Näfels Obersee Lake Hike

This beautiful alpine lake feels like a secret, hiding above some rocky cliffs, reached by a narrow one lane road. Once you get there, it’s easy walking on a smooth gravel path around the lake, good for families and pushchairs. The trail optionally dips into the forest, following the Lehrpfad, with illustrated signboards educating you about the flora and fauna in this area. There are lots of fire pits around the lake for a picnic with a view and plenty of grassy spots for lounging and running around. It’s beautiful in spring and summer, but we’ve also been in November when the lake was covered with ice and pretty as anything.

Location:   Glarus, Eastern Switzerland
Address: Oberseestrasse 69, 8752 Näfels
GPS: 47°05’17.6″N 9°01’16.5″E
Car: ~50 mins from Zurich
Train: no bus service
   
Trail: 2.7 km loop, about 1 hour
Condition: dirt, obstacle-free options
Skill: easy
Services: fire pits, restaurant
Cost: free
Open: April through November 
More info:

Overview

This is a short loop trail around the Obersee lake, which is in a high alpine valley. The south side of the trail is a smooth gravel/dirt path suitable for strollers. The north side of the trail is on a narrower lumpy dirt trail in the forest, not suitable for strollers. However, it parallels the paved road, so strollers can safely detour onto the lightly used road for this section. There are educational signboards along the trail about the flora and fauna in the area and a few carved wood sculptures. There are a few places to build fires as shown on the map below. Walking time was about 1 hour with kids, but we spent a two hours, slowing walking, exploring and eating lunch.

Getting There

This lake is west of Näfels at the entrance of the Glarus valley south of Zurich, only accessible by car.

By car: Drive to Näfels in the Glarus region, then follow signs west to the Oberseetal or Obersee. It’s a narrow one lane road that winds up the mountain about 7km to the lake. There are a few roads that split off the main road; continue following signs to Obersee. Park in the dirt lot next to the hotel at the east end of the lake, free to park. There is no bus service from Näfels to the Obersee.

Trail Details

The trail begins in front of the Berghaus Obersee, shown below, adjacent to the parking. We started to our left, hiking first along the south side of the lake.

There is a fountain with drinking water in the parking area so you can fill your water bottles.

Your first view of the lake, so pretty with the mountain reflections.

You can start on the Lehrpfad, shown below, just a few meters above the lake. It has has a few signboards about animals in the area (in German) scattered around the whole lake. Or you can start on the path directly on the lake shore. The Lehrpfad joins up with the lake shore after a couple minutes, so it doesn’t matter where you start.

One of the info boards.

View of the lake from the Lehrpfad, which now makes it way down to the that little bridge on the lake.

On the south side of the lake.

Looking back toward the Berghaus where we started the hike.

Reaching the west side of the lake. There is a fire pit there, a nice place for a picnic.

Walking along the west side of the lake.

On the west side of the lake, you’ll see trail signs for longer hikes. 

You can walk further west up this stream to a camping area with more fire pits, grassy field for sports and small swimming pool.

To keep on the Lehrpfad loop, just walk up to the road and follow the white Lehrpfad trail sign up into the forest as shown below. It’s only a few meters up this rocky road, then you turn right into the forest. 

The forest path is not suitable for strollers, so take the road instead which parallels the forest trail as shown below and leads back to your starting point. The road is very lightly used and hikers are expected on the road.

Here is the path leading into the forest and the lumpy forest path.

So pretty in the forest, everything covered in lush green moss.

Lots of interesting rock formations along the trail.

More signboards and a few wooden sculptures.

The forest trail briefly joins the road at this great picnic area. I recommend stopping here. There are a few fire pits, a little stream to explore and lots of grass for running. 

And of course, a fantastic view from the picnic area.

After your picnic, follow the trail back into the forest and follow it all the way back to your starting point.

Near the end, you’ll cross the road and join the lake shore again with lovely views across the lake to the start of the hike.

Hope you like it!

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Easy walk for families around beautiful Swiss alpine lake south of Zurich.

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2 comments

  1. Great post – thanks for the fun idea! I love that it is so close to Zürich and the pictures are very beautiful.

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