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.
|Address:||Start: Forch train station, Alte Forchstr 20, Forch, Switzerland
End: Küsnacht train station, Bahnhofstrasse 1, 8700 Küsnacht
|Car:||~20 mins from Zurich|
|Train:||~30 mins from Zurich
Adult half fare round trip CHF 8.80
|Trail:||7 km one way, about 3 hours|
|Open:||year round, weather dependent|
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.
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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