Regardless of where in the world you are from, the thing that strikes any first time visitor to Switzerland is the meticulous planning, attention to detail, reliable infrastructure and just a general sense of everything working like clockwork. For hikers, this degree of ‘perfection’ can be viewed as both a positive and a negative.
A positive because many of the hiking trails are clearly marked which makes for comfortable navigation. A negative because hikers who derive an adrenalin rush from getting lost and having to find their own way with little help from signs may find some of the trails a tad bit ‘too organised’. That said, the world class scenery and the reliable transport system (super-punctual trains, superb roads, cable cars and chair lifts) make hiking in Switzerland a rewarding experience overall.
- Davos – Davos is synonymous with the annual World Economic Forum, a gathering of political and business leaders drawn from all over the world. But its fame as venue of such a major international meeting probably unfairly overshadows its prominence as a winter hiking destination. The principal trail starts in the Landwasser Valley, cuts through the woodland and terminates at the ageless Berghaus Stafelalp Inn.
- Zugerberg Mountain – Like its name suggests (Berg is German for mountain) Zugerberg is the mountain near the small town of Zug. Rising abruptly from its flatter surroundings, its wide top provides excellent panoramic views of Zug. The hiking trails at Zugerberg are open during both summer and winter. During the winter though, pink signs mark the winter trail and occasionally detour onto desolate roads as opposed to the narrow summer footpaths.
- Braunwald Trail – A round trip with excellent views of the Bachital Valley and Glarus Alps, this three hour hike cuts through nine kilometres of tranquil terrain. Say goodbye to the smell of car exhaust fumes and the noisy chatter of human traffic. The silence of the Braunwald’s winter trails effortlessly deliver a calming ambience that’s almost surreal.
- Rigi Trail – There is a reason Rigi is nicknamed ‘Queen of the Mountains’. But you have to see it to agree. Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps are just part of what makes this quintessential high altitude winter hike a stand out. The trail runs parallel to a disused railway track and includes a walk through a viaduct and tunnel.
- Grindelwald – An eleven kilometre trail that provides excellent sightings of Eiger North Face, Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn.
- Ovronnaz – Ovronnaz is famous for its medicinal springs and health resort. But there also several interesting winter hiking trails here.
- Beatenberg-Niederhorn – This high-altitude hiking trail includes easy sections that are nearly flat as well as significantly challenging steep descents. Walk past snow covered meadows and beautiful wooded areas.