Küsnacht Ravine Walk

In spring, before the mountain snow had melted, we had to pick a trail a little closer to home. My husband suggested the Küsnacht Tobel walk, about 20 minutes from Zurich. We had very vague instructions and I had no idea where we were going or what we’d see, but it turned out great. The trail is easy walking and all downhill. But at 7 km it can be long for little kids, so bring a stroller for when they need a break. It follows a river the whole way, so lots of opportunities to throw rocks. The path is flat and mostly wide, very doable with a stroller. Even with the rather bleak late winter foliage, it was quite lovely. I’m excited to go back in other seasons to see how it looks in full bloom, with fall colors or under snow.

Location:   Zurich Region
Address: Start: Forch train station, Alte Forchstr 20, Forch, Switzerland
End: Küsnacht train station
Car: ~20 mins from Zurich
Train: ~30 mins from Zurich, about CHF 17.60 pp round trip full fare
Trail: 7 km one way, about 3 hours
Condition: dirt, obstacle-free
Skill: easy
Open: year round, weather dependent
More info: www.wandersite.ch

Overview

This trail starts at the Forch train station and hikes down a river valley ending in Küsnacht by Zurich lake. We used the trail instructions on this website, which also has a link to a trail map. But it’s not particularly helpful, so I made this rough trail map for you. Click on the map for a bigger version that you can print.

There are no services along the way. There are lots of picnic areas with fire pits and wood.

Getting There

It’s best to take the train for this one so you don’t have to retrace your steps. Take the S18 Forchbahn train to the Forch station (it runs every 15 minutes).

At the end of the trail, you can take the train home from Küsnacht or a ferry.

If you want to go by car, you could drive and park at the Forch station, then at the end of the trail, take a bus, then train back to Forch.

Getting started on the trail

Note: we did this trail the third week of March a couple years ago, thus the leaf-less trees. By late April everything should be green.

From the Forch train station, exit the station south, passing under the main road, following the yellow trail signs toward Küsnacht Tobel. You’ll walk on a dirt road through a long field as shown below…

After the field, you’ll cross a paved road (still following the yellow trail signs) and walk along the sidewalk for a minute until you pass over a little river, where the yellow trail sign points to your right, off the sidewalk. You get on a dirt trail and walk down a few stairs to the river. You’ve made it! The trail should now look like this:

Now just follow the river all the way to Küsnacht. It’s easier to find than you might think. We barely knew where were going and just followed the yellow signs and found it. Now for a few more pics of the trail.

The river has lots of little waterfalls along the way.

The trail comes out of the forest at one point and passes a fountain

You’ll pass a little farm with chickens. Just keep following the river.

Here are some of the trail signs you’ll see. Follow signs to Küsnachter Tobel. Don’t worry about the orange sign. It’s just telling you to keep your dogs on the leash or you’ll be fined.

Now the trail is back in the forest on a wide dirt road.

One of the picnic areas with a grill pit.

Exploring the Dragon Cave

About two-thirds down the trail, you’ll find the “dragon cave” as shown above. The dragon sign faces the opposite way you are walking, so don’t miss it like we almost did. I had been promoting this dragon cave the whole trail and my boys would have been pretty upset if we didn’t find it. You have to scramble up the hillside to reach the cave and it’s not much, but kinda fun. The other dragon sign pictured above on the right, was next to a grill pit a few more minutes down the trail from the cave.

There are a lot of grill pits along the way, some with tables and grills, others just fire pits. None with chopped wood as far as I could see. But you should be able to gather enough from the forest to make it work.

At the end of the trail, there is a “Steingarden,” aka stone garden, which is a collection of big rocks, all numbered and labeled with their geological details and where they came from.

It just looked like a bunch of rocks to us.

At the end of the Tobel trail, you emerge in Küsnacht village. Head straight west and in a few minutes you are at the train station to return home.

Or you can continue a couple more minutes to Lake Zurich, where there is a playground, lots of grass to run around on, and a lakefront restaurant.

Just north of the playground, you’ll find the ferry dock, where you can catch a boat back to Zurich. Check the schedule beforehand as the boats can run quite infrequently depending on the day and season.

I hope you enjoy the walk!

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12 comments

  1. I am loving reading all about the many different hikes. We are new to Switzerland and are keen to explore. I wondered if this hike is possible for our four year old to go on his balance bike? He is not a great walker

    1. I think a balance bike would probably work on this trail. It’s mostly a smooth dirt road and it’s relatively flat, so I don’t see why not. Let me know how it goes.

  2. We did this lovely walk today and really enjoyed it. Took a bit longer than we thought as we planned to have lunch in Kusnacht but in hindsight we should have brought lunch with us as this would have made the walk a bit more relaxed. We took bus back to Zollikon where we live and this worked really well. Thanks for the great recommendation!

  3. I did this walk again today, this time with my 2 week old, mother and dog. The rains this season have made their mark on the river but the trail is open again. One grand new addition to the walk is a huge boulder that came down the hill and landed on the side of the river. There are construction barriers at the moment as they are trying to make the area less susceptible to future mud/rock slides during rain. You can still get around it though and enjoy the impressive change in scenery.

  4. We did this walk today with some family friends and we quite enjoyed it. There are loads of little waterfalls along the way, and it is very stroller friendly.

    With a stop for lunch, and 5 kids and two strollers in tow, it actually took us 3.5 hours to complete!

    I wouldn't mind taking the kids here again when the trees are in full bloom.

    Thanks for this post Tanya!

  5. We did this walk this weekend with our baby in the carrier and our 3-year old in the stroller. We loved it although our 3-year did often ask where the ducks were – the goal of the walk was to feed the ducks at the lake at the end of the walk. I think if it was any longer she wouldn't have been too happy. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Thanks for the comment. I added the “stroller-friendly” label back in. Sorry about that. I also removed the “under construction” note. Thanks for being so helpful. I'm glad you enjoyed the hike.

  7. Hello Tanya,

    Some time ago I found this hike on your site. As we wanted to get out of the house yesterday I tried to find it once more but failed doing so at first. Luckily I remembered vagely what the trail is called otherwise I would not have been able to find it as it is not mentioned in the categorie 'stroller-friendly' (any longer). So perhaps you can add it once more to that list as it is an absolute perfect hike with a stroller. We enjoyed every minute of it! By the way no part of the trail is under construction anymore.

    Hanneke

  8. This is something I will definitely take friends and family to when they visit, and we'll go again. We did the whole thing with a 1 year old and the dog. The dog played in the water almost the whole way, we had a snack at the little farm by the road mentioned above- there's fresh water, grass, a bench and shade- we walked past the rest of the river (being sure to check out the caves too) and all the way down to the park at the lake, played a bit, had a bigger snack at the restaurant by the boat wharf then went home. We left Greifensee at 9:44 this morning and got home at 4:44 this afternoon. What a perfect day trip. Thanks again Tanya.

  9. Thanks for the detailed description! We also made this walk about a month ago (after you gave a link to the website with the route description) and had a good time as well.

    Though, we were too lazy to walk close to the memorial, so we went half of the way and took a few pictures from the distance. 🙂 I would only add that it is a nice view on the Greifensee from the hill near the memorial.

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