Arnisee snowshoe Hike, Switzerland
Undoubtedly, Arnisee is a very popular location in summer but also a fantastic place for a good snowshoe hike in Winter. Located in the Swiss canton of Uri, Arnisee is a bit of a winter paradise if you, like me, love snowshoeing.
Away from the most touristic resorts, it’s only possible to reach Arnisee by an old-style cable car. The lack of major infrastructures is definitely a big plus for anyone enjoying nature and the outdoors. Such locations are not easy to find, especially in central Switzerland.
This was also my very first snowshoe hike when I moved to Switzerland, and the one that really got me into snowshoeing. You are sure not to be disappointed either if you are looking for a great snowshoe hike in nature.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Arnisee Snowshoe Hike
This snow show hike is moderately difficult. Only a little elevation gain and no exposed or dangerous sections, but at 7+ km, it is a relatively long snowshoe hike.
Fresh snow on the trail!
How to get to Arnisee
It’s impossible to drive to the trailhead, but you can take the cable car to Arnisee. The trail then starts from the mountain station of the cable car.
- Driving Directions: If you are coming from Zurich or Lucerne, you must head towards the Gotthard Pass. Take the exit as Amsteg, then keep following the road in the direction of Andermatt. Keep an eye out for the parking area to your left; it will be right before the cable car station.
- Parking: Amazingly enough, there is free parking at the valley gondola station. This is rare in Switzerland, where you usually need to pay for parking even at the Supermarket.
- By Public Transport: From either the Göschenen, Bahnhof or the Erstfeld, Bahnhof stations, take bus 401. Get off at the Intschi, Seilbahn stop.
Click here to check the operating hours and prices of the Cable Car (in german). The cable car can only carry six persons at a time, so unless you are one of the first in the morning, there may be a little queue to get up there. The price is 16CHF for a return ticket as of December 2022.
The Arnisee Snowshoe Trail
This trail is a loop, so it can be done both ways. However, I did it counterclockwise, so my description will follow that direction. This is a fully marked trail, with the usual pink trail marks showing the way.
As you leave the Cable Car mountain station and the Alpenblick guesthouse, the trail will turn to the right and get into the woods. This part is wonderful after a fresh snowfall when everything appears untouched. It will most likely be some animal tracks, the silence and you on the trail.
A beautiful section of the trail. Bristen is the Mountain in the Background
You will come across the occasional lookout along the trail. Plenty of cozy-looking mountain huts along the trail, surrounded by snow-capped mountains such as the imposing Bristen, which resembles something like a 3000 m pyramid.
The trail continues to the Vorder Arni Steimänndli lookout, offering excellent views of Altdorf and the valley below. Then, the trail turns toward Arnisee and follows another trail higher on the mountain. It first reaches Arnise again and continues on a little further and across another conglomerate of cozy-looking huts before turning back to the cable car’s mountain station, where the trail ends.
Vorder Arni Steimänndli lookout.
The Idyllic landscape on the Arnisee Snowshoe trail.
Arnisee Snowshoe Hike Photography Tips and Photos
Be out in the early morning after a fresh snowfall if you can. You should be able to catch the immaculate snow mantle along the trail. With snow covering tree branches along the trail in the woods, you’ll have plenty of occasions to capture moody and atmospheric shots.
Sunny or foggy, this is a great location. If it is sunny there’s plenty to capture with the landscape and the mountains around Arnisee. If it is foggy or cloudy, this is still a great location for some more minimalistic looking shots.
Black and white too works great here, even on a sunny day. There is something magic about a high-contrast black-and-white image of a snowy landscape. It’s like the essential contrast between lights, and shadow shapes the landscape.
Last but not least, the picturesque Arnisee and the huts around it will provide you with plenty of occasions for great shots. This is a Swiss classic!
One of the many shacks covered in snow.
Huts along the Arnisee Snowshoe trail.
Bristen, the mountain in the background, viewed from the trail.
The initial section of the trail on a foggy, snowy day.
A beautiful day on the trail.
Monochrome Panoramic image if the landscape around the trail.
Trees in the fog.
Arnisee surrounded by fog on a snowy day.
The Alpenblick restaurant, starting and ending point of the snowshoe hike.
Map of the Arnisee Snowshoe Hike
Here is the map of the Hike. You can download the GPX file from the Komoot activity, although the trail is well-marked.