(MENAFN – Swissinfo) Switzerland is very suitable for pedestrians. With 65,000 km of marked hiking trails, there are routes for every ability level. This is a network map:

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Before you pack your backpack, put on your hiking shoes, and hit the road, see the following tips we made for you.

Where can I find inspiration?

Swiss Mobility offers a comprehensive increment index based on location, theme, and level of fitness needed. Swiss Tourism narrowed it down to ’32 most enjoyable climbs”. Other outstanding resources are the Swiss Hiking Path Federation and the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). The user-created site Hikr.org is constantly updated with the latest tips in several languages. The Federal Topographic Office sells a detailed collection of printed maps.

How do I know if it’s the easy or difficult route?

Signposting is consistent throughout Switzerland (and Liechtenstein) thanks to the efforts of hiking enthusiasts in the 1930s.

Paths that require little effort are indicated by yellow signs or arrows, often displaying figures with backpacks and sticks. Signs that indicate height, intersection and distance are also yellow, and can mark various types of tracks. This provides an estimated time needed to reach the closest point, including the train station and bus stop.

64% of the lines are yellow, or easy. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Red and white signs, often painted on rocks, mark the road where pedestrians can expect steep and narrow passages. “Users must be sure and free of vertigo, and in good physical condition, and be aware of the dangers of mountains,” noted the hiking federation.

Mountain hiking trails account for 35% of the network. Keystone / Alessandro Della Bella

Mountain trails are indicated by blue and white signs. It often crosses snow fields and glaciers, and may require climbing with rope, pickaxes, and crampons. When glaciers melt, this path becomes more challenging.

Only 1% of the alpine-style track. Keystone / Arno Balzarini

In winter, snow converts many basic yellow trails into seasonal winter hiking trails. This is indicated by Pink signs. No special equipment is needed except decent winter boots with a tread to handle the ice bits.

Sometimes this path crosses ski trails and sledges. Schweizer Wanderwege

Where can I check the weather?

Always check the weather before leaving, because rainfall can be translated into slippery rocks. The national weather service, MeteoSwiss, provides detailed forecasts including hazard warnings, such as strong winds or avalanches. If possible, find out if your destination is shrouded in mist by looking at webcam feeds from the nearest cable car or hut.

Who maintains all these hiking trails?

In a unique law throughout the world, Article 88 of the Swiss constitution requires that Swiss footpaths and hiking trails are maintained in good and safe conditions. Maintenance work is assigned at the cantonal and municipal level. Around 1,500 volunteers and helpers carry out tasks such as cutting branches, correcting steps and adjusting signs.

A city worker paints a marker in Val Lumnezia Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

How much does hiking cost, and who pays?

Apart from shortcuts such as cable cars and occasional hiking cottage breaks, this national sport is free for all pedestrians. The money to maintain the network comes from cantons and donations. Total annual investment is around CHF53 million ($ 53.4 million). According to the climbing federation, this includes operational maintenance, repair and signing of the network and other costs. Also, SAC invests several hundred thousand francs per year to maintain and increase access to its hut.

How safe is hiking in Switzerland?

It is important to make sure you are on the right track. But no matter how experienced or careful you are, there is always an element of risk. Every year, around 20,000 pedestrians crash in Switzerland; several dozen died. Last summer, four people fell to their deaths and a landslide killed one pedestrian and several others were stranded in the Bernese Alps.

“Dangerous and often difficult to pass channels and canyons appear in layers between recoiled glaciers and moraine or rock,” Hans-Rudolf Keusen, a geologist who serves as co-president of SAC huts and infrastructure huts, recently told SAC infrastructure. Swiss public television, SRF.

Local authorities generally block the path as soon as they find out the problem. Pedestrians can always check with a hiking federation or SAC for advice.

It is also important to keep the herd with the calf, because the mother is very protective. However, in the agricultural zone you can find an electric fence even if no cattle are visible.

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