A Fall Hike to Mount Hörnli

Family Sunday Outing to Mount Hörnli

On this golden fall day, we follow the footsteps of our daughters’ great grandfather to Mount Hörnli.

The weather forecast promises a sunny Indian summer day and we all agree that we should go on a hike. The only question remaining is: Whither goes thou? Where should we go? Armed with hiking maps and reference books we sit at our kitchen table and study the Swiss hiking trails.

My husband finds a small compendium that used to belong to his grandfather. He consults it and says: «I know! We go to Mount Hörnli!» The kids giggle, and Mips says that she didn’t want to go hiking in a plate – even if the idea of a mountain full of apple sauce is quite appealing. We reassure her that we’re not talking about the Swiss dish «Ghackets mit Hörnli» (minced beef with pasta), but the 1’133m-high Mount Hörnli, which is located in the Canton Zurich. We tell her that daddy used to go hiking there with his family when he was 4 years old. Hence, the ideal mountain for a family hike. We love the idea!

Following the footsteps of their great grandfather, equipped with his compendium of local mushrooms and field flowers as well as enough food and good clothing, we are ready to explore Mount Hörnli on this early Sunday morning. From Steg train station, we follow the yellow way marker post that informs us that the hike to the top will take us approximately one hour and 25 minutes. Obviously, we know that with our five-year-old daughter it will take twice as long, but we are looking forward to the adventure. Sheep greet us with their gentle bleating and from far we spot alpacas on their pastures. The ascent to Mount Hörnli has started.

We regularly encounter animals on our way
Fabulous panoramic view

Although the trail is quite steep at the beginning, our girls are motivated and happy to walk the same route as their daddy did when he was a little boy. Even though the path is car-free (but for some exceptions), we decide to take the hiking trail that meanders its way up through forests and meadows. Since there is more to discover and we don’t have to worry about kick scooters racing downhill (you can rent the kick scooters at the mountain inn).

In fact, it doesn’t take long until we find our first mushroom. We immediately compare our find with the pictures in the compendium. A shaggymane! We leave our research object in its natural habitat and continue our hike over hedge and ditch. We promise Mips that we will take a break as soon as she spots the first red bench. It doesn’t take long, and we adults are also happy to have a sip of water and a handful of nuts. We feel reinvigorated and up we go.

We are now walking along the small main road and reach the farm house on the «Tanzplatz», which is beautifully decorated with flowers. We enjoy the amazing view over the Zurich Oberland, check out the goods in the little shop and marvel at the animals – the latter come right on cue as the kids are slowly but surely tired and eager to drink their well-deserved apple juice at the restaurant. We especially fall for the gentle mountain pigs with their sweet snouts.



The yellow way marker post informs us that we have another 30 minutes left to walk. It gets steeper, but the higher we get, the better the view. Fortunately, we thought about bringing a rope. We «pull up» the girls until we see the antenna which a mere minutes ago was really, really small. We made it! We are on top of Mount Hörnli! There is even a table on the sunny terrace of the mountain inn that seems to have been waiting for us. We agree that we are in need of some comfort food, and the choice seems quite obvious: Ghackets mit Hörnli!

After lunch, the kids have fun on the playground and my husband and I enjoy the divine mountain view. Fortunately, we brought our windbreakers. A persistent wind frantically tries to blow our caps off our heads. Five times we have to get up and run after our caps – Maus makes a game out of it.

Happy about our decision to spend Sunday on Mount Hörnli, we swiftly march down into the valley. The animals are already in their sheds and we even remember the name of the purple-colored flower that seemed to wave at us from its meadow – autumn crocus. According to great grandfather’s compendium, they blossom between August and November. So, we have a real chance to see them once again this year.


Ascent from Steg: 2 hours 15 minutes with kids who are used to hike, aged 5 and 9 years. Descent approx. 75 minutes.


  • Snacks (apples, nuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, crackers, etc.)
  • Grillables and things to build a fire (newspaper, matches, wood) – there are numerous fireplaces along the trail
  • Walking shoes
  • Windbreaker
  • Sunblock
  • Plaster
  • A short rope to pull the kids when it gets really steep


Adventure Trails

Hörnli Scooter Track

Tobogganing on the Hörnli


October 2019

An article by:
Claudia Jucker is a blogger at hoiberlin.com where she writes about family issues, trends and, more and more often about travels and the most beautiful corners in Switzerland. She used to live in Berlin, today she and her family call Zurich their home.
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