The Lägern Ridge Trail (14 km, approximately 583 m ascent and descent ) goes from Dielsdorf to Baden and along the way traverses an exposed narrow rocky ridge. After a string of warm dry days, we decided to give this hike a try. I found hiking the ridge fascinating and a bit exhilarating, if felt like how I imagine walking along a dragon’s back would be. My husband does not like heights and so he did not enjoy this hike as much as I did. If you are surefooted and don’t have an issue with heights, this is a great trail, if not, it just isn’t the right trail for you. I’ve noted some options below for how to shorten this hike, and how to skip the steepest portion of the ridge if you aren’t up for it or if the conditions are too slippery (best to not attempt this hike if it is raining, muddy, or icy).Detail Summary
|Where:||Hiking the Lägern Ridge Trail – Dielsdorf to Baden|
Cantons Aarau and Zürich, Switzerland
|Train:||Zürich HB -> Dielsdorf – 25 mins|
Baden – > Zurich HB – 20 min
|What:||Hiking the Lägern Ridge Trail|
This trail follows Stage 1 of the Jura Crest Trail (Jura -Höhenweg) with the exception of the section between Lägerensattel and Schloss Schartenfels where it follows a red and white mountain trail along the exposed top of Lägern ridge.
– Yellow trail markers with green number 5 (Jura -Höhenweg) from Dielsdorf to Lägernsattel.
– Red and white trail markers from Lägernsattel to Schloss Schartenfels.
– Yellow trail markers with green number 5 (Jura -Höhenweg) from Schloss Schartenfels to Baden.
Note: For the red and white section between Lägerensattel to Schloss Schartenfels, there is a posted warning reading: “Partly exposed path. Only for experienced hikers who do not suffer from height vertigo.” Pay attention to this warning. If you are not surefooted or if you have a fear of heights, I recommend that you not do this trail.
If you don’t want to do the ridge portion of the hike, simply follow the yellow trail markers with green number 5 (Jura -Höhenweg) for the entire way.
|Skill:||Difficult – About 4 hr 45 min |
Length 14 km, Ascent 583 m, Descent 583 m
Note: The elevation change is approximate. I keep seeing different numbers on different sites.
Note: For a shorter hike, you can take the bus from Dielsdorf to Regensberg and join the trail there.
No costs other than public transport.
This is a point-to-point hike, so best done with public transportation. The trail goes from Dielsdorf to Baden but can be hiked in either direction. I liked ending in Baden because it is a really cute town with many restaurants and cafes where you can sit and have a drink or a bite to eat after the hike.
To start our hike, we took the train to Dielsdorf where we quickly found the signs for our trail (yellow trail markers with green number 5) and were on our way.
The Trail – Dielsdorf to Regensberg
The trail begins with an easy amble through Dielsdorf and then heads uphill past some pretty vineyards.
When we reached Regensberg, we passed by Regensberg Castle and a remarkably deep well (57 m). It costs a franc, but you can turn a light on and look down into the well if you want to. There were also some very lovely views from this area.
This part of the hike was a nice warm-up, but it was not particularly exciting. If you want a shorter hike, you can catch a bus from the Deilsdorf train station up to Regensberg and join the trail there.
The Trail – Regensberg to Lägernsattel
If you decided to skip the first part of the hike, you will join the hike at the Regensberg Dorf bus stop (just around the corner from the spot where I was standing when I took the first picture below). From Regensberg, we continued to follow trail number 5 up the ridge and away from town. This part of the trail was mostly on a dirt road through some fields and forest.
When we saw the large ball structure in picture 3 above, I thought it was a water tower, but when we got closer, we learned that it is a radar tower. Along the path were some informational signs about radar and how it is used. Just past the radar tower, is the Lägern Hochwacht Restaurant (german) and a viewing platform. There was also a picnic table and as it was noon, we stopped here to have our picnic lunch.
Leaving the picnic area, we continued on trail 5. We passed the Burgruine Lägern (german), 13th century castle ruins that you can see the corner of in picture one, and we started to get a taste of ridge hiking. When we reached the Burghorn, the highest point on the trail, it was marked by a Swiss flag. The area was crowded so I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the rocks people were hanging out on, but we did pause to enjoy the views.
There were several trails converging at the Burghorn and I thought this was where we branched off from trail 5 but after consulting the map, we saw that we still had a ways to go before we reached Lägernsattel where the trail branches. When we did reach Lägernsattel, there wasn’t anything there other than a branch in the trail and the trail sign.
This is the point where you need to make a decision. If you want to hike on the ridge, you need to follow the white and red trail sign towards Schartenfels and Baden that says “Gratweg: Vorsicht!”( Ridgeway: Caution!). There is also a larger warning sign in the trail that reads “Partly exposed path. Only for experienced hikers who do not suffer from height vertigo.” If you want to bypass the ridge, stay on trail 5. We were hiking the ridge, so we took the trail with the warning sign.
The Trail – Lägernsattel to Schloss Schartenfels
After the big warning in the trail, the trail goes through the forest for a ways and I started to wonder what the big deal was, then the trail turned right onto the ridge. If it weren’t for the multiple red and white trail markers on the rocks, I might have missed our turn.
A few minutes after the turn, it becomes very apparent what the warnings were for. While there are no sheer drop-offs, the slant is extremely steep and the trail is very uneven. And while we did see someone jogging here, we took our time and carefully made our way along the trail.
One site I had read describes this trail as popular for Zürich school children, so I suppose all Zürich school children must be experienced hikers. I could not imagine doing this hike as a school trip. My kids, who have gone to public school here is Switzerland, said from my pictures it looked like something they might have done with school. Of course, when I look at the pictures, I wonder where the trail is. In case you are wondering, the rocky outcropping is the trail and as you hike you need to pick your way across those rocks. In the first picture, you can see that a handrail was provided when it got really tricky.
Although we were definitely keeping an eye on where our feet were, we also stopped often just to admire the views. As we started to descend, the trail got a little easier, and finally we saw Schloss Schartenfels just ahead.
When we reached Schloss Schartenfels, the path met up again with trail 5. If you were hiking in a group and some of you decided to bypass the ridge path, the restaurant patio (german) here would be the prefect meeting point.
The Trail – Schloss Schartenfels to Baden
The descent from Schloss Shartenfels is steep, but it is almost entirely stairs making it a little easier to manage. There are some very pretty views of Baden on the way down.
Baden is an adorable town with a fair number of cafes and restaurants, and it is a nice place to linger a bit. Another trail that passes through Baden that I recommend, is the Limmat Culture Trail, a loop trail along the Limmat river that passes 27 contemporary art installations by Swiss artists. Some of the installations are quite nice, and if you are looking for an easy hike on a day with less than perfect weather, it is an excellent choice. After wandering a bit though Baden it was time to go home.
To get home, we simply walked through town to the train station and caught the next train back to Zürich.
I really enjoyed this hike, but I am not particularly bothered by heights. The landscape was really different and the rock formations were so interesting to see. My husband was happy to have done this hike, but once was enough for him. If we hike here again, he would prefer we stick to trail 5 and bypass the ridge.