Best Hikes from Zurich by Train

Last updated on 08 August 2018

If you don’t have a car in Switzerland, you can still easily access lots of amazing hikes with public transportation, which is punctual, reliable, clean, and well connected. However it can be expensive, take much longer than driving, and stressful if you have lots of connections with short transfer times.

So I’ve put together a list of hikes that are easy to reach by public transportation from the Zurich main station and listed the estimated costs to help plan your trip.

See also our Tips for making Swiss hiking more affordable

First, what does “easy by train” mean?

No one likes running to catch a connecting train, especially with kids, or loading and unloading a stroller multiple times in one trip. So I’ve picked locations with:

  • minimal connections, ideally no more than one
  • easy connections, i.e. transfer on same track or bus just outside train station
  • minimal walking distance from the public transportation to the mountain transport or trail head.
  • ideally less than 2 hours travel time to mountain transport

Make sure to double check the bus schedules, since many local buses run very infrequently, like once an hour or only a couple times a day.

** All fares quoted below are samples based on 2017 prices, for one adult round trip from Zurich HB with the SBB Half-fare discount. It does not include local Zurich city travel. Fares may change.

** Since this post includes info tables, it looks best on a larger screen, not so great on phones.

Hikes easy by train, no extra costs

These are not the most exciting hikes on my list, but they are very easy to reach, with only one connection, usually from a train to a local bus. These hikes do not require mountain transport, so no extra costs. The connections are based on the simplest route, though other routes may exist.

Destination   Connections  Time* Price* Hike Info
Kusnacht Ravine 1 train 20mins 8.80 7 km one way
Sihlwald 1 train 20mins 8.80 2 km loop theme trail
Horgen Ravine 1 train, 1 bus 20mins 8.40 2.8 km one way
Devil’s Gorge 1 train, 1 bus 1hr5 34.40 4.2 km one way
Zugerberg 1 train, 1 bus 45mins 17.40 2.8 km loop theme trail
Caumasee 1 train, 1 bus 2hr 55.20 10 min to lake or
7 km round trip to gorge

Hikes easy to reach + mountain transport

These hikes are more exciting, but they also require mountain transport to reach the trails (except Walensee, which requires a ferry). So the quoted travel time and costs only get you to the valley station and do not include the cable car or funicular at your destination.

Destination   Connections  Time* Price* Hike Info
Mount Rigi 1 train 40mins 21.80 viewpoint + 9 km panorama trail
Walensee 1 train, 1 bus 1hr 27.80 4 km round trip
Flumserberg 1 train 1hr 32.60 3.2 km theme trail
Sattel Hochstuckli 1 train 1hr10 27.00 bouncy castles and hikes
Stoos 1 train, 1 bus 1hr15 29.20 2 km panorama trail
Pizol 1 train, 1 bus 1hr10 37.60 4.1 km loop theme trail or 10k lake hike
Pilatus 1 train, 1 bus 1hr20  38.40 Panorama walk at top
Braunwald 1 train 1hr30 27.80 3.5 to 7.6 km theme trail
Toggenburg 1 train, 1 bus 1hr50 50.20 6 km theme trail or 3 km panorama loop

Farther away & slightly more effort

Hikes in this list take more effort to reach, most with 2 connections and longer travel times, around 2 to 2.5 hours. My kids usually don’t mind such long train trips, but with smaller children you’ll need to consider how you’ll entertain them during the ride. Look for trains with the family car, which includes a small playground for children.

Destination   Connections &  Travel Time Price* Hike Info
Hoch Ybrig 2 trains, 1 bus 1hr30 29.20 Panorama trail
Elm 2 trains, 1 bus 1hr50 27.80 2.6 km theme trail
Engelberg 2 trains, 1 bus 2hr 38.00 Globi trail + barefoot path
Trübsee lake walk
Ebenalp 2 trains 2hr05 40.00 15 min to viewpoint or
7.5 km hike to lake and down
Niederhorn 1 train, 1 bus 2hr00 70.00 7.2 km panorama ridge hike
Bannalp 2 trains, 1 bus 2hr05 35.60 2.5 km dwarf theme trail
Oeschinensee 2 trains 2hr20 75.00 4 km round trip to lake
Lenzerheide 1 train, 1 bus 2hr25 52.40 4 km Foxolino trail
Hasliberg 2 trains, 1 bus 2hr30 47.20 4 km dwarf theme trail

Famous Destinations

This list show the famous destinations and regions that you will want to visit and what sort of travel time and connections you will face. I’ve quoted the times to a central point in each region. You’ll have more travel time to reach your final destination. Good luck!

Cost: Most of these are so far from Zurich, that it’s most affordable to get a SBB Day Pass (aka Tageskarte) which is CHF 75, but only if you have a SBB Half-fare card. This entitles you to unlimited travel all over Switzerland for one day.

You can also buy a discounted Saver Day Pass up to 60 days in advance with or without a SBB Half-fare card. You can also buy discounted Day Pass from your Gemeinde without a SBB Half-fare card.

Destination   Connections Travel Time
Zermatt Area 2 trains 3hr15 to Zermatt
Valais Region 1 train 2hr20 to Brig
Jungfrau Region 3 trains 2hr30 to Lauterbrunnen
Ticino 1-2 train 2hr20 to Locarno or Lugano
Engadin 2 trains 3hr20 to St. Moritz
Western Switzerland 1-2 trains 1hr30 to Fribourg/Neuchâtel
2hr50 to Geneva

Know of any other hikes that are easy to reach by public transportation? Leave a comment and help us out.

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4 comments

  1. This blog is amazing. Thank you so much for putting all this information together. I don’t even have kids and still use your blog as a go-to guide when planning hikes, especially when visitors are coming or my husband and I are looking for a quick way to get out of the city.

    1. Thanks so much! It’s so nice to get feedback like yours. So glad I could help. Wishing your lots of fun adventures this summer.

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