Jonental Valley Walk

Jonental is a pretty forested valley close to Zurich, good for a short outdoor break with the kids if you live nearby. This easy stroller-friendly walk meanders along a little stream, dipping in and out of the forest, with plenty of opportunities to throw rocks, gather sticks and other simple pleasures. The path passes by several picnic areas and fire pits, some with tables. I’ve been in spring and fall and it was lovely in both seasons with the spring wildflowers and fall colors.

Location:   Central Switzerland
Address: Oberstrasse 14, Hausen am Albis, Canton Zurich, Switzerland
Car: ~20 mins from Zurich
Train: ~25 mins from Zurich
Trail: 4 km one way, about 1 hour
Condition: dirt, obstacle-free
Skill: easy, elevation gain 40 m
Open: year round, weather dependent

Overview

This one way trail follows the Jonenbach (aka stream) through the forested Jonental (aka valley), slightly downhill from Zwillikon to Jonen. You can walk up and back or take a bus back to your starting point. I’ve marked the trail from Jonen to Zwillikon because there is bus service between these two towns. The whole trail shown below is 4.5 km one way. But if you are just walking up and back from Jonen, I would turn back before you pass under the freeway, making the round trip about 6km.

The main trail is a wide dirt path suitable for strollers, except one section where I’ve marked the stroller alternative in red. Bike share sections of the path, so keep very little kids close by so you can warn them if a bike comes zooming by.

There are several picnic areas with fire pits along the trail, as shown on the map. At the forest hut, aka Waldhut Jonen, near the chapel, there is a big picnic area, firepit and water. I didn’t see wood stocked at the fire pits we used, but there is plenty of fallen wood to use.

If you are interested in longer walks from this area, see Die Freizeitfreunde.

Getting There

By car: drive to Jonen, southwest of Zurich.

Once in Jonen, follow brown signs to the Jonental. You could put Obschlagenstrasse, Jonen in your GPS. There is a small parking lot at the trail head, marked with the green flag below.

By public transportation: it’s easiest to take a train to Hedingen or Affoltern a.A. (S5 and S14), then walk to the trail. From Hedingen, it’s about 1.5 km walk along quiet country roads and paths to reach the trail head near Zwillikon, as shown below. I’ve done it and it was a nice walk.

From Affoltern a.A., it’s about a 2 km walk to the trail head near Zwillikon or you can take a bus to Zwillikon (runs about every 30 minutes, 4 min ride).

To return from Jonen, you would take a bus back to Affoltern a.A. (runs about every 30 mins, 8 min ride), then catch a train.

Details

Here is what the trail looks like in May, very lush with lots of wildflowers.

This is what it looks like in early October, lots of fall colors.

Here are some of the trail signs you’ll see. In general, follow the yellow Wanderweg sign.

I’ll be showing the photos a little out of order. I’ve hiked both directions on this hike, in spring and fall, so the photos are all over the place.

If you are parking in Jonen, you will start walking northwest on the road, shown on the left. You’ll pass a couple houses and farms then the trail will lead along the stream to your right. If you take the forest trails on your right, you will hike up the hill into the forest, away from the river.

After you leave the houses, you’ll pass by this little pond, so lovely with fall colors n early October.

When you see the little bridge on the right below, strollers will need to take this path (same as bikes) to detour around the section that is too narrow and bumpy for strollers.

The non-stroller path looks like this, leading to the chapel.

Here’s looking back at the chapel after crossing the big bridge. You can walk straight up the hill (past the statue shown below) to rejoin the wider stroller path and reach the forest hut shown below.

Here is the forest hut, with covered picnic tables, a fire pit with grill, and water.

Back to the chapel along the river. A couple was getting married there the day we were hiking.

From the chapel, you can keep walking along the river. You’ll have to walk along this funny wood walkway.

More of the fun narrow path before you connect back with the stroller-friendly path.

This bridge is near where the stroller path converges with the narrow path along the river. There are some fire pits here, a nice place for a picnic. Kids can easily wade in the water and explore the riverbank.

Icy cold water.

Back on the stroller-friendly trail. Sometimes the trail borders wide open fields.

Sometimes headed into the shade.

Always near the stream.

One of the picnic areas. To reach this one, you cross a little bridge to the other side of the stream.

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If you are walking from the train station in Hedingen, you will walk through a little neighborhood, by the stream shown below.

Then along quiet country roads, following the bike path and yellow hiking signs to Jonen and Kappelle Jonental. The pic on the right shows where you take a hard right to start down into the Jonen valley.

After you walk under the freeway, you enter the forest of the Jonen valley.

Pretty forested valley close to Zurich with easy stroller-friendly walk, meandering along a little stream, dipping in and out of the forest, with plenty of opportunities to throw rocks, gather sticks and other simple pleasures. Good for kids. Zurich Region Switzerland.

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