on the trail // hiking hoch-ybrig

A few weeks ago, one of my sister’s best friend’s sister, Hannah, visited for the weekend during a summer trip to Europe. She took the opportunity for a little detour from a stay in Berlin and we made sure she had an adventure to remember in Switzerland. However, after the hike we took, I’m not sure when she’ll be back.

It was our first trip up to Hoch-Ybrig, a location mostly selected because it was new to us, not too far from Zurich, and with good views but also just light hiking (especially as Hannah was hiking in Converse). Hoch-Ybrig is just a beautiful 45 minute drive from our place through the country and along the gorgeous Sihlsee. We chose to ride the chair-lift up and then walked along the ridge to Sternen.

Here we paused for some scenic chair-lift riding (for Reese, Martin, and Hannah) and I took a quick descent on the world’s longest zip-line (ca. 2.3 km). The ride was swift and super fun and not scary following the pink routes on the map below. I would highly recommend it, even though it is quite expensive (CHF 70/person). I think that the price should include at least a few trips down, though it does include a free day pass around Hoch-Ybrig for later this season. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to benefit from it.

Following the zip-line, we kept going on the trail, now a mountain path, towards another hut before planning to either walk down the Druesberghütte. We crossed over some beautiful alpine meadows with wildflowers and lots of happy cows. This was still manageable in Converse.

Once we reached the hut, the clouds were gathering and we had just enough time for drinks and snacks before bundling up to begin the descent back down to the gondola station. We started off on the road following the hiking trail shortcuts just as the rain started coming down.

After our first hiking shortcut, we were back on the road and turned off again into the forest on another hiking path. What we didn’t realize until too late was that we had entered the alpine mountaineering path, marked blue and white and with the following description:

“Alpine routes are challenging mountain trails. They sometimes lead across glaciers and scree, through rockfall areas and through rocks with short climbing sections. It can not be assumed that any structural provisions have been undertaken and these would in any case be limited to securing particularly exposed sections with a danger of falling. Users of Alpine routes must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically very fit and know how to use ropes and pick axe as well as being able to negotiate climbing sections with the aid of their hands. They must have knowledge of dangers in the mountains. In addition to the equipment for mountain trails, an altimeter, compass, rope and pick axe for crossing glaciers are essential.”

Now, by this point it was pouring rain and we had already descended into the forest along the cliff quite a bit so we weren’t going back. Luckily, our path did have some provisions in the forms of cable and chain rails, as well as one part with a ladder, so we kept making our way carefully down the rocky trail. Poor Hannah, she survived this in formerly white Converse, and was a trooper! We were slipping along in hiking boots. It was definitely an adventure.

Once at the bottom we were happy to dry off in warm car and head home for showers, pizza, and ice cream. What a day.

hiking details
We rode the gondola from Hoch-Ybrig Weglosen up to Seebli and then walked past the lake to take the chairlift up to Spinstock. Then we walked along the ridge to Sternen along the Höhenweg, about a 1 hour walk. This part of the trail, with the exception of some wide stairs, is all-terrain stroller-friendly.

From here the trail becomes a mountain path on to Druesberghütte. At this point you have several options: follow the longer road down, take the road and a hiking path shortcut (or even alpine mountaineering path, which would be fine if not wet), or take a giant scooter down the road. You know what we chose.

Our hike was ca. 6 miles long and just over 2.5 hours (not including all stops, snacks, and zip-lining).

Here’s the trail route and elevation profile tracked by my Garmin GPS watch:

travel information
Hoch-Ybrig is about an hour drive or 1.5 hour train ride from Zurich. A Hoch-Ybrig day pass is CHF 28 for adults (no Halbtax/half-fare accepted). Find more pricing and schedule information here.

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