October in Switzerland – 10 Best Destinations for Fall Hiking

Where to go in October in Switzerland for the best fall colors and hiking, with open cable cars and services.

October can be a wonderful time to visit Switzerland, with smaller crowds and beautiful fall colors. In many areas, the hills turn a bright orange, the golden larch trees turn bright yellow, and the blueberry bushes turn red. Hiking during this time can be absolutely spectacular if you time it right and get lucky on the weather. Below are the best destinations for an October holiday in Switzerland.

What to expect in October in Switzerland

Mountain resorts typically take a break between summer and winter season, usually from late October to mid December, some as early as late September. So it’s important to check opening times of cable cars, restaurants and amusements before planning your itinerary. 

Weather is October is unpredictable. Sometimes we have beautiful sunny skies for several days. Other times, we have weeks of rainy, grey days. We suggest checking the weather forecast on Meteo Swiss and Search.ch. Always have a plan B for poor weather. 

Switzerland often has snowstorms in early October, but the snow usually melts after a couple days and you can continue hiking for a few more weeks. But even with clear weather, you should always check the trail status, webcams, weather to verify that the trail is not covered in snow, under construction, or otherwise not a good idea.

1. Engadin St Moritz in October

Lake Cavloc, third week of October

My top choice for fall in Switzerland would be the Engadin region near St Moritz. If you get lucky on the weather and time it just right, this place will knock your socks off! Last year, we spent a long weekend there in mid October and fell in love the golden larches. I loved it so much, I convinced a friend to go back a couple days later and hike more.

Top autumn hike suggestions for Engadin:

Lake Staz, third week of October

Engadin mountain railway closing dates:

  • Corvatsch & Diavolezza: 21 Oct 2022
  • Furtschellas, Corviglia – Piz Nair, Muota Muragls: 23 Oct 2022

If you stay at a participating hotel, you get the Mountain Railways Included pass, which includes all mountain railways in the region. At some hotels, you’ll a upgraded pass that also include public transportation.

2. Zermatt in October

Riffelsee, first week of October

Zermatt is absolutely gorgeous in fall, with pretty orange grass and many hillsides filled with golden larch trees.  At the lower elevations, you’ll see a beautiful mix of colors, with red blueberry bushes adding in red.  Late September and early October can be a good time to visit Zermatt, if the weather cooperates. 

Some Zermatt mountain railways, restaurants, and attractions start to close as early as the first week of October. Since the Gornergrat cogwheel train is open year round, this area is your best option for October in Zermatt. We suggest these trails for autumn hiking in Zermatt:

Riffelalp-Sunegga three lake trail, first week of October

Zermatt mountain railways closing dates:

  • open year round – Gornergrat & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
  • 9 Oct 2022 – Füri-Schwarzsee and Blauherd-Rothorn
  • 16 Oct 2022 – Zermatt-Sunnegga

Note that Zermatt ski season starts 2 Dec 2022

3. Lucerne in October

Mt Pilatus, early November

Lucerne is probably your safest option during October. If you want fantastic views without hiking, all the big destination peaks are open all of October, including Mt Rigi, Mt Pilatus, Titlis, and Stanserhorn. The Lake Lucerne region has also many lower elevation hikes that are often open through mid November. It’s also a good area for families, with lots of activities for children including theme trails, mountain scooters, mountain coasters, and climbing parks.

Stockhütte scooters, second week of October

Some of our favorite autumn hikes near Lucerne:

See also my 20 Most beautiful hikes near Lucerne

Wild hay trail, second week of October

4. Jungfrau Region in October

Mürren, fourth week of September

While the mountain trains to the popular tourist destination Jungfraujoch runs year round, the rest of the region is winding down in October. The fall colors can be very beautiful here, especially contrasted against the snowy peaks. So early October can still be a nice time to visit if you pick the right activities. 

Top autumn hiking suggestions for Jungfrau Region:

Bachalpsee, second week of October

Here are the Jungfrau Region closing dates:

  • 9 Oct 2022 – Lauterbrunnen-Grütschalp
  • 16 Oct 2022 – Mürren-Allmendhübel funicular
  • 23 Oct 2022 – Grindelwald First, Pfingstegg, Grindelwald-Männlichen, Schynige Platte 
  • 13 Nov 2022 – Mürren-Schlithorn

5. Interlaken & Bernese Oberland in October

Oeschinensee in early November

The Bernese Oberland region, with Interlaken at the center, has many mountains to explore during October. The popular Oeschinensee is a bit quieter in fall and is one of the few places with golden larch trees on this side of the alps. Peaks like Niesen and Niederhorn keep their mountain transport and panorama restaurants open well into November. As long as it doesn’t snow, you can also hike on these mountains, with amazing views across lakes and valleys. 

Hasliberg, second week of October

Top autumn hiking suggestions near Interlaken:

See more great hikes near Interlaken

6. Valais in October

Aletsch forest glacier trail to suspension bridge

The Valais/Wallis valley in southern Switzerland is known as the sunniest part of this country. So even if temperatures are cold, you should get gorgeous views. The top choice for fall in this area is the golden larch forests near Aletsch Arena and the Löschental valley. Some mountain areas in the Valais close quite early in the season, some even in mid September. So choose your home base carefully. 

Autumn hikes in the Valais:

7. Zürich & Eastern Switzerland in October

Seealpsee near Appenzell, second week of October

There are so many great day trips from Zürich for fall colors! You won’t find golden larch trees in eastern Switzerland, but you will find maple trees that turn bright red. It can be a little tricky to catch the colors at their brightest, so check the webcams before heading out. Usually the third week of October is peak season. 

Atzmännig, third week of October

Autumn hikes near Zürich:

See more autumn hikes near Zürich

8. Northwest – Aargau & Jura in October

Wasserfallen hike in mid October

The lower elevations of the “pre-Alps” regions in northern Switzerland make it ideal for autumn hiking. You can access many trails without cable cars, so you don’t have to worry about closing times. One of my favorite fall hikes is at Wasserfallen, shown above. The trail hikes along the forested ridge, with spectacular colors if you catch it right.Autumn hikes in northwest Switzerland:

9. Lugano & Locarno in October

Monte Tamaro second week of October

Autumn can be a bit milder in the Ticino region of southern Switzerland than in other regions. The lower elevation mountain near the lakes tend to stay open all of October and even into November. Temperatures can still be icy cold, especially in the shadows, so bundle up. 

Monte Generoso, second week of October

Autumn hikes near Locarno and Lugano (all open to end of Oct, weather dependant):

10. Montreux in October

Lorenz Poffet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During the fall harvest season, the terraced vineyards above Lake Geneva turn a golden yellow, a beautiful contrast to the blue water below. This can be a wonderful time to wander through the vineyards and do some wine tasting. You can visit the highest peak in the area, Rochers de Naye, year round. If it hasn’t snowed yet, there are lots of hikes with lake views that don’t rely on mountain railways.

Autumn activities near Montreux

Read also

Best hikes in Switzerland for beautiful fall foliage, with trail options for all ages and abilities, in a variety of Swiss regions.
Best hikes in Switzerland for beautiful fall foliage, with trail options for all ages and abilities, in a variety of Swiss regions.

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Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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