multiday hikes in the area too. You can hike from the Oeschinensee Lake over into Lauterbrunnen for starters. Or head to one of the huts above the lake and stay overnight for more of a typical Swiss adventure.

Type: Out And Back

Distance: 4 km

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Rating: Easy

Starts At: Kandersteg cable car

Ends At: Kandersteg cable car

There are of course plenty of other hikes to do in Switzerland, including lots of fun ones in Appenzell.

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.

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