Zurich Family Hike: Elefantenbach Ravine

You’ll love this gorgeous family hike along a little stream in the forest above Zurich. It’s so nearby, it’s strange I never knew about it until now. In the middle of the trail, there’s a big elephant statue in the middle of the stream, spouting water out of its truck. Children can splash around in the stream, while parents prepare lunch at the adjacent picnic area with tables and a fire pit. There is also a nature quiz for kids on signboards along the trail. It’s an easy and beautiful nature outing for families living in Zurich.

Location:   Zurich City
Address: Start: Loorenstr, Witikon bus stop
End: Burgwies, Zurich tram stop
By car: best by public transit, street parking available near Burgwies at Waserstrasse 20A, 8032 Zürich and metered spots at nearby Migros grocery
By transit: ~25 mins from Zurich HB, Adult Zurich Tageskarte CHF 6.70 with Half-fare
   
Trail: 3 km one way, about 1 hour
Condition: dirt, suitable for strollers except a few stairs
Skill: easy
Services: grocery at start and end of trail, picnic area with grill and tables in middle of trail
Open: year round, weather dependent
More info: www.wanderland.ch

Overview

The trail starts in Witikon, a Zurich neighborhood in the hills east of Tiefenbrunnen. The trail follows the Elefantenbach stream through a forest, leading down to Zurich. After 3 km, you exit the forest at the busy Forchstrasse, where you can catch a tram back into town.

This trail has a few names: Stockentobelweg, which means Stocken Ravine Path. It’s also called Elephantenbachweg, referring to stream and the elephant statue in the middle of the trail. This is part of the official Wehrenbachtobelweg, which is a 7 km loop.

For a longer walk: Instead of ending at Burgwies, just continue walking through the tunnel under the Forschstrasse, following the trail along the Hornbach river, which leads all the way to Zurich lake. See the Zurich Forest Walk: Hornbach Stream for details on that section.

Getting There

This one way trail is in Zurich city and is best reached by public transportation.

By public transport: Take Tram 3 or 8 to Klusplatz, then Bus 701, 703, or 704 to Loorenstrasse, Witikon. You will finish the hike at Burgwies, where you can take the tram back. The whole hike is in Zone 10, so you just need a Zurich City Tageskarte ticket.

By car: There are a few street parking spots at the end of the trail near Burgwies, at Waserstrasse 20A, 8032 Zürich and metered spots at the Migros across the street.

Start of the trail

After leaving the bus stop, walk north on Loorenstrasse. Do not take the first path you see on your left, which walks above the ravine, instead of down in the ravine. Instead take the second path on your left, show below.

This sign means you are in the right place. Follow the trail down into the forest.

The start of the trail has a few stairs as shown here. After that, the trail is a wide smooth dirt path, suitable for strollers. If you are bringing a stroller, just carry it down these few steps.

Trail Impressions

This is what the path looks like for most of the way.

A pretty bridge along the way.

   

There is one fountain on the trail with drinkable water, near the picnic area.

The picnic spot with tables, grill pit and shelter. The elephant statue is in the stream right below here.

The elephant statue in the stream. The stream is very shallow here, perfect for kids to splash around.

Here is one of the Quiz cards on the trail. The answer is on the back of the card. This one asks “How many fish do 10 penguins eat in one day, if each day each penguin eats 10 fish, but one only eats 9?”

After awhile the trail looks like it splits, as shown below. Stay on the main gravel path on your left. This area is a protected nature reserve.

A few more stairs and some downhill walking as you near the end of the trail.

The trail exits the forest at this sign. Turn right on the paved road, Waserstrasse, and walk down to Forschstrasse. You can see a few blue zone parking spots right here.

Here is the end of the trail. If you are done, climb up the stairs and catch the tram home. If you want to keep walking, go through the tunnel and continue on the path next to the stream, which leads all the way to Zurich lake. See the Zurich Forest Walk: Hornbach Stream for details on that section. 

The Hornbach section is also very pretty, also through the forest, passing by a big picnic area with a grill pit and soccer pitch.

You can also make a detour to the free Botanical Gardens, with hundreds of plant varieties and tropical greenhouses. 

Don’t forget to Pin this for later…

Easy family hike in the Zurich city forest. Kids love the elephant statue that sprays water out its spout and the shallow stream for splashing around.

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2 comments

  1. I just popped on to check out some details for a trip I am planning for our incoming visitors…and I love that there are always new surprises! How cute is that Elephant…I need a trip just to see the statue. This looks like a great one for the MomsTotsZurich hiking group during shoulder season. =)

  2. Hi

    I should be thank you for your writing about beautiful Switzerland. I just came back from holiday in Swiss but unluckily not had a chance to view Matterhorn from Gornegrat due to bad weather. I read about that place from your blog.

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