Hiking the Zürichsee-Rundweg Trail – Stage 3 Horgen to Richterswil

After challenging ourselves to hike all ten stages of the Zürichsee-Rundweg trail, we made good progress by completing Stage 1 and Stage 2 the first weekend. This weekend, we continued our quest and completed stage 3. This stage starts at the Horgen train station and goes along the lake shore down to the Richterswil train station. At 13 km, this trail is long enough to be a hike, but with only minimal elevation change it felt more like a very long stroll. While this stage was an easy walk, it still had gorgeous views all along the way.

Detail Summary

Where:Horgen to Richterswil, Canton Zürich
Train:Zürich HB -> Horgen (See) – 22 min
Richterswil -> Zürich HB – 30 min
What:Zürichsee-Rundweg Trail – Stage 3
Skill:Easy – About 3 hr
Length 13 km, Ascent 120 m, Descent 120 m

Additional Info

Photo Stories for All Stages
The Zürichsee-Rundweg is a ten stage trail that starts and ends in Zürich, Bürkliplatz and makes a complete loop around lake Zürich (including the Obersee). Photo stories for each stage here:
Stage 1 – Zürich, Bürkliplatz–Adliswil
Stage 2 – Adliswil–Horgen
Stage 3 – Horgen–Richterswil
Stage 4 – Richterswil–Pfäffikon SZ
Stage 5 – Pfäffikon SZ–Schmerikon
Stage 6 – Schmerikon–Rapperswil SG
Stage 7 – Rapperswil SG–Stäfa
Stage 8 – Stäfa–Meilen
Stage 9 – Meilen–Küsnacht ZH
Stage 10 – Küsnacht ZH–Zürich, Bürkliplatz

Getting There

This trail is best done with public transportation as each stage will start and end at different points. Stage 3 starts at the Horgen (See) train station, about a 22 min ride from Zürich HB. After arriving at the train station and just a short walk over to the lake shore, we were right back to where we left the trail at the end of stage 2. Pretty view, even though the Horgen fountain was not running.

The Trail – Along the Lake

After leaving the Horgan train station, the trail hugs the lake shore. As we strolled along, we passed the Horgen ferry port and the Käpfnach Sportbad (german only website) with its in-lake pool.

We also saw many lovely water views and quite a few restaurants and snack shops. We enjoyed the views, but did not stop anywhere to eat.

The Trail – On the Au Peninsula

After about 3.5 kilometers the trail takes a sharp left, as it heads onto the Au peninsula. The trail took us past beautiful views of the lake and by Schloss Au, a charming old estate built in the neo-baroque style.

After passing Schloss Au, the trail continues along the shore and through the woods until it reaches the Au Peninsula ferry dock. Here the trail heads up through the woods to the top of the Au peninsula where there is a restaurant with a magnificent view.

Again, we didn’t stop to eat. We were just hiking and enjoying the views. Restaurants are open, and there is outside dining, but with coronavirus numbers rising again, even outside dining doesn’t feel like a good idea to me. After passing the restaurant, the trail heads down the steps and through the vineyards. It wasn’t until we reached the bottom that I realized these are the rainbow steps I have seen so many times from the train. It was really fun to see them from this new perspective.

Right as the trail leaves the Au peninsula, there is the Weinbaumuseum am Zürichsee (german only website). While we haven’t been there, it does look interesting and perhaps when coronavirus is more under control we will come back to check it out. Another reason to come back? Apparently, the Au peninsula is the home of the Wädenswil–Vorder Au site, a prehistoric pile dwellings. I didn’t know about this before we went, so I wasn’t looking for it, but I will next time!

The Trail – Along the Lake

After leaving the Au peninsula the trail is again sandwiched between the lake shore and the train tracks.

After the trail passes the Wädenswil train station, it briefly leaves the shore and goes through town, where we passed the very pretty painted building in the first picture. As there was a quite a bit of construction going on here, we could not follow the map exactly, and we really needed to pay attention to the trail signs. For a short time the trail followed the main road (Seestrasse) before it again went under the tracks and back along the lake shore.

The trail continues along the water, sometimes over the water, past an old Mill house, and the Richterswil water treatment plant. According to the sign by the mill house, the first documented mention of the mill was in 1256 and the current mill house dates from 1578. The water treatment plant was not the prettiest sight, but there were interesting signs (german only) along the way explaining the entire water treatment process. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the water treatment plant did not smell bad at all.

The trail stays alongside the train tracks as it passes the Richterswil peninsula (called the Horn). We decided to take a small detour from the trail to walk through the Richterswil Horn. The Horn is a very popular event location and it is the location of one our favorite summer events – the outdoor cinema presented by Cine Au Lac (german only website). Usually held in July, although canceled this year due to coronavirus, the program typically includes a few english movies per season. The Horn is such a lovely place to watch a movie, and we look forward to attending next year.

After rejoining the trail, we walked down a pretty tree-lined path towards the Richterswil train station.

Getting Back

Stage 3 ends at the Richterswil train station.

What a pleasant walk that was! Our only regret is that we did not have our swim suits with us. There were so many places to stop for a swim and the weather was so perfect, we wished we had been able to do so.

As we made our return journey home, it was fun to see exactly where we had been out the train window.

On to stage 4! Based on the stats (length, altitude change), stage 4 is going to be the most challenging stage, but it should also have the best views. I’m looking forward to it and I hope the weather cooperates so we can get to it soon.

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