Trail 84, the Zürichsee-Rundweg is a ten stage trail that starts in Bürkliplatz and makes a complete loop around lake Zürich (including the Obersee). Last year, I completed my goal of hiking all ten stages.
|Find the details for each stage along with a photo story 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
So, which stages do I recommend? Honestly, I enjoyed every section, but here are my suggestions, depending on what you are looking for in a trail.
Best Overall Hikes
If I were to pick only one stage to do, it would be either Stage 2: Adliswil to Horgen or Stage 8: Stäfa to Meilen depending on which side of the lake is more convenient to you. Stage 2 had a lovely walk along the Sihl river and gorgeous panorma views from the ridge above Horgen. Stage 8 had some of the best panorama views of all ten stages, plus pretty walks through ravines.
Looking for something easy? I’d go with Stage 3: Horgen to Richterswil. Comparatively short at (13 km) and with very little elevation change (ascent 120 m, descent 120 m), this stage hugs the shore from Horgen to Richterswil providing gorgeous views over the lake. Bonus? Along the way, there are many opportunities to stop for something to eat or for a swim.
Challenging, but Worth It
Want a challenge? Stage 4: Richterswil–Pfäffikon SZ. This hike up to Etzel Kulm provides a challenge at 17 km and 780 m of elevation change. But, you are amply rewarded with great views from the top where you will find a lovely restaurant. Tip: Want the view without the challenge? The author of SwissFamilyFun provides a great shortcut idea on her site in the post Etzel Kulm Loop Hike.
Best Quick Escape to the Forest
Want to stay close to Zürich but feel like you’ve run away to the forest? Stage 10: Küsnacht ZH–Zürich, Bürkliplatz is for you. While you won’t get the panorama views other stages provide, this stage is a breath of fresh air right in the middle of the city.
Want to add a castle view to your hike? Select Stage 6: Schmerikon–Rapperswil SG or Stage 7: Rapperswil SG–Stäfa. Depending on which direction you hike the trail, you can either start or end your hike with a visit to Rapperswil castle.
Honestly though, if you live near Zürich, I recommend doing every stage. Even if some parts weren’t that exciting, there is just something so satisfying about looking out at the lake and knowing you’ve walked completely around it.