Hiking in Switzerland is a national past-time for family and friends, with many themed trails to attract even the most casual of hikers – including kids.
Switzerland, with its sprawling wilderness, rolling hills and beautiful mountains, is a hiking paradise, for veteran hikers and novices alike. In fact, locals and tourists together spend more than 40 million days per year hiking the country’s trails!
Thanks to the Wanderweg signs that mark the 60,000 kilometers of hiking trails in Switzerland, it is easy to choose the best hike to suit your fancy. The yellow Wanderweg signs are peppered along each trail so you never lose your way. They also give you the approximate time each hike will take to complete, and even sometimes its level of difficulty. So you can pick your poison: a day-long adventure, or a quick stroll with the kids.
As a matter of fact, Switzerland’s trails are a great way to teach kids how to hike. In particular, the interactive play stations along many trail help children focus on the fun instead of their tired legs.
Here’s a selection of some of the best family-friendly hikes in Switzerland.
1. Toggenburg Tone Trail
The Toggenburg Tone Trail is the gold standard when it comes to theme trails. More than 20 interactive musical instruments scattered along this stroller-friendly trail.
Your kids will be motivated to keep walking because you can usually either see or hear the next thing to kling, clank or bang. In addition, there are also a few playgrounds, lots of picnic areas and restaurants along the way. All this in the beautiful Swiss alps, with dramatic mountain peaks and rolling hills filled with wildflowers.
2. Engelberg Tickle Trail and Globi Treasure Hunt
The Tickle Trail is an old favorite hike in Switzerland. The main attraction is a very short sensory trail around a little pond. There, you walk barefoot over surfaces like stones, sticks, bark, mud, and even cow pies.
Bring extra clothes: you will get wet! You can take a lift to reach the trail or hike there on the Globi Treasure Hunt trail, searching for treasure chests along the trail to solve a puzzle. There’s also a big playground, a trampoline, alpine slide, water play, etc. Your kids may never want to come home.
3. Muggestutz Dwarf Adventure Trail
This trail has play stations along the way that match up with the Muggestutz storybook, which tells about the magical dwarfs that supposedly live in the area.
There are swings to simulate an eagle’s flight, a maze, a ladder up to a nest with a hidden treasure, a pine cone drying station, and little dwarf houses, with tables set and laundry drying as if you just missed them. It’s adorable and a fantastically beautiful hike as well.
4. Wirzweli Witch Trail
This children’s trail near Luzern tells the story of Lizi, the ‘herb witch’, through a series of interactive and informative stations, including a flying broom zip line, pine cone toss, guessing herbs by smell, a witch’s house, etc.
Kids have fun spying various witch artifacts hidden it the trees, such as brooms, spiders, bats, owls and other animal statues. The trail is not suitable for strollers but is mostly downhill and not difficult, recommended for children aged four and older.
5. Sihlwald Forest Trail
The Sihlwald ‘Walderlebnispfad‘ is a short but enjoyable loop hiking trail in Switzerland through the forest with 12 interactive stations, including a wood log xylophone, a barefoot path, an animal long jump, and raised path through a mysterious bog.
This is very close to Zurich, so it’s a good choice for a quick outing. Although it is open all year, it is particularly charming in spring when the flowers are out, or in October when the fall leaves are changing.
6. Flumserberg ‘Wild Man’ Nature Trail
Storyboards on this trail tell of a little wild man that lived in a cave at Flumserberg, who was unkind to animals and nature. After a change of heart, the wild man was allowed to return to Flumserberg every year for three days to make amends.
Each station has an educational game or activity, like matching animals with the plants they eat or comparing your speed to various animals. At the end of the trail, there is a big play area, restaurant, and rope courses for both big and small. It’s a full day of adventure in the mountains.
This low-key mountain area has a cute little children’s trail, with a story told on picture boards along the way, accompanied by an activity for the kids. The story tells about children searching for a magic crystal protected by dwarfs.
There are also little wooden dwarfs hidden along the trail. Searching for these keeps children motivated to keep walking. Next to the lake, there’s a big picnic area with lots of fire pits and play stuff for the kids.
8. Swiss National Park Bear Trail
This trail has nine interactive stations along the trail that teach you about bears.
One of the best stations on this hike is where each block of wood represents the weight of a bear at a certain age. There are several picnic spot with grill pits and lots of nice spots along the river to lounge.