5 great autumn hikes in Switzerland
Autumn is finally here, and what better way to appreciate the reds, oranges and browns of the season than heading out on a hike here in Switzerland? The country is home to plenty of stunning hiking routes alongside lakes and rivers, and for the most adventurous hikers: straight through the mountains!
Five great autumn hikes in Switzerland
While it’s impossible to list every great Swiss autumn hike, there are a few truly incredible trails that really showcase the best of this season. Here are five stunning autumn hikes you can do in Switzerland:
1. Larches of Balavaux, Canton Valais
This route is home to the largest and oldest larch trees in Europe, making for a stunning walk in autumn. Starting from the cable car station at Tracouet, the route has special footbridges which allow visitors to see the beautiful trees, before reaching the Chalet des Alpes restaurant.
From here, the trail continues through the forest to the Pra da Dzeu clearing - a particularly popular spot with hikers thanks to its stunning views. After this, you pass by a beautiful pond and a mountain chapel before continuing down to Nendaz, Canton Valais.
Bear in mind that this walk is at altitude, so be sure to take all necessary precautions - like wearing good hiking shoes and warm clothing, and checking the weather - before you attempt the route.
2. Lower High-Altitude Trail Zermatt (Number 4a)
This hike is popular with retirees, but is suitable for any ability and provides stunning views of the valley and mountains. The route goes from the Winkelmatten Chapel up to the beautiful Gornergrat railway. On the way, you pass by a xylophone and the beautiful buildings of Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s most well-known ski resorts.
3. Wasserfallen Chellechöpfli
Located near Basel, the Wasserfallen Chellechöpfli (Route 470 on SwissMobility) offers hikers bright autumn colours and wonderful views of the Swiss countryside, as well as mountains in the distance. Many restaurants are dotted along the route, serving traditional regional food and wild game meat - one of the signs that autumn has truly arrived in Switzerland.
This hike is a great option for when other mountains are covered in snow in the early winter, since the elevation is much lower than other more mountainous routes. The area also has a climbing park for kids to enjoy, making this hike a great option for the whole family!
4. Werenbachtobel gorge, Zurich
This one is for the city dwellers! If you live in Zurich and are looking for a hike nearby, then the Werenbachtobel gorge is the place to go! This waterside hike allows walkers to enjoy the crisp autumn leaves as they fall from the trees, while walking alongside the meandering and bubbling brooks that flow from the Pfannenstiel right into the heart of the city at Burgweis.
The gorge emerged from where the Linth glacier retreated near Zurich at the end of the last ice age. The entire route is lined with sculptures of different animals - perfect for a children's spotting game. Make sure to look out for the giant elephant!
5. Zermatt Riffelalp to Sunnegga three lakes hike
An autumn hike with Matterhorn views? Look no further than this great trail leading from Riffelalp to Sunnegga. The trail walks past three stunning lakes, and has a kids' playground at the end.
Since this is a one-way trail, when you get to the end, there are a number of ways to get back to the start - you can drive or take the train back home. While there is a funicular railway which takes you back to Zermatt, there is also the fun option to take mountain scooters down the mountain, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Do you have a favourite autumn hike that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below!