Hiking Around Switzerland
This past fall I had the opportunity to road trip through Switzerland for a week and hike almost every day I was there. Let me just start off by saying if you ever get the chance to hike around Switzerland, DO IT! The Swiss Alps are incredible and the hiking and alpine hut system is remarkable. I’m going to share just a few of my favorite hikes I did while I was there.
The first hike we did started in South Switzerland, right outside the village of Champéry. We hiked up to the Col du Cou mountain pass, a pass bordering Switzerland and France. From the pass, we were able to see mountains and villages in France and looking back into Switzerland we had views of the Croix de Culet, a mountain of the Chablais Alps. After hiking into France for a short bit we headed back into Switzerland and hiked out to the Pointe de Ripaille and back. We passed several of the cutest cattle I have ever seen and loved hearing the cattle’s bells ring in the distance. We hiked about 8 miles total and really didn’t pass many people at all through the day making it a really peaceful trek.
A few days later we stayed in a town called Meiringen and went hiking around the Rosenlaui valley. This alpine valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has multiple alpine huts opened all year for hiking and ski touring. To get through to the valley you have to take a bus. So we drove and parked near the Hotel Rosenlaui and jumped on the bus all the way to the last stop, Grosse Scheidegg. Side note, right up to the street from this hotel you can also walk through the Rosenalui River Gorge, which we did right before we jumped on the bus. The second I stepped foot off the bus I had an immediate view of the Eiger North Face and Grindelwald, a scenic little town nestled between alpine peaks. Every direction I looked there were picturesque landscape views.
From there we set out to do about an 8-mile hike through the valley to a little lake, pictured below, and back down to an alpine hut for an amazing fondue lunch. Let me just say that the alpine huts in Switzerland are some of the nicest I have ever seen, at least compared to ones I have seen in the US and Canada. There are over 200 alpine huts, which make it very easy to do long treks or multi-day hikes without the hassle of carrying heavy packs. Not to mention the endless amount of possibilities it gives trail runners with aid stations conveniently located everywhere. I did not have the chance to stay in a Swiss hut on this trip but I did stop at multiple huts during some of my treks for quick coffee and lunch breaks. I would love to only stay in alpine huts the next time I come back to Switzerland and highly recommend anyone hiking in this country to take advantage of the hut system.
The last hike I did in this beautiful country was my favorite hike of the whole trip. It’s called Saxer Lücke. Lücke means gap and there is a prominent geological fault in the Alpstein which forms a fissure or gap in the ridgeline. Our mission was to get to the main ridgeline for sunrise. We woke up at 3:30 a.m. to drive from Zurich to the start of this hike located in Eastern Switzerland, right outside of Appenzell. Right off the bat, we had to hike up a very long steep incline that led us up to a valley floor where we passed a few huts before our final ascent to the Saxer Lücke ridge. Once we got on top, the views of the ridgeline were incredible as there are vast drops and jagged ridges. There were also amazing panoramic views of Liechtenstein and Austria's Tirol to the east. Unfortunately, it was not the right time of year for the sunrise as it rose behind us facing away from the ridge but we still enjoyed the views while eating breakfast, talking with fellow hikers and snapping plenty of photos. You can keep hiking along the ridge either direction but after hanging out for a while we decided to head back down to one of the huts that had opened to stop for an espresso break before our hike back.
For the number of hikes there are in Switzerland, spending a week there was definitely not enough time. I’m already dreaming of the day to go back. This country is truly a magical place and a must visit place for any outdoor enthusiasts.