Hiking Zürich's Üetliberg

2 min to read

Hiking Zürich's Üetliberg

Switzerland and Nature

I hadn't really made any plans when I was in Zürich for a few days, but the hotel was in such a nice location that I couldn't not go for a quick walk. The best things often happen unplanned, and that was definitely the case here.

I kept going for as long as the scenery was pretty and didn't realize I was hiking up Zürich's highest mountain, the Üetliberg, at 871 m (or 2851 ft) above sea level: 463 m (1519 ft) above Zürich. It ended up being a pretty good hike with spectacular views abound. There were a few steep climbs of course - I did have to overcome a good 400 m after all - but it wasn't too hard for the most part. Until I got to a sign that instructed me that the path was closed due to hillslides.

Üetliberg hillslide warning sign

When I looked at the map - I had fired up Google Maps somewhere along the way to figure out where I was, and had decided where I wanted to go: the top - I soon realized going back and taking the other route would be a significant detour. Plus, I didn't even know if that other path would be open. So I decided to ignore the warning and keep going: I couldn't see anything blocking the road anyway. And I didn't see anything for quite awhile. Until I got pretty close to the top, and this awaited me:

Üetliberg hillslide

I believe it must've been almost half an hour after seeing that original warning and there had been some heavy climbs. And from that first point, the detour would already have been significant. I really didn't want to turn around: I wanted to reach the top, and I didn't want to take that detour! I soldiered on, slightly terrified that the rest of that path would slip away from under my feet and come down, but it didn't!

I reached the top and decided to go all the way and climbed the look-out tower, another 30 m (98 ft) up on the observation tower. I'm not scared of heights, but the wind was blowing hard and it did make me slightly uncomfortable. But the view sure made up for that. I snapped a few pictures before it got too cold, and decided to head back.

Zürichsee as seen from the top of the Üetliberg

I didn't really feel like hiking back down that hillslide and wanted to go to downtown Zürich anyway, so I was glad to find the train terminus near the Üetliberg top. Choo choo!

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