This hike took us to Innerthal and the Wägitalersee Lake, which are about an hour away from Zurich and is one of my favourite spots to get away from the city. In winter especially, the view of the snow-covered mountains surrounding the lake is gorgeous and we’ve come up here many a times to hike or for some sightseeing with visiting friends and family. The path around the lake is easy and you can choose how far along the lake you’d like to walk.
Time: ~ 4 hrs
Distance: ~ 7.2 km
Altitude: ± 811 m ↑ 811 m ↓
On this particular day though we were up for a proper hike. We got off the bus at Innerthal Staumauer. This bus stop comes immediately after the bus has exited a tunnel so make sure to hit the stop button on the bus whilst you’re in the tunnel. We once missed the stop and ended up having to walk back on the road from the next stop which is also the final stop. It was about 15 mins or 1.2 km back.
From Innerthal Staumauer, it was about 400 meters across the top of the dam and along the road to the start of the path up to the peak of Gross Aubrig. The hike is an energy intensive one and you do a total of roughly 800 meters up and then back down over the course of 4 hours.
The first hour of the hike up is through a wooded pine forest in a near straight line up. Once you break into the open pastures at about 1200 m you start to get a view of the lake and the mountains surrounding it. We hiked up in early June so all the snow hadn’t melted off the mountain peaks in Glarus as yet. From here on it’s a scenic hike up to the peak over the course of the next 1.5 hours or so. We took it easy that day, meandering up the hillside and stopping by one of the many rocks dotting the hill for some lunch.
Fun Fact 1: I hadn’t realised this until I started writing this post but the ‘Wägitalersee’ lake is actually an artificial lake used to generate hydroelectricity. It was formed by the making of the dam called ‘Schräh’. The old village below the lake was flooded when the dam was made and so today’s village is built around the side of the lake.
At 1695 meters up we got to the peak of Gross Aubrig. From here you’ve basically got a 360 degree view of everything around you. You can see southeast back down to the Wagitalersee lake and the higher mountains around it. Directly south of the peak is a smaller mountain funnily named ‘Eggstofel’ – egg stuff (stoff) or egg spoon (loffel) maybe in English? Who knows.
To the north you see Lake Zurich and the hills surrounding it which look incredibly flat from the peak. To the east, I remember seeing a mountain called ‘Chopfenberg’ – the exceedingly steep incline of the slope on the side facing us was enough to make me sweat. It looked like you could just roll off the side of the mountain if you wanted to but that’s probably an exaggeration and for all I know someone from Redbull has fearlessly biked down it. It’s certainly a mountain on my black list though…
Fun Fact 2: The word ‘Gross’ in German means big and so inevitably right next to Gross Aubrig there’s Chli Aubrig – ‘Chli’ means small in Swiss German.
And before I forget, there’s also a gigantic metal cross at the top signifying that you’ve got to the peak. From the top, it took us about 1.5 hours to get down the mountain. Back at the lake you can see diving platforms that are probably heavily used in the summer and I believe it’s a popular place for all sorts of activities when it’s warm. My favorite season to come though is still winter – it’s hard to beat a frozen lake surrounded by snow covered mountains! But that’s just me.
Practical Information for this Hike
Start & End: Innerthal Staumauer Bus Stop
Time: ~ 4 hours
Distance: ~ 7.2 km
Altitude: ~ 811 m ↑ 811 m ↓
Season: Early Summer
Peak: Gross Aubrig 1695 m
Nearest Railway: Siebnen-Wangen
Point of Interest: Wägitalersee (lake)
Alternative Routes & Transport
Here’s a snapshot of the route we took.
If you’re driving there are at least two car parks around the lake that we know of. The first is close to the start of the hike as it’s practically on top of the dam. When you come out of the tunnel turn right and head across the dam. You’ll see the parking spots easily. They are in limited number though so if it’s full then you’ll need to drive to the centre of the town at Innerthal Dorf. From there you’d need to walk to the start of the hike which adds about 1.2 km each way.
By Public Transport
We took an S-train from Zurich HB to Siebnen-Wangen station. Here we had two options and we’ve used both depending on how we feel. One is to rent a mobility car and drive up to Innerthal. The second is to get on a yellow Post bus in the direction of Innterthal Post. As mentioned above, the bus stop you need is Innerthal Staumauer. This bus stop comes immediately after the bus has exited the tunnel so make sure to hit the stop button on the bus whilst you’re in the tunnel. If you miss it, you’ll be walking back for about 15 mins from the next stop.
If you arrive by public transport and have more energy you could make this a one-way walk by walking on from the peak to Euthal or Vorderthal. You can find paths that lead to both bus stops on wanderland.ch and can plot the way you fancy most.
As mentioned at the beginning: if you want a flat walk instead, the walk around the lake is a nice easy T1 path. It’s a marked walking path on a small tarmacked road with very little traffic, so should work even for buggies and wheelchairs. It’s probably about 12km to go the whole way around the lake.