Best hikes from Zurich

Best hikes from Zurich
  • Post last modified:March 21, 2021
  • Post category:Switzerland / Zurich
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Hello! For this post, we’re trying something a bit different – a list of a few of the best hikes we’ve done around the Zurich area. All of these hikes are near Zurich, and should be easily doable in a day trip if you’re staying or living in/near Zurich.

For more options from Zurich, check out our posts about our favorite hikes near Zurich in winter and in spring.

Pizol 5 Lakes

One of those gorgeous blue lakes on the Pizol 5 Lakes hike. It’s enticing isn’t it?

This is one of the most famous hikes in the region, and with good reason. The journey from Zurich to the beginning of the hike is already impressive, taking you past the Walensee and the huge cliffs of the south side of the Churfirsten. After that, you head up a procession of different gondolas and chair lifts to the starting point of the hike, which is already at over 2200m above sea level.

The hike itself winds around the mountains just north of Pizol, with the clear mountain lakes that pop up at regular intervals along the path giving the hike its name. Add in Alpine scenery and impressive views around every corner, and this is definitely a great option if you want to experience hiking in the Alps within easy reach of Zurich.

Time from Zurich by public transport – 1h 10 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 1h 5 mins
Start point – Pizolhütte chair lift station
High point – about 2500m
Finish point – Gaffia (Bergstation) chair lift station
Popularity – 5/5 (very popular)
Highlights – Alpine lakes and big views
Hiking time – 4-5 hours
Altitude difference – about 630m up, 1000m down
Difficulty – T2/T3 (medium but with a couple of tougher sections)

For further details, our post on the Pizol 5 Lakes hike is here.

Gross Aubrig

H011_Gross Aubrig_Hiking near Zurich
A view of the Glarus Alps still covered in snow in June.

Heading out to Gross Aubrig is a nice option if you’d like something quieter, as it isn’t as well known as some of the other hikes on this list. That doesn’t make it any less impressive though – the hike starts by a picturesque lake (Wägitalersee) and winds up the mountain through forests and meadows. On the way up, the views are mainly towards the Wägitalersee and the bigger mountains on the other side of the lake, and from the top you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a wide view of the nearby Alps and of Lake Zurich in the distance.

Time from Zurich by public transport – 1h 5 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 45 mins
Start point – Innerthal Staumauer bus stop
High point – Gross Aubrig (1695m)
Finish point – Innerthal Staumauer bus stop
Popularity – 2/5
Hiking time – 4 hours
Altitude gain – about 800m up, 800m down
Difficulty – T3

For further details, our blog post on Gross Aubrig is here.

Uetliberg

H0017_Uetlilberg
Uetliberg on a sunny clear day!

Rearing up right next to the city, Uetliberg is the highest of the hills surrounding Zurich and provides great views overlooking Zurich and of the Alps to the south. There’s a good reason Uetliberg is popular with the locals – in addition to the accessibility and the views, this small mountain has something for almost everyone. There are dozens of ways up, ranging from easy vehicle tracks to steep and narrow paths, and there’s even a railway station near the summit if you don’t want to walk back down. You’ll also find a restaurant and a hotel at the top.

Walking along the wide ridge from Uetliberg towards the Alps is also a popular option with nice views, and many people make this a round trip by walking to Felsenegg and taking the cable car back down from there.

Time from Zurich by public transport – 20 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 15 mins
Start point – Zürich, Albisgütli tram stop
High point – Uetliberg (870m)
Finish point – Uetliberg station
Popularity – 5/5
Hiking time – up to you, but about 45-90 min from the bottom to the top
Altitude gain – 400m
Difficulty – depends which route you take! But typically T1 or T2 (easy or medium)

Lagern

H0001 Lagern Hike
A rare but beautiful panoramic view of the alps from the Lagern Ridge Hike near Zurich.

This hike takes you along an Alpine-like ridge not far from Zurich. The typical starting point is Baden, a picturesque town in canton Aargau, and the first part of the hike heads through the town and up past several viewpoints overlooking the town. Beyond that, you head up a steep and rocky ridge for the next 90 minutes or so, before the ridge flattens out for the second part of the walk. A great option if you want a good hike without venturing too far from the city!

Lagern also features a Planetenweg (a scaled model of the solar system). The model is at a scale of 1:1,000,000,000 – that doesn’t exactly mean it’s short, though, as it extends more than half the length of the ridge! You’ll need to start from the eastern end (Dielsdorf/Regensberg) if you want to do the Planetenweg starting from the Sun. You’ll find more details on this website (German only).

Time from Zurich by public transport – 15 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 25 mins
Start point – Baden
High point – Lagern (866m)
End point – Dielsdorf
Popularity – 3/5
Hiking time – 4 hours
Altitude gain – 600 m ↑ 600m ↓
Difficulty – T2/T3 (some tricky bits – not suitable for people with vertigo)

For further details, our blog post on Lagern is here.

Hasenmatt

Hasenmatt Jura Solothurn Hike Weissenstein Dinosaur
Another perfect panorama of the Alps from the Jura!

A bit further from Zurich but still comfortably reachable for a day trip, Hasenmatt is the easternmost of the high peaks in the Jura and offers great views along the spine of the Jura mountain range and of the Alps in the distance. There are several ways up Hasenmatt, and one popular option is starting at the bottom of the Weissenstein cable car and using the cable car to skip most of the walk back down!

Time from Zurich by public transport – 1h 15 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 1h 15 mins
Start point – bottom of Weissenstein cable car
High point – Hasenmatt (1444m)
End point – top of Weissenstein cable car
Popularity – 4/5
Hiking time – 4 to 5 hours
Altitude gain – about 1000m up, 400m down
Difficulty – T2 (medium)

For further details, our blog post on Hasenmatt is here.

Gross Mythen

H0020_Gross Mythen
Who knew that the summit of such a challenging hike would have a restaurant at the top.

Gross Mythen is a short but steep hike up a photogenic mountain on the edge of the Alps. It’s steep enough that this would normally be too hard for us, but the steepest parts of the path are well secured with chains and staircases, making this one relatively accessible. Expect some leg burn on the way up though!

At the top, somewhat implausibly, someone has built a small restaurant, so you can grab something to eat whilst enjoying the 360 degree views from the summit.

Time from Zurich by public transport – 1h 10 mins
Time from Zurich by car – 50 mins
Start point – Rotenflue (Mythenregion) cable car
High point – Gross Mythen (1898m)
End point – Rotenflue (Mythenregion) cable car
Popularity – 5/5
Hiking time – 3 hours
Altitude difference – 700m up, 700m down
Difficulty – T3

For further details, our blog post on Gross Mythen is here.

Honorable mentions

As you might expect, there are loads of other good hikes from Zurich that we haven’t mentioned above! Here’s a few of them… 

  • Rigi – a very popular mountain complete with mountain railways, hotels and thermal baths if you’d like to finish your hike in a spa.
  • Fronalpstock – stunning views over the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) after hiking up from Stoos.
  • Regitzer Spitz (Fläscher Berg) – a smaller and less well-known peak near the border with Liechtenstein, with views of the Rhine valley.
  • Säntis – a relatively tough climb but undoubtedly a spectacular mountain, and one of the most prominent mountains in Switzerland.
  • Pilatus – another very popular mountain near Lucerne, with the top accessible both by cable car and mountain railway.
  • Eglisau to Flaach – a low-altitude but picturesque walk through vineyards along the Rhine valley – see our blog post here.