Rafting on the Linth Canal – Ziegelbrücke to Schmerikon

One of the first trips we took with our own inflatable rafts after moving to Switzerland was this easy route down the Linth Canal from Ziegelbrücke to Schmerikon.

Detail Summary
Location:The Linth Canal – Ziegelbrücke to Schmerikon
Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland
Car:Zürich -> Ziegelbrücke (put-in) – 45 min
Ziegelbrücke ->Schmerikon – 15 min
Zürich ->Schmerikon (take-out) – 40 min
Train:Zürich -> Ziegelbrücke (put-in) – 50 min
Ziegelbrücke ->Schmerikon – 24 min
Zürich ->Schmerikon (take-out) – 1 hr
Duration:About 3.5 hours (14 kilometers)

This route makes for a relaxing and fun afternoon out on the water. Convenient to train stations and easy parking, getting there is uncomplicated and stress-free. The route itself is easy too, with only one rapid at the beginning of the route (easily avoided if you desire) and no other major obstacles. While it isn’t the prettiest route we’ve done (the canal parallels the power-lines most of the way), there are still plenty of lovely places to stop for a picnic or a swim. We have done this route several times now, and I’m sure we will do it again.

Important! Swimming in rivers, even artificial ones such as the Linth canal, can pose significant risks. Currents can be stronger than they appear, and dangerous currents and whirlpools can arise, for example, around hidden obstacles such as driftwood below the water surface. Each person on board must have a life-jacket. You are also required to clearly label your raft with your name and contact information.

Getting There

This is a great route to do when you only have one car or are using public transportation as the put-in and take-out points are right next to the train stations in Ziegelbrücke and Schmerikon, respectively. There is a direct line between the two stations, making it simple to retrieve a car left at the put-in. Both train stations have ample metered parking.

Put -in: Ziegelbrücke, Bahnhof, 8866 Ziegelbrücke
Take-out: Schmerikon, Bahnhof, 8716 Schmerikon

Renting equipment? Guided Tour? I don’t know of any companies that do guided tours or rent equipment for this route. If anyone knows of any, please let me know in the comments.

The Put-In

We drove to Ziegelbrücke and parked in the train station parking lot. There, we inflated our rafts and carried them across the street to the put-in on the canal. There is a path here running along the canal and there are two put-in points, one right before the rapid and one right after the rapid. You can see the rapid from the path to help you decide if you want to attempt it or not. We did the rapid, so we used the put-in just before it.

On the Canal

After launch, we immediately went through the rapid. This is a fun, but slightly challenging rapid. Helpfully, there are signs up to guide you through – you want to go between the green triangles.

Despite following this guidance, not all of us managed to get through the rapid without capsizing. Very happy everyone was wearing their life-jacket! After everyone was back in their rafts, we regrouped and continued on down the canal.

After about an hour or so of lazily drifting and admiring the silly floats other people were using (pink flamingos, a giant popsicle), we stopped for a picnic lunch and a swim. Although the canal parallels the power-lines, the view still has its charms.

About two thirds of the way down, the canal takes a bend and leaves the power-lines behind giving an unobstructed view of nature.

On the Obersee

The end of the canal brought us to the Obersee and here we needed to do a bit of paddling. After exiting the canal, we needed to paddle across a second canal exit and then around a pebble covered peninsula before crossing the Obersee to the landing point. Depending on the wind and currents, this part can be challenging. On a previous trip, the lake was extremely choppy and this part took forever to do. However, this trip was perfect and it was not difficult at all.

Even though it wasn’t difficult this time, we still stopped briefly on the peninsula for a short break and to enjoy the view.

We then paddled the rest of the way across the lake to the landing point.

The Take-Out

At the take-out there is a grassy area to land with plenty of room to pack-up the rafts. The train station is right next to the take-out. So, while my husband ran and caught the next train back to Ziegelbrücke to get the car, the kids and I deflated and dried the rafts.

The take-out point is such a lovely place to relax. And, as the Obersee was warmer than usual, we took a nice long swim before packing up and heading home.

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