The Nordspitze Panoramweg trail (14 km, 520 ascent/descent) is a loop trail starting in Bargen that takes you past the most northern point in Switzerland. Much of the trail is along the Swiss/German border and the trail crosses over into Germany at several points (it is recommended that you carry ID with you). I picked this trail because the description said that in addition to seeing the most northern point, it would take us to a nature reserve (the Tannbuel) where we could see lady slipper orchids (May/June). Unfortunately, I thought the trail passed through the nature reserve, but alas, it does not. You need to take a detour from the trail (near Neuhaus) to get to Tannbuel, and, unfortunately, we missed the detour. Despite that, I really enjoyed this hike. It was a gorgeous day, the trail was quiet and very relaxing, and we had a lovely picnic sitting at the most northern point in Switzerland.Detail Summary
|Where:||Nordspitze Panoramaweg, route 593|
Canton Schaffhausen , Switzerland with cross-over into Germany
Note: This trail hikes on the border of Switzerland and Germany and crosses over into Germany at several points. It is recommended that you carry ID with you.
|Train/Bus:||Zürich HB -> Bargen, Dorf – 1 hr|
|Car:||Zürich -> Bargen|
Note: Bargen is small and I did not see a good place to park.
|What:||Nordspitze Panoramaweg, route 593|
Yellow trail markers with green number 593
|Skill:||Easy – About 3 hrs 45 min|
Length 14 km, Ascent 520 m, Descent 520 m
This is a loop trail that starts and ends at the Bargen, Dorf bus stop. We took public transportation, so when we hopped off our bus, we were right at the trail start. We thought about driving, but I am glad we didn’t. Bargen is a small town and I did not see a good place to park.
We decided to hike the trail counter-clockwise and began by crossing the bridge over the road. If I were to do this hike again, I think I would prefer to go in the opposite direction. Although it would put the steeper portion that runs through the forest first, it would then end with the open views into Germany in front of me which I think would be better.
After crossing the bridge and leaving Bargen behind, the trail begins a fairly easy climb up the hills through open fields.
In May, there are many pretty wild flowers blooming. We also saw a deer bounding through the fields (circled in the second picture below.) Not long after, this trail crossed the border with Germany. The trail marker switched from using the Canton Schaffhausen flag to a using the German flag.
Although we had to keep turning around to admire the wide open views, they were very pretty.
After about 6 km, we came to the small town of Neuhaus. I think this is where the detour is to the Tannbuel nature preserve (will need to hike this trail again to confirm). We missed the detour, and so, sadly, did not get to see the lady slipper orchids. After passing Neuhaus, we crossed over the highway and continued on our way. (You can see the border crossing station just around the road bend in the second picture.)
The trial passed through more open fields, and then took a sharp turn to the left passed the enormous tree in picture two. A sign in front of the tree said that it was over 500 years old. At just about the half-way point, we came to the landmark 593, the most northern point in Switzerland (The Nordspitz). According to the trail description, during former times, exiled or condemned people were deported to Germany by the Schaffhausen nobility from this point. Now, it is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch.
After our lunch at the Nordspitz, the trail entered the forest and remained there for most of the way back. At one point, there was sign for a short detour to the “Feldbergblick” vista point. It only took a minute and was worth it (picture two).
Nearing the end of the hike, we came to a bench where one could sit facing the pond in picture one, or facing the wild flower field in picture two. Tough decision.
Just as we were getting back into Bargen, we stopped at a self-service kiosk and picked up some homemade cherry jam. Then, with the bus stop in sight, we were at the end of our hike.
I will definitely do this hike again. I really would like to see the lady slipper orchids. But even without them, this was a pleasurable hike and a relaxing day out.