A complete guide to the epic Etzli Hut overnight hike in Switzerland

by | Apr 14, 2024 | Europe, Switzerland | 0 comments

Ultimate guide to the Etzli Hut overnight hike in Switzerland
2-week Namibia itinerary

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Boasting over 65.000 km of marked trails, Switzerland is a true hiker’s paradise. And going on a hike is hands down the best way of exploring Switzerland’s solitary valleys, majestic peaks, gleaming mountain lakes and beautiful forests.

But if you really want to make the most of your trip, make sure you spend a night in the Swiss Alps.

There are over 200 mountain huts in Switzerland, allowing you to spend a night off the grid, surrounded by peaceful nature, combined with the luxury of a warm bed and a home-cooked meal.

Last year, I went on a fantastic 2-day hike and spent a night at Etzli Hut in Central Switzerland. This is a perfect hike if you’re looking for jaw-dropping alpine landscapes, a cosy mountain hut, and a two-day hike that will make you sweat but is not too strenuous or challenging. Sounds epic, right?

Here’s everything you need to know about the awesome Etzli Hut overnight hike in Switzerland!
2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

How to get there

Getting to the starting point of this 2-day hike is a trip in itself. Honestly! I think that there is only a handful of places in Switzerland that can’t be reached by public transport. But sometimes you really have to give public transport a proper go to make it to your destination.

Depending on where you’re coming from, getting to Golzern most likely means getting on a train, at least one more train, a bus, and finally another bus. But don’t worry, public transport in Switzerland is pretty reliable and you shouldn’t run into any problems on the journey.

Check out the public transport timetables and connections here.

Since you end up in a completely different location at the end of this overnight hike, driving to Golzern isn’t ideal. But if you’d rather drive than take public transport, you could take the same trail back down the mountain on day 2.

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What to expect from the Etzli hut overnight hike

Day 1 | Hiking from Golzern to Etzli Hut 

Once you’ve made it to Golzern, get off at the stop “Golzern Talstation” (cable car station). From there, this overnight hike starts with a steep first incline through the forest. After about 400 to 500 meters of altitude, the trail flattens out and continues into the Etzli Valley.

After about 1.5 to 2 hours, you’ll reach the alp at the back of the valley. If you want to make your hike a bit easier, you could also take a cab up to this point. (To book your spot on the cab, call Alptaxi Uri at +41 79 665 58 81).

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

From the alp, you’ll gradually make your way up along the side of the valley. The views are absolutely stunning. On rainy days, or if there was some rain just before you do the Etzli Hut overnight hike in Switzerland, a multitude of waterfalls will make the valley look even more mystical.

Eventually, the trail emerges onto a peaceful plain with grazing cows, little huts and a meandering stream. If you’re not in a rush, this is a beautiful spot to take a little break. From there you can already spot the huts’ Swiss flag waving in the wind.

One last effort and about 30 minutes later, you’ll find yourself in front of Etzli Hut.

Day 2 | Hiking from Etzli Hut to Sedrun

Don’t expect to be sleeping in while staying at a mountain hut in Switzerland. Days in the mountains start bright and early, with breakfast usually around 7 AM. But with all the commotion in the dorms from other people waking up and getting ready, you won’t have any problem waking up in time either.

Once you’ve enjoyed some delicious and freshly baked Butterzopf (a typical braided Swiss bread) and filled your bottle with Marschtee, it’s time to say goodbye to the kind staff at the hut and head out.

Day two of this 2-day hike starts with a 400-meter elevation gain, hiking, scrambling and occasionally climbing across rocks and rubble. After about 1h 20 minutes, you’ll reach Mittelplatten, the highest point of the Etzli Hut overnight hike at 2’488 meters above sea level.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

From there, it’s all downhill. The trail winds its way through the gorgeous Milà Valley to the village of Sedrun. The closest train station is Rueras, a tiny stop where the train only stops on request. Make sure to press the stop button at the station once you get there, to let the train driver know in advance you’ll be getting on.

As with Golzern, getting to and from Sedrun / Rueras is quite the journey. You’ll likely have to change trains two or three times before arriving back to your base in Switzerland. But it is once again a very scenic train ride, this time through the Rhine Gorge, and along Lake Walen and Lake Zürich.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

The Etzli Hut

The Etzli Hut is set in Central Switzerland’s rugged alpine scenery, surrounded by dramatic peaks. It provides space for 75 people in 7 different rooms. 5 of the rooms are 12- to 24-bed dorms. In addition, there’s one double room in the hut, and a second, detached double room in a separate building.

The hut has a cosy dining room and a large terrace with jaw-dropping views. Unless you’re with a big group, you’ll most likely share your table, a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the other hikers.

The best thing about the Etzli Hut is the woodfired hot tub on the terrace!

Imagine soaking in the hot water with a glass of bubbly or a beer in hand, looking out into the Alps. Sounds pretty dreamy, right?

Make sure to book your spot in the hot tub when making your reservation. Once you arrive at the hut, you’ll get to pick a 30-minute slot for the tub. But like the view from Etzli Hut, your bath in the hot tub has to be earned. It’s mandatory to have a quick dip in the icy fountain to wash off the day’s sweat first!

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

What to expect from mountain huts in Switzerland

Most huts are only serviced for part of the year, usually during the summer months from around mid-May to October. While the hut is manned, dinner and breakfast are usually included in the price.

When it comes to the meals served at the huts, don’t expect an a-la-carte restaurant with a wide range of dishes. There will be a set, hearty 3-course dinner menu and a simple continental breakfast. Most huts also sell coffee, cakes and snacks for in-between.

1 litre of tea, called Marschtee, for your next day’s hike, is usually also included.

Most mountain huts in Switzerland have dorms, sleeping varying amounts of people (it can be anything from 10 to 30). Many huts, like Etzli Hut also have double or family rooms.

Bedding is usually provided, but it doesn’t get washed after every use, so a thin linen or silk sleeping bag called Hüttenschlafsack is mandatory. You can usually rent one at the hut if you don’t own one. And finally, the sanitary facilities are very basic, without showers and warm water. But most huts have normal toilets.

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2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

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Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.