I found another good family-friendly bike ride in the Töss valley east of Zurich. The bike/skate route follows a small river on paved path, mostly separate from traffic in fields and forests, with a few sections in quiet neighborhoods. The path parallels the train line, so you can easily cut your ride short if the kids are too tired. There are a few picnic areas with fire pits, a couple playgrounds and even some geocaches along the route. It would be nice in all seasons, but I recommend going in late spring when the trees are green and the flowers are out.
|Address:||Start: Bahnhofstr. 8494 Bauma, CH
GPS: 47.368396, 8.879857
Finish: Tösstalstr. Sennhof-Kyburg, CH
GPS: 47.465498, 8.760328
|Car:||45 mins from Zurich|
|Transit:||1 hr from Zurich|
|Trail:||20 km, shorter and longer options|
|Open:||year round, weather dependent|
This bike route is the Radweg Tösstal as shown on the map below, following the Töss river.
In the map below, I’ve marked out a 20 km section of the route that is suitable for families, from Bauma to Sennhof (just before Winterthur). I like starting in Bauma because the bike route is right next to the train station, unlike in Saland and Wila. My route ends at the Sennhof-Kyburg train station because that is the last convenient train station before entering the city streets.
Riding this direction is down river, so slightly downhill. But we’re ridden both directions and it was fine for little kids either way.
This route follows the #53 Töss-Jona-Route (official route map), which is much longer in both directions so you could extend or shorter your ride as necessary. Starting in Saland (the town after Bauma), the route also joins #3 Mittelland Skate, which simply means the path is paved and obstacle free. So you could rollerskate on the path as well as bike.
There is also a very nice walking path along the river, usually on the opposite side of the river of the bike route. There are several free parking areas along the river so you don’t have to walk all the way from Bauma. If I were walking, I’d probably start in Au, near the camping, and walk north. There is a nice picnic area with a playground and fire pits about 500 m from the parking.
There are a few official picnic areas with fire pits, but lots of people just build a fire on the river banks and splash their feet in the shallow water.
There are water fountains at around 4.5 km and 18.5 km.
Get yourself to the Bauma train station as shown on the map below. You’ll find lots of metered parking spots by the station (5 CHF for 24 hours). There is at least one bike shop in town, Eisenhut Bikes, that might offer rentals. If you are coming with public transportation, remember to buy a ticket for your bike.
The bike route parallels the train tracks, so you can take the train back to your starting point. Here are the distances from Bauma:
- Saland 4 km (not convenient)
- Wila 8 km
- Turbenthal 10 km
- Ramismühle 12 km
- Rikon 14.5 km
- Kollbrunn at 18 km
- Sennhof-Kyburg 20 km.
Bike Route Details
From the Bauma train station, the bike path starts on the north side of the river, just west of the train station. Follow signs for the #53 Töss-Jona-Route. Near Saland, the route will join up with the #3 Mittelland Skate route, which you will follow the remainder of your ride.
This photo (from Wikimedia Commons) shows the Töss valley that you will be riding through.
In Bauma, ride north of the train station, taking the first right on Sennhüttenstr. Cross the bridge over the river then left, following the bike route signs. You will ride through some quiet neighborhood streets and country roads through grassy fields.
A few cars passed on these country roads, but they went slow. There is so much bike traffic that they must be used to it.
After about 4.5km, the bike path crosses a bridge over the river and turns right onto a bike path, separate from car traffic for most of the remainder of the route.
No cars here but lots of bikes.
At about 6 km, you’ll see this picnic area on the other side of the river along the walking path. You can cross the next bridge and ride over or wade through the river if it’s shallow enough. There is a wood box next to the fire pit.
This big playground and picnic area is near Wila, at about the 7.5 km from Bauma.
At about 8.5 km, you’ll pass the Neuguet swimming pool.
Under some bridges.
Along the tracks.
Some of the surrounding countryside.
Sometimes you have to cross a road, but nothing too busy.
Big open fields.
Lots of people were picnicking and building fires on the sides and the middle of the river.
Our picnic spot.
You’ll find this fountain near the sheep farm at about 18 km, slightly set back from the path next to the farm patio. We were out of water and so happy to find this.
Right before you reach the Sennhof-Kyburg train station, you’ll pass this school playground with swings, slide, climbing structures, etc.
One note: when we did this ride in early September, the river was empty. In May, the river was flowing nicely and people were splashing around in the water.
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