Increasingly more people in Switzerland have discovered hiking as a hobby, say hiking trail authorities and the Federal Roads Office.
While only 25% of the Swiss population hiked regularly in 2000, today the figure is 44%, according to a study flagged up by the newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag on Sunday – which cited the umbrella organisation for Swiss hiking groupsexternal link. The increase is particularly noticeable among families and couples aged 30-45. Hikers hit the road for about three hours on average, and typically do about 20 hikes a year.
The downside to so many people heading for the hills is the fact that many are insufficiently prepared. Some 20,000 hikers per year have an accident, according to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention. Sometimes they misread the signs, straying from the gentler hiking trails (marked in yellow) and attempting the more rugged mountain trails (flagged white-red-white).
Switzerland is covered with trails; this map from the Federal Office of Topography charts the vast network.
Meanwhile, this map is useful for ordering printed maps. Click on the yellow boxes to see what maps are available.