Berschner waterfall

This is a short walk along a rushing river, passing several small waterfalls, ending at the dramatic Berschnerfall, about 46m tall. Most of it is passable with a stroller, though the last bit to the lookout is a bit tricky and better on foot. We stopped on our way back to build a fire on the riverbed, grill up some lunch, and throw some rocks. It’s a nice, easy day out.

Location:   Eastern Switzerland
Address: Berschis, Walenstadt, Switzerland
Car: ~1hr from Zurich
Train: ~1hr20 from Zurich
Trail: 2.5 km round trip
Condition: dirt, partially obstacle-free
Skill: moderate
Open: April through October
More info: www.waterfall.ch

Overview

The trail leads from town into the forest, where you’ll be walking along the river, slightly uphill. After about 1 km, the trail will go steeply uphill to reach the waterfall lookout. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the waterfall with a 5 year old walking. You can return the way you came or continue across the river bridge and loop back on the trail on the other side of the river.

Strollers can be used on the north side of the river until you get close to the waterfall lookout, where it’s better to have children walk or be carried. There are no official fire pits but there are a few spots along the river bed where you can build your own fire.

We went the first week of June when all the trees were green and the waterfall and river had plenty of water. The water level can vary with the weather. Beware after storms when the water level can suddenly rise. During dry spells in summer and fall, the waterfall may not be running.

Getting There

Drive south of Zurich to Berschis and park in town. We parked on Schulhausstrasse, near the recycle bins. With public transportation, take a bus to Walenstadt, then a bus to Berschis, which drops off in the middle of town.

Trail Details

From the Berschis bus stop, walk east toward the mountain and you’ll hit a river. There’s a bridge crossing that river with a brown sign pointing to Wasserfall (shown below).

Below shows the river you just crossed and the start of the trail. Follow that trail (called Fingenweg on the map) along the river all the way to the waterfall.

Start on the trail.

The dirt path is a little rocky, but possible with all-terrain strollers. The trail ascends, but doesn’t get very steep until just before the waterfall.

You’ll walk along the river, which has several small falls to enjoy before you get to the main event.

When you get close to the falls, the trail gets steeper, more difficult, and narrows as it climbs. Leave the stroller behind and let your child walk or carry your child the rest of the way to the falls. Below left shows the trail getting steep. On the right, the river below the trail. Hold on to your little ones’ hands here as it drops off steeply on one side of the trail.

When you finally see the waterfall, the trail has some stairs and gets a little tricky for little ones for a few meters until you get to the bridge. But it’s completely manageable so don’t get discouraged.

The view from the bridge is very nice.

If you want to get a little closer, you can continue on the trail up a muddy, slippery switchback (shown below) for about 3 mins to a closer lookout. Here’s what the switchback trail looks like (we are walking back down in this pic).

Here’s the lookout point a bit higher up the falls.

The trail continues forward and eventually loops back to Berchis. But we retraced our steps, going back down over the bridge, retrieving our stroller and following the river back to town.

On our way back, we found a nice place next to the river for a picnic. The locals told us it was ok to build a fire there, so we did and grilled up sausages and marshmallows. Our boys were very happy to explore the area and throw rocks in the river for about an hour. The river wasn’t too deep or fast here so I didn’t have to hover over them the whole time.

Here we are returning to town, with the Churfirsten mountains in the distance.

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Short walk for families along a rushing river, passing several small waterfalls, ending at the dramatic Berschner Falls near Walensee, Switzerland.

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2 comments

  1. We did this walk today, absolutely lovely way to spend Easter Sunday as the weather was great. Lovely walk, bit steep and slippy in places so make sure you have good shoes on! The gorge and waterfall were pretty impressive today. We did it with a (just) three year old and a one year old in a carrier, wouldn't recommend it with a pram. Our three year old managed the way up on his own but needed a bit of a shoulder carry on the way down. Just after you've come back down the steep bit from the waterfall there is a fork and you need to go left back down the path towards the river, we weren't concentrating and went right instead, we realised we'd gone wrong after a while and retraced our steps, however I'd recommend going 5 minutes down the 'wrong' path and back as you get a really lovely view across the valley – makes for a nice photo! We didn't take a picnic so drive 20 mins to Weesen afterwards and had good food at the Trattoria there which has a little park the kids can use whilst you eat outside. Made for a really lovely day, thanks for the post Tanya.

  2. We did the hike (although did not grill). It was a nice walk. I would have to say however that the trail is not that stroller friendly. We took our dogs and our 3 1/2 year old tot and were glad we did not try to take a stroller.

    Posted some pictures on our blog http://www.ordinas.com

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