Have you ever hiked in Switzerland? If not, try it out like 1/3 of the Swiss population. It is one of the most popular sports in the country along with cycling.
If the Swiss are not hiking, 3/4 walk, jog or do Nordic walking.
According to a “Sport Schweiz 2008” study by the Swiss Hiking Trails, about 2 Million Swiss hike on a regular basis for at least a duration of 3.5 hours. Moreover, they do about 20 hikes yearly.
The study shows that most hikes are done in the German speaking part of Switzerland with 39%, followed by the South Canton of Ticino with 22%.
But how could one not be motivated to hike in Switzerland with so many beautiful mountains, lakes and country paths to choose from? And this is not the only motivation, first you need the trails
and a good signing system, which Switzerland has.
In Switzerland this year, you will see many signs and books about hiking, Randonnée (French), Gita (Italian) or Wanderung (German). You may even have noticed everywhere in the big cities on the windows of the bank UBS or in the supermarket magazine COOP, the phrase “Jahr des Wandern 2010”.
What is it all about? Why is hiking on everyone’s mind this year?
Each time the word hiking is pronounced, I listen. Is there a hike someone recommends I have not done and is an absolute to do?
What’s happening in Switzerland is simple. To commemorate the 75 jubilee of the Swiss trails (2009), many organizations and businesses have joined forces to put together things related to hiking.
Switzerland can be proud with its 39630 miles 763,779 km of hiking trails in a country with just 44303 miles/71,300 km of roads.
It all started when a Swiss teacher Jakob Ess went hiking in the Klausenpass (Cantons of Uri & Glarus) with his students in the 1900’s. Then more and more cantons decided to prepare trails. The first signalization with signs arrived in 1934 with the beginning of Swiss Hiking.
90% of the Swiss are satisfied with the trails and signalization.
Depending if where you are hiking to, you get different colors, white/blue/white for alpine trails and white/red/white for mountain trails for instance. Yellow signs tell you the names of the places you can hike to with the time frame without breaks.
The National roads are marked with 1 digit number from 1 to 6 like the Alpenpanorama or the Via Alpina. The regional roads have two digit numbers. The photo below shows the Zurichsee Weg, Road 84.
Partners such as Schweiz Tourismus, Schweiz Mobil, UBS and alpine clubs have put together in a magazine the best 32 hikes in the entire Switzerland. Plus the 12 nicest ones have new signs.
Anyone can get the magazine at UBS. It offers a quick description of the hikes with a small map, number of km, time needed and degree of difficulty. Also it tells you how to get there and gives an idea for hotels and restaurants. For more information it refers you to MySwitzerland.com with a search number for each hike.
How could it be more simple! Plus the internet has links to Google Earth maps and you can register to have the maps sent to your I-phone.
Some hikes to Lavaux wine trails (Geneva), to the Aletsch glacier (Wallis), to the lakes trail (Wallis) or to the Eiger trails (Berner Oberland) look really amazing.
I can’t wait to try them out this Fall. Have fun hiking!