Hiking in Switzerland isn’t just an extreme sport for outdoor adventurers. The creators of the country’s 65,000 kilometers of trails included easy hikes for beginners and kid-friendly hikes for families with children. These trails don’t require any special preparation or equipment, although it always pays to have decent walking shoes and a small backpack for your child.
Mountain huts along the way serve hearty meals and picnic areas are stocked with wood. Themed trails highlight storybook characters and other whimsical features; others are category trails like nature hikes for older adventurous kids. Let the following list of kid-friendly hikes in Switzerland help you choose the best fit for your family.
MOORACULUM THEME TRAIL & ALPINE PLAYGROUND
Mooraculum Trail and Alpine Playground is located in Sörenberg, a mountain resort in Central Switzerland about a two-hour train ride from Zurich. The 1.4-kilometer loop theme trail features 18 stations along the way centered around ecology and the disappearing moor. Kids are rewarded with a huge playground designed to learn about the moor. It includes swings, slides, water play, obstacle courses, games, and a fun scavenger hunt with prizes. There is a nearby restaurant, fire pits, and picnic areas.
GIANT FOREST THEME TRAIL
This theme trail is located in Elm, a beautiful area in the Glarus region about two hours south of Zurich. First, you’ll take a cable car from the valley to Ämpächli Children’s Paradise with trampolines, a suspension bridge, tree houses, water play, and much more. The Giant Forest Theme Trail begins at a mountain top restaurant. The 2.6-kilometer trail is easy to walk and stroller friendly. Picnic areas and firepits are scattered along the route.
TOGGENBURG TONE TRAIL
Usually a popular winter destination for skiers and families, Toggenburg has a lot to offer in summer too. One of the most popular theme trails in Switzerland, the Toggenburg Tone Trail delights youngsters with at least 20 interactive musical tone “instruments” along a stroller-friendly trail. You’ll be surrounded by rolling hills with pretty wildflowers and soaring mountain peaks. The trail is rather long (6km), so count on spending most of the day. Several restaurants and picnic areas line the trail for stopping to eat and rest. It’s not a loop trail, but a bus at the end takes you back to the Toneburg parking lot. The trail is located in Alt St. Johann less than two hours from Zurich.
BRUNNI BAREFOOT TICKLE TRAIL
The Brunni Barefoot Tickle Trail in Engelberg is actually two-kid-themed hikes in one if you take the Globi Treasure Hunt Trail on the way up. The trail has kids searching for treasure along the way to solve a puzzle. Once at the top (you can also take a chairlift up) the sensory-themed trail is a short barefoot walk around a pond over rocks, bark, stones, and yes, cow pies. The kids will get wet, so take along a change of clothes. A large picnic area and restaurant are surrounded by fantastic scenery. The trail is between 2-3 kilometers one way. Get there from Zurich by train in just over two hours.
FLUMSERBERG WILD MAN NATURE TRAIL
Both younger and older kids will enjoy the themed Flumserberg Wild Man Nature Trail. The 3.2-kilometer interactive trail takes two hours to complete. It features storyboards along the way that tell the story of a little unkind wild man who lives in a cave. For three days every year, he comes back to make amends. Children can collect information along the way to solve a word puzzle and win a prize. Rope courses for all sizes of kids, a gigantic playground, and a restaurant are at the end of the trail It’s located in Eastern Switzerland less than two hours from Zurich.
The Champlönch-Il Fuorn route at the beginning of the Swiss National Park isn’t for tots and buggies, but it’s ideal for kids aged six and over thanks to the new interactive section. A booklet and GPS device available at the Park Centre leads the way with narratives about local mysteries and wildlife. Begin the 6-kilometer trail at the edge of the park at Ova Spins. From here it’s a gentle hike over the Champlönch (long field). The trail follows an old mule track and ends at the Hotel il Fuorn. Adventurous families can take a detour to Alp Grimmels to see the marmots and stunning views of the Oftenpass area. Find the beginning of the trail in Zernez less than two hours from Liechtenstein.
MÜRREN FLOWER TRAIL
School-aged children and tweens will enjoy the Mürren Flower Trail near the little car-free town of Mürren in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland. The trail starts at the top of the Allmendhubel Funicular train so you can skip overly-rigorous terrain. A playground with an alpine flower garden and a panoramic restaurant with a kid-friendly restaurant greet you. Hiking on the 2-kilometer one-way trail combines entertainment and nature with lookouts, obstacle courses, seesaws, and more in a scenery-laden setting. The zipline-style swing is not to be missed by kids six and older and is just scary enough to be cool but not dangerous. You’ll find great accommodations in Mürren, accessible only by the Schilthorn Cable Car or by cable car, and then train from Lauterbrunnen.
5 LAKES WALK
The 5 Lakes Walk is a themed trail centered around five crystal clear lakes. The 9.8-kilometer real is moderately difficult and suitable for kids aged six and older. It’s divided into three sections: a 5.6km path, a 2.5km dirt road, and a 1.7km nature trail. Each of the lakes are attractive for different reasons but each reflects the surrounding towering Alps including the famous Matterhorn. The Grunsee has a splendid view of more rugged terrain, and rare flowers grow on the shores of the Grindjisee. The 5 Lakes Walk is located in stunning Zermatt 3.5 hours from Zurich.
These are just a few of the kid-friendly hiking trails all across Switzerland. You’re sure to find more from themed trails, stroller-friendly ones, and easy to moderate level hikes for older kids. Some resources to check include Switzerland Mobility, the Swiss Alpine Club, and Hikr.org.