Hiking maps - do I need them for most hikes?

Hiking maps - do I need them for most hikes?

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Asha1
Asha1
15 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2017 - 6:30 PM

Hi

During our trip to Switzerland in late July, we plan to do a couple of easy hikes - mainly Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg , Kleine Scheidegg to Wengernalp and Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg.

Is it necessary to buy a hiking map for these hikes? or are there good enough signs to complete these hikes without the maps?

If the maps are necessary, which one would be best for these 3 hikes and where would we buy it?

Thanks

Lucas
Lucas
7275 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 14, 2017 - 7:41 PM in reply to Asha1

Hi Asha1,

If you plan on sticking to more popular hikes (like what you mentioned) you should be fine without a map - they are very well signed.

You can get more details about your hikes, and others, on our hiking page here.

We have further information on hiking maps here though. You can also use the wanderland website for online maps, and of course the local tourist information office will have paper ones for you if needed.

Cheers,
Lucas

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4757 posts
expert
Jul 15, 2017 - 1:05 AM in reply to Asha1

Hi Asha1-

I love to carry a paper topo map in my pocket when I'm hiking, whether I need it or not. That lets me visualize some of the surroundings, see shortcuts, etc.

The best topo maps are prepared by the Federal Office of Land Management (Landesamt) and come in a variety of scales. There also maps called (in German) Wanderkarte which have the signed hiking trails ( die Wanderwege) identified in red.

There are different levels of difficulty for hikes:

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

This "SwissTopo" website gives a lot of information about maps, and also has a superb online map:

www.swisstopo.admin.ch /

This is the link for the online map:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false

The three hikes you mention are straightforward, easy to understand, and need no maps, exactly as Lucas has noted. But, if you like maps, you might have fun with one on those hikes.

There is also a free map App, found on the Swiss topo website. Some find it a good substitute for paper maps.

shop.swisstopo.admin.c h/en/products/maps/Swi ssMapMobile_Abo

Slowpoke

Asha1
Asha1
15 posts
new member
Jul 15, 2017 - 4:39 AM

Thanks Lucas and Slowpoke. These sites and the mobile app are helpful. I'll also check out the maps at the tourist info centers.

Last modified on Jul 15, 2017 - 4:39 AM by Asha1
AlanPrice
AlanPrice
193 posts
active member
Jul 15, 2017 - 7:44 AM

Hi Asha1

While the Landesamt maps are brilliant, you might be better off with with the Wanderkarte maps published locally with the cartography by Schad+Frey. They are in 1:25000 scale with the map on one side and photos with the trails marked and a brief description in several languages on the other. These maps are a great asset to give you an idea of the landscape before you set off. As has already been noted, you don't really need one because everything is well sign posted, but they make great souvenirs.

Have fun

Alan

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4757 posts
expert
Jul 16, 2017 - 1:21 AM in reply to AlanPrice

Hi Alan-

The Landesamt now offers Wanderkarte in that expanded scale, or something close to it. Specifically - 1:3333.

shop.swisstopo.admin.c h/en/products/maps/lei sure/hike/hiking_maps3 3

Their maps and data base are the most accurate. I did use Kümmerly +Frey, but the SwissTopo maps are more accurate.

Slowpoke.

Asha1
Asha1
15 posts
new member
Jul 19, 2017 - 6:16 AM

I should be able to see these maps in the local Tourist Info center, correct? Our base is in Wengen. I'm hoping that there is a Tourist Info center there where I can see these maps and decide to buy if needed. Can someone please confirm if there is one in Wengen?

Secondly, not sure if I understand how to look for trail at www.wanderland.ch/en/h iking-in-switzerland.html I tried a few searches but couldn't really find the three hikes I mentioned in my first post on this site. If anyone could help, that would be greatly appreciated. I might then just print those off before I leave for Switzerland.

Thanks

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
193 posts
active member
Jul 19, 2017 - 7:30 AM in reply to Asha1

Hi Asha1,

The tourist office in Wengen is just off the Dorfstrasse and sort of next to Maënnlichen cable car station. Alternatively, most of the sports shops will have hiking maps, so try them as well. I've included a link to Google Maps that shows where the tourist office is.

www.google.com.au/maps /@46.6059819,7.9219461 ,17.26z

As far as Wanderland goes, Slowpoke uses it a lot and hopefully he will chime in.

Cheers

Alan

Arno
Arno
10767 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 20, 2017 - 6:55 AM

Hello Asha1,

Many book shops sell them too. And they's for sale online as well. You'll find links here: myswissalps.com/hiking /maps.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4757 posts
expert
Jul 20, 2017 - 1:29 PM in reply to AlanPrice

Hi Asha1

<<"Secondly, not sure if I understand how to look for trail at www.wanderland.ch/en/h iking-in-switzerland.html I tried a few searches but couldn't really find the three hikes I mentioned in my first post on this site. If anyone could help, that would be greatly appreciated. I might then just print those off before I leave for Switzerland.">>

First-

For the three hikes you mentioned, you will definitely not need maps. Study of the links below will help make that clear. I set some of the links to the region of interest.

Second -

I have the same problems with "Wanderland." I have a hard time getting the information that I know is there.

The way that often works is to start with the main screen:

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=en&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=5&la yers=Wanderland&E=2560 105&N=1141455

Check the green tab for hiking trails, and "map" in the second tab on the menu.

You have some choices now.

1.- You can enter place names in the search box at the top left. Try "Maennlichen" for example. (Or, if you prefer the German spelling, use "Männlichen").

Sometimes i have to try more than one name to get what I want, so I often have another map open for reference while I am seeking names to search.

After you enter the term in the search box, a list of places appears. Click on the last one - "Cable car Wengen-Männlichen) and you will be taken to that spot on the map. The hiking trails show in green.

Sometimes that process is a little slow. There is a lot of information, and it works best on a computer, not a smartphone.

2. Before or after you get the location by searching, you can scroll the map and then click on a route. Often, there is no further information.

Sometimes you get a lot of detail. That happens with "major" or "national" routes, for example.

If you know the name of a famous trail, such as the Via Alpina, you can enter it in the search box. You will get drop down list to choose from.

The drop down list gives options, the "Via Alpina" shows in bold type. The number "1" with it shows that it is the route numbered 1 of the various special routes. That will show on trail signs.

Click on the bold "Via Alpina." Wait. In several seconds,a map will appear with the via Alpina shown as red dots.

Click on the section between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. Wait.

A menu will appear on the left.

I have attached a screen grab.

Click on "more information"

You will get a page with a huge amount of information about that section ( stage 11) of the route. The page is full of links for more details. Screen grab attached.

Click on "enlarged map", on "show height profile" and "services" at a minimum.

I've attached a screen grab of part of the the height profile. The missing bottom axix show distance as if looking at a map.

It is not necessary to search for Via Alpina to get that detailed information. You can get it directly from the trail map, if the route is one that has the auxiliary information. They are distinguished by heavier lines on the map.

If you scroll on the map to the region near Kleine Scheidegg, and zoom in, you will see that one of the green lines for trails is thicker or heavier than the rest. Click on it near Kleine Scheidegg. You will get a pop up that lets you get the detailed information.

If you click on the lesser routes, usually you don't get any supplemental information.

Off hand, I do not know how to make "Wanderland" show the official level of difficulty for the trail.

In my earlier post I gave links that describe trail difficulties:

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

The Swiss topo map that I linked in my earlier post shows the trails with color coding ( yellow, red, blue) for the three types.

If you open that link, zoom in to Grindelwald and scroll around a bit near Wetterhorn, for example, you will see blue routes that require technical climbing as well as easy (yellow) and "mountain" routes that require some equipment.

Paper maps -

It is getting harder to find paper maps, because the bookstores are all disappearing. And, many people use the map app on their smart phones, or Google Maps. The electronic versions are helpful, but do not give the overview plus details that you get on a paper map. Nonetheless, they are contributing to lower sales of paper maps.

I have a lot of topos so I don't really look for places to buy them these days.

In the past, the convenience stores (Aperto, Kiosk, Volg) usually had topo maps for the local area. If you can find a book store (Barth Bücherei in Zürich main station for example), they have a good stock for the whole country). In Luzern, there is Stocker on Hertensteinstrase in the old town.

In Bern, maybe Stauffacher.

Ask at tourist info offices- that is how I found out about Stocker in Luzern.

The tourist info offices often will have local high quality topos for sale as well as some kind of free panoramic map or free trail map with much less information. And, in the past, good topos were common at train stations ticket copunters and at the ticket widows of the major cable cars going up to hiking trails. I have the maps I need, so I don't look any more, but you should keep your eyes open at stations, especially the smaller manned stations.

I replenish and update periodically at Barth and Stocker, since many other places I used to buy from have closed.

Hope that helps.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jul 20, 2017 - 3:33 PM by Slowpoke
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Asha1
Asha1
15 posts
new member
Jul 24, 2017 - 7:57 PM

Thanks a lot everyone. Thanks Slowpoke for the detailed instructions. I'll let you all know how it works out for us.

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