Seven hiking tips for your perfect Indian summer in Switzerland

Autumn doesn't have to mean cold or dreary foggy blues. We suggest seven hiking routes to enchanting places where the season shows its colourful side.

The summer heat is history, the sunlight is slowly becoming softer and bathes the increasingly yellow and red leaves on the trees in a golden glow. What better way to chase away the autumn fog or clouds than with our hiking tips while you can still see far into the distance? 

Autumnal magic in the forests around Scuol. © Schweiz Tourismus / Jan Geerk

When does the colourful time begin?

Since the leaves don´t change colour from one day to the next, that is a good question. Especially if you want to plan ahead and combine your trip with an overnight stay in the area where you are hiking.

The following portals are recommended for colour forecasts in Switzerland:

  • The autumn colour monitor of SRF Meteo: Here the Swiss map turns from green to yellow, orange, deep red and brownish – depending on the progress of the autumn colours.
  • The foliage tracker of Switzerland Tourism: This interactive map shows the extent to which leaves are changing colour and provides a lot of additional information. Here you will also find information on parks, mountain railways, restaurants, adventure and hiking trails and much more.

Convenient travel times for colorful experiences. © Schweiz Tourismus

1. The classic: hiking through the golden vineyards

Among the countless discovery walks, I found the one from Saint-Saphorin particularly beautiful, with a stop at Fischer Vins in Chenaux. Accommodation is available at the Lausanne or Montreux youth hostels. 

Fairytale view of the winegrowing village of Saint-Saphorin. © Schweiz Tourismus / Marcus Gyger

2. Magic colours in the Engadine

If you stay at the Scuol Youth Hostelyou will reach Guarda via an impressive stage of the Road to Santiago with a view over Tarasp. Alternatively, you can stay at the youth hostels in St. Moritz or Pontresina and from there hike along the Via Engiadina. 

 

Tarasp Castle, nestled in the magnificent autumn landscape. © Schweiz Tourismus / Martin Maegli

3. Mystical paths through the moor

The splendour of autumn is particularly beautiful and mysterious in the moors of the Entlebuch UNESCO biosphere. The large Sörenberg moor circuit is a family-friendly theme trail and easily accessible from Lucerne. Lucerne Youth Hostel welcomes you to the picturesque Rotsee lake. 

Gilded panorama in the Entlebuch region. © Schweiz Tourismus / Jan Geerk

4. Radiant forests in the Valais

 For the second adventure, you should preferably explore the 5-lake trail near Zermatt. Benches where you can take a rest and picture-book scenery with the Matterhorn can be found on the shore of Lake Grindji, among other places. 

In the evening you can rest your tired feet in the  Top Family Hostel– here too, of course, with views of the legendary Matterhorn. 

Radiant mountain peaks at Grindji Lake, Zermatt. © Schweiz Tourismus / Roland Gerth

5. Autumn chestnut trail in Ticino

If you like to scuffle your feet in the leaves and occasionally come across some ripe chestnuts, you should not miss the chestnut trail. 

The route along the “Sentiero del Castagno” is considered easy, but still takes more than three hours. However, there are delightful grottos along the way that tempt you to stop for a break – and the view of the Alto Malcantone is unforgettable. 

The starting point can be easily reached by public transport from Locarno, where you can also stay overnight in the youth hostel. 

Pleasant encounters on the chestnut trail via Mugena in Malcantone. © Schweiz Tourismus / Jan Geerk

6. Above the sea of fog on the Üetliberg

And it’s also an easy way to leave the valley fog behind. Above the fog, warmth, panoramas and a good dose of sunshine await. Exercise and fresh air are an added bonus on the Üetliberg – Albispass hike. 

You can book accommodation for the night at the nearby Zurich Youth Hostels, with or without a trip to the city’s booming nightlife. 

Fantastic light over Lake Zurich. © Schweiz Tourismus / Christof Sonderegger

7. Magnificent view from Chellenchöpfli (BL)

The Baselland region also receives glowing reviews as an autumn hiking country. The classic hike up the Chellenchöpfli is especially recommended here. The circular hike from Wasserfallen presents you with golden views and takes you past the highest point in the Basel region. 

Reigoldswil, the valley station of the gondola lift, is easily reached by train and bus from Basel. In Basel itself, staying at the Design Youth Hostel means you will be in a prime location. 

Spectacular billows of fog and mist are also part of the programme if you’re lucky. © Schweiz Tourismus / Jan Geerk

On which hike did you enjoy the Indian Summer the most? Tell us your insider tips in the comments! 

In the best condition

Guntlis_SWW

Did you know that hundreds of volunteers
keep the trails in good condition all over the country?

Romantic autumn

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Natalie not only knows the loveliest hikes in Switzerland, but is also taken with the enchanting youth hostels in castles and palaces. 

Couples Families Friends In the mountains
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