Pfannenstiel trail

On the east side of Lake Zurich, we have the Pfannenstiel and Panaromaweg, mirroring the Uetliberg Panorama trails on the west side. The Pfannenstiel is the highest point (853m) on the east side of Zurich lake, almost as high as Uetliberg. The above picture shows a view from the Pfannenstiel tower overlooking Zurichsee and alps. There are lots of walking trails in this area including a 27km Panaromaweg along the east side of Zurichsee, halfway up the hill so you get a view. You can start in any town along the lake and continue to the next town. We chose in the Pfannenstiel area, which includes trails along the top of the ridge, accessed from various stops on the S18 Forchbahn. You can get a free Forchbahn Erlebnis-Karte (trail map) at the ticket offices.

Location:   Central Switzerland
Address: Start: Forch station, Kaltensteinstrasse 32, 8127 Forch
End: Vorderer Pfannenstiel station, Herrenweg 380, 8706 Meilen
Car: ~20 mins from Zurich
Train: ~25 mins from Zurich
Trail: 5 km one way, about 1hr30
Condition: dirt road, strollers ok
Skill: easy, elevation gain 190 m
Open: year round, weather dependent
Prices: free, public transportation to reach trail
Services: restaurant at Vorderer Pfannenstiel
More info:


I’ve marked out the trail through the forest from the Forch train station to Vorderer Pfannenstiel bus stop, so you can arrive and return by public transportation. The viewing tower is near the end at Vorderer Pfannenstiel.

Getting There

We took the S18 to the Forch station (about 20 mins from Zurich), walked through the woods to the Pfannenstiel tower then back down to Egg, where we caught the S18 back to Zurich. This took over 2 hours, letting my toddler slowly walk portions of it.

Trail Impressions

The hike starts passing by fields near the Forch train station before you enter the forest.

The path is mostly a dirt road, but stroller friendly, with only a couple places where the path narrows – usually you can take a short detour on the road to bypass that part. The trails are clearly marked with the typical yellow signs. Most of the trail was through the woods, which was lovely in fall – as shown in the picture below.

Near the tower, the woods open up to a large field, which gives you a great view of the countryside, lake and alps in the distance.

Here’s the tower. I took this pic from below after we visited the tower.

Ready to climb.

Then we climbed the tower (shown below) and our eyes really popped out. We could see almost the entire Lake Zurich and all the mountains from Pilatus and Rigi on the far right to the Churfirsten ranges on the far left. It was amazing!

P.S. I was recently told that only Americans think of directions in terms of “east” “west” “north” or “south”. Or perhaps it’s only me. So apologies to my British friends for the esoteric directions.

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