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A Walker's Paradise

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An amazing phenomenon in Switzerland is the number and location of hiking trails available for everyone to use. This Alpine country is a paradise for hikers, walkers, climbers, and bicyclers. Carefully marked trails (yellow for hiking, orange for bicycling) ranging from easy footpaths to more difficult climbs are woven all throughout the country, often following trails used long ago for trade and smuggling.

You can tell how serious Switzerland is about hiking when you consider that there are approximately 44, 740 miles of roads in Switzerland and slightly over 37,000 miles of uniformly marked hiking trails. The trails lead through magnificent forests with the ever-present towering pines, over rolling green hills, mountains, and through pasture and farm land. I often find myself trekking next to grazing cows, the bells on their necks tingling a harmony, being diligent to avoid the cow pies.

The Swiss are avid hikers and walkers. Any day in any location you’re bound to run across others out for a stroll. On weekends the pastures and hills can become quite busy with families out for a picnic and walk, couples unwinding together in the glorious mountain air, or the dedicated trekker or bicycler keeping fit.

This can only work because of the respect the public has for the lands they traverse and the people, i.e. the farmers, who host them. Stiles are provided to assist in mounting fences, or gates are handily marked for hikers use. The hikers, in return, never harass the livestock and always close the gates behind them.

There are no thieves, rapists, or murderers stalking the trails. No litter. None. Only the simple pleasure of being in one of the most beautiful countries on earth, out for a short ramble or an excursion, often with a remote auberge (an inn) waiting to refresh you on the other end.

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