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Take a hike The numbers that show Switzerland loves walking

An abundance of beautiful hikes

(Keystone)

The phrase “go take a hike” can help to dispatch an irritating person in some places.  In Switzerland its use more often signifies that a person is in good company. From teens to pensioners, more than four-in-10 say they are active hikers.

Just how seriously do the Swiss take hiking (not to mention skiing, that other most-popular outdoor pursuit)? With summer nearly upon us, here is a by-the-numbers look at hiking in Switzerland using the most up-to-date statisticsexternal link available.

2.7 million

Number of people between the ages of 15 and 74 who live in Switzerland and identify themselves as active hikers. It equals 44% of the population between those ages. About 8% of Swiss consider hiking their main sport.

7%

The increase over less than a decade in the percentage of people between the ages of 15 and 74 who live in Switzerland and identify themselves as active hikers. In 2008, it equaled 37% of the population between those ages.

A trail marking on the Schaneralp above Truebbach in the mountains in St Gallen in the northeast

(Keystone)

60 hours

Average number of hours a year that each Swiss spends hiking on trails. This equals hikes lasting an average of three hours spread over an average of 20 days a year. Only about 2%-4% of all hikes last more than a day.

300,000

Number of foreign tourists a year who express a similar bent.

Tourists hike near lake Oeschinensee above the tourist resort of Kandersteg in the Bernese Alps

(Keystone)

60%

Percentage of hikers who frequent Switzerland’s vast network of restaurants and inns along the hiking routes.

CHF860 ($882)

Average spent per person a year while taking hikes in Switzerland, excluding expenses for hiking gear.

Two hikers rest near Linthal in canton Glarus

(Keystone)

CHF2.5 billion ($2.56 billion)

Turnover generated by hiking in Switzerland each year among all Swiss and foreign tourists, excluding expenses for hiking gear. This includes CHF500 million from overnight stays.

66,200 kilometres (41,135 miles)

Extent of marked Swiss hiking trailsexternal link. Swiss tourism officials note this enough to hike around the globe 1 ½ times if all the trails were laid end-to-end. Half are country lanes and forest paths for walking, cycling and, in some cases, tractors or off-road vehicles. 

Hiking signs near the post office of Lumbrein in canton Graubünden

(Keystone)

9,200

Number of bed spaces available among the Swiss Alpine Clubexternal link’s 152 huts in the Alps.

20,000

Average number of peopleexternal link living in Switzerland who are injured each year while hiking in the mountains. This includes nearly 40 incidents a year that are fatal.

Sources

  • Swiss Federal Roads Office, “Wandern in der Schweiz 2014”
  • Swiss Federal Roads Office, “The economic essentials of Swiss hiking trails” (2011)
  • Swiss Alpine Club
  • Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
end of infobox

Hiking danger

Swiss Alps claim more victims among climbers and hikers. There’s been a sharp increase in hiking and climbing accidents in Switzerland over the ...

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