14 top hikes for autumn

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Intro

These 14 autumn hikes let you experience autumn with all your senses – basking in the last warm rays of sunshine, enjoying the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot and marvelling at the gilded forests. 

Wildly romantic Gasterntal valley Bern

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Pleasant temperatures and gilded forests are precisely the right combination for an autumn hike through the approximately 10km-long Gasterntal valley. This three-hour hike begins in Kandersteg at the valley station Sunnbüel. The path to Selden winds its way between steep rock faces as you follow the roaring Kander River, passing colourful alpine meadows and idyllic spots along the way.  

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Visiting Fribourg’s local mountain Fribourg Region

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This hike starts at Moléson-sur-Gruyères and leads through short sections of forest, over lush meadows with grazing Fribourgeoise cows and past traditional shingle roof chalets. Stunning views of the little town of Gruyères are revealed along the way. A cable car will then take you up to the Moléson massif at 2,002m. Once you’ve reached the top, there is a unique panoramic view in all directions, making it hard to tear yourself away to tackle the return journey.

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Themed hike in Sonvico: Ticino

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Fancy learning something as you hike? The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail north of Lugano is fun for all ages. On this theme trail, families can discover a rich cultural heritage and nature in all its glory. In Rosone, tuck into local specialities such as delicious goat’s cheese in the Fattoria or at the Grotto del Faggio, which boasts lakeside views.

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Impressive Derborence Valais

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As Valais native and author Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz noticed and noted in his book “Derborence”, the Derborence Valley in Valais is an unusual natural paradise. A 12km circular hike which takes around five hours to complete lets you immerse yourself in unspoiled countryside in a truly remote setting. The trail leads through landscape redefined by an immense landslide from the Diablerets massif over 300 years ago. Today, botanists, geologists, naturalists and hikers are still drawn in by the untamed natural beauty of Derborence.

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A delightful hike on the Via Engiadina Engadin

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The first stage of the Via Engiadina covers Maloja to Silvaplana, through the small hamlets of Pila and Blaunca to the Heidi village of Grevasalvas, which is set in a dreamy location above Plaun da Lej. In Sils-Baselgia, the hike descends almost to the valley floor, before rising again to Silvaplana, where this stage ends.

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Hiking the dreamy Val Calanca Graubünden

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The start of this two-hour hike is Braggio, a car-free mountain village which can only be reached on foot via the old mule trail to Arvigo or by cable car. From here the path ascends steeply into the forest, passing several alpine grazing pastures. Once in Montdent, enjoy the impressive Auriglia gorge, then continue on to the grazing pasture of Cauco, where the descent to Selma begins. From Selma, ride the postal bus or walk along the Calancasca river back down to Arvigo.

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Panorama hike through Val Bregaglia Graubünden

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The stunning landscape of Val Bregaglia begins just after the Maloja Pass and can be explored on a panorama hike lasting almost six hours. The Romans passed this way 2,000 years ago and the trail winds through golden forests, past the ruins of the San Gaudenzio church and climbs the sunny southern slopes of the valley. Along the way, Alp Durbegia is the perfect place for a stop, boasting views of the tremendous peaks in the surrounding mountain world. Huge granite slabs pave the way, leading down to the picturesque village of Soglio in the valley in artfully laid steps.

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Leisurely hike in Entlebuch Lucerne and Lake Lucerne

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One great route option begins in Marbachegg. The views from here alone are worthwhile: an unexpected glimpse of the Schibegütsch and Hohgant mountains and between them the Bernese High Alps. A natural road first leads up to Alp Imbrig and then, after enjoying a delicious piece of cheese there, along the impressive Schrattenfluh, boasting captivating views of the steep slopes. The descent meanders through lush alpine meadows until reaching the country inn Kemmeriboden-Bad, where hikers can enjoy sweet “merängge” meringues. 

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The northernmost circular trail in Switzerland Eastern Switzerland

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Located in the eastern part of the canton of Schaffhausen, the Reiat region is a scenic gem. Best discovered on foot, a diverse five-hour loop trail will take you to autumnal forests, over fields and meadows and through little villages with antique timber-framed houses. The hike starts in Thayngen, from where it leads out through the Bibertal valley and across the Hegau volcanic landscape. From there, the hike traces former smugglers’ trails to Altdorf and the northernmost vineyard of Switzerland, home to Schaffhausen’s fruity Pinot Noir, before returning to Thayngen.

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Wandering along the Doubs Jura & Three-Lakes

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Winding its way through the unspoiled green meadows and forests of the Jura, the Doubs river marks the border between Switzerland and France. Starting in Goumois, the hike of around three and a half hours follows this natural border all the way to Soubey. Hikers will often see anglers looking to catch some of the unique species of fish found in the river, such as the Doubs trout with its black stripes and the elusive apron, also known as the “King of the Doubs”. 

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Hike to the Sidelhorn Bern

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From the peak of the 2,764m Sidelhorn, a unique panorama stretches out before you that encompasses the snow-covered peaks of the Bernese and Valais Alps, crystal-clear mountain lakes, rushing wild streams and the impressive ice formations of the Rhone and Oberaar glaciers. But this is a view that you first have to earn, with an easy mountain hike. The tour starts and ends on the Grimsel Pass, with around seven kilometres of hiking paradise in between. Part of the trail follows the continental watershed – from here the water flows out into either the Mediterranean or the Atlantic.

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A hike through a unique natural heritage site Fribourg Region

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The four-hour panoramic tour is the best way to discover the mountain lake of Schwarzsee and Brecca Valley. The hike starts at the Riggisalp valley station by the lake, which reflects the peaks of the surrounding mountains. The path leads on to the Brecca Valley, which was created by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. Hiking between the steep limestone cliffs, you will see for yourself why this pristine landscape is listed in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance.

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Panoramic hike through the golden autumn Ticino

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Above Locarno, a glorious panorama trail begins that takes hikers to Contra in around three hours. The route passes through picturesque villages, chestnut groves bursting with mature sweet chestnuts, past the inviting Ristorante Grotto Verzaschese and the famous donkey-back bridge, a romantic natural stone structure. The warming rays of the autumn sun and magical views of Lake Maggiore and its two Brissago Islands are a constant companion. Along the way, hikers also enjoy views of Ascona and the Maggia delta in the distance.

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Walking through the Magic Valley Valais

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The Legend Trail from the Fafleralp to the Lauchernalp takes about three hours and immerses hikers in the world of myths and fairy tales. Various legends are featured on ten tree trunks along the way. There are also QR codes to scan to read the tales on a smartphone. Anyone who manages to answer all of the tricky questions in the Legends Quiz correctly will be rewarded with a small surprise. It is well worth taking a little break at the idyllic Schwarzsee lake to cook some sausages and dip weary feet in the refreshing, clear water.

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