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Pfadiweg • Zürich Forest Walk

Easy forest path on the edge of Zurich city, following a stream for about an hour.

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This unassuming path is a little treasure, so much nature so close to downtown Zürich. One minute you are on the busy Forchstrasse and the next you are immersed in a beautiful lush forest, seemingly far from the city. This easy path follows a stream from Zollikon down into the east side Zürich city, easily accessed by tram on both ends of the trail.

It’s a great place for an impromptu family stroll and picnic and particularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves are changing colors. I hope you like it!

Location:   Zürich City
Trail start: Trichtenhauser Str. 8125 Zollikon
Tram stop: Spital Zollikerberg
Trail end: Waserstrasse 20, 8032 Zürich
Tram stop: Zürich, Burgwies
   
Trail: 3.4 km one way or 7 km loop
Elevation: highest point 600m, total descent 150m
Condition: dirt walking path, not great for strollers but possible
Skill: easy
Open: year round, weather permitting
Cost: free, optional return by tram
More info: www.schweizmobil.ch  –  zürich webcams

Location

This trail is located on the southeast side of Zurich city, starting at Zollikon and ending at Zürich Burgwies. The path is easily accessed by tram from Zürich, about 15 mins from Stadelhofen or 20 mins from Zürich HB.

Trail Overview

The Pfadiweg path starts in Zollikon and goes downhill to the Zürich Burgwies tram stop. It’s an easy dirt path, following a small stream through a forest.

The path is rather lumpy and has a few stairs, so not suited for strollers. We saw a few bikes on the path, so watch out with little kids and dogs so they don’t get run over.

There are no services along the way, but several places to picnic and build a fire. There were also a couple water fountains along the way. There are grocery stores next to the tram stops at each end, making it easy to get some supplies for the walk.

Longer version ending at Lake Zurich

Once you reach the end of the Pfadiweg at Burgwies, you can continue walking along the same stream all the way to Zürich lake. This extension goes for about 1km through the forest, then another 1 km on neighborhood streets until you reach Zürich lake. From here you can walk along the lake shore about 1.5 km to Bellevue and Stadelhofen. See Hornbach Ravine post for details about this section.

Loop version

Now that the kids are older, we typically do a loop, hiking up the Pfadiweg, then back down the Elefantenbach. This version is about 7 km and takes about 2 hours. 

See trail map on Komoot • SchweizMobil

Getting There

This is a one way trail, with tram stops at either end, Zürich Burgwies and Spital Zollikerberg. So you can use the tram to connect the ends of the trail, or you can simply walk there and back.

If you are already in Zürich city, I recommend riding the S18 tram from Zürich Stadelhofen to Spital Zollikerberg, then walking downhill to Zürich Burgwies, where tram 11 runs about every 7 minutes back to Stadelhofen.

If you are coming by car, there is street parking at both ends of the trail, some metered, some blue zone. It’s probably best to park in Zollikon, where I think there are white zone parking spots that are not metered or limited by time. After walking down to Burgwies, you can take tram 11 one stop to Balgrist, then catch the S18 back up to Spital Zollikerberg.

This map shows how to get from the Spital Zollikerberg tram stop to the trail head, about 700m on a sidewalk along a road.

This map shows how to get from the Pfadiweg to the Burgwies tram stop.

Trail Impressions

Now for a few pics along the path. We went in autumn, so it was particularly beautiful with the fall colors. But summer is great too when everything turns green again and the stream is more full with water.

Here you can see a couple examples of the path, just dirt, a few rocks and tree roots here and there. But basically easy walking.

There are a few little waterfalls and bridges along the way that make for nice pictures.

See more Zürich City Walks

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This unassuming path is a little treasure, so much nature so close to downtown Zürich. It's an easy forest path following a stream for about 3.8 km, a great choice for an impromptu family stroll. Trail map and details on our website.

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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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