It can be frustrating to figure out which trails are open when and the best time to visit certain areas. Some trails are covered in snow longer than others. Some mountain transport opens much earlier than others. So here’s a little calendar of suggested hikes for each month, to give you an idea of which trails we’ve done at certain times of the year and what they look like at that time. Of course, any hike that was done in spring or fall, would also be great in summer. Enjoy!
This is the first month of the year when I start thinking about getting back on the trail. Most trails won’t be open for a few months yet, but there are lots of valley trails and river walks to satisfy that urge to be outdoors and build a fire.
Most kids have lots of school holidays in April, so it’s frustrating that, for the most part, you can’t ski or hike during this time. We think of April as the time to chase the flowers, go on a bike ride, or fly south and do a beach holiday slightly off-season. So we don’t do much hiking in April.
This is when hiking season begins, even though most mountain transport and high elevation trails are still closed. During May, we pick hikes that don’t require mountain transport and are usually in lower elevation valleys. This is also waterfall season, when the snow is melting and the waterfalls are roaring!
June is a tease. We might have lots of hot sunny days but in the mountains, the snow is still melting. Some resorts do open in June, so it’s good to check the mountain websites to see what’s open when and check the webcams. It’s fun to go the first weekend a resort is open because they often have special events, free food or giveaways to celebrate. Also, don’t forget to go strawberry picking.
This is the real beginning of mountain hiking season. Almost all mountain transport and trails are open for business and many of the special summer events are held during this month. If you are planning a holiday in the Swiss Alps, it’s probably best to book the last week of July or into August.
This is the best month for hiking. You typically get the best weather (relatively dry and warm). There are still wildflowers, which are usually gone by September. It’s a great time for camping.
Summer might be technically over, but Switzerland often has some of its best, clearest weather in the first two weeks of September. I’ve done many of my favorite hikes in September.
Most mountain transport stays open through the fall Swiss school holidays (Herbstferien), which usually means through the third weekend in October. Some are already closed and some trails already have snow, so it’s very important at this time to check the websites and weather reports beforehand before heading out.
Sometimes we get a sunny, relatively warm November without much snow. Most mountain transport is closed during this time, taking a break before ski seasons starts. But the following options having mountain transport open year round.
December to February
During winter, we might do winter walks in the mountains, where the paths are groomed and don’t require snowshoes. We also do local low elevation walks, just to get some fresh air.