Tips on how to behave when hiking

Safe at every turn in Lenzerheide

Just like you, animals also feel at home here. No wonder, with this natural paradise. So, you can meet each other on our large network of paths. You can find out what to do here. You have to watch out for herds in particular. They are guarded by guard dogs.

This way you protect yourself, the animals and nature.
Wanderung Piz Danis – Stätzerhorn | © Sundroina Pictures

You and nature - respect

  • Keep your dog on a leash
    Please note that dogs must be kept on a leash in the Vaz/Obervaz municipal area. This applies to residential areas, wildlife rest areas, playgrounds and the entire Heidsee area. Failure to comply with the leash requirement will result in a fine of CHF 100.00.
  • Respect animals and their environment
    Mother cows are protective of their calves. Keep your distance and keep your dog on a leash.
  • Keep dog under control
    Pick up dog droppings; the grass serves as animal food. The watering trough is not a bathtub. Do not let your dog have a bath in the drinking water for the animals.
  • Do not throw away waste
    Litter contaminates the animals' food and can kill them. Plastic, metal or cigarette butts will remain in the wild for years if not picked up.
  • Respect and close fences
    Cross fenced pastures only on marked trails and keep your distance from animals. Fences ensure that livestock cannot leave their pastures. Therefore, close fences or gates behind you. Animals can escape, and this can lead to accidents and damage to other crops.
  • Keep field paths clear
    Respect farm traffic and keep crossings open on field paths.
  • Protect crops
    Do not cross fields! Neither on foot nor by bike or on horseback. This way you protect the crops and the biodiversity.

Cows on pastures – Don't mess with mum

Mother cows spend the summer with their calves on mountain pastures. Protecting their calves is the most important thing for mother cows. Approaching humans and animals can pose a threat. This can be dangerous for you. Therefore, you should follow certain rules of conduct.

Rules of conduct on pastures - the house rules in cow country

Pay attention to the information boards. Behave calmly, do not startle or frighten the animals. Close the gate and follow the trail in the pasture. In general, cows are curious and not dangerous. 

If cows block your path, remain calm. If cows are standing on the trail, keep your distance from them and walk around the herd rather than through the middle of it. Do not frighten the animals and do not turn your back to them.

Cattle have an individual zone - similar to the natural distance zone in humans. If this is violated, the animals may feel harassed. Attacking humans is usually to protect themselves, the herd, and especially the young animals

If possible, keep your distance so as not to alarm the cattle. In any case, walk calmly past the animals.

Cow mothers want to protect their calves. They do not like strangers touching their offspring. Calves, however, often lie somewhat hidden away from the herd.

The mothers always keep an eye on their little ones and may react violently if there is a disagreement. Do not approach the calves.

Cattle always classify your dog as a predator and want to protect their herd - regardless of his appearance and size.

Put him on a leash, keep him under control, and avoid the herd as quietly and as widely as possible. Dogs attract increased attention from cows, cattle and bulls and arouse defensive behavior. Take your dog to the side facing away from the herd so that it is not visible.

Herdenschutz | © AGRIDEA

Herds with guard dogs – Show respect an calmness

In Switzerland there are about 250 guard dogs working on 100 alps. They work independently and are sure of their instincts - even here with us. To help you get to know them and understand them better, here are a few rules and tips.

Rules of conduct for guard dogs - how to stay safe

  • Do not approach the dogs
  • Do not try to pet the dogs
  • Do not feed the dogs
  • Do not take photos of the dogs
  • Herding dogs are not cuddly animals

The information board indicates access to the protected pasture. Behave calmly, do not startle or frighten the animals. If you are on a bike, dismount and push the bike, if you are a pedestrian, slow down your pace.

Stay calm and give the dog time to control that you are not a danger to his herd - this is his job. Keep your distance from the animals and avoid provocations with sticks and quick movements. Once the guard dog has calmed down, continue on your way. If possible, go around the herd. Do not pet or feed the dogs.

Dogs elicit increased defensive behavior from guard dogs. Take your companion dog on a leash and keep it under control. Do not attempt to cross a protected herd with your dog, but bypass it. When in doubt, turn back. If guard dogs attack your leashed dog, let it go.

When hiking in areas with guard dogs, it is not recommended to bring dogs.

Avoid eye contact with the dog, but do not turn your back on it either. If a guard dog does not calm down for a longer period of time, even though you wait calmly at a distance from the herd, withdraw.

Areas with herd protection

On the following map you can see the alpine pastures marked in yellow where guard dogs are currently located. It may be that pastures are also protected by guard dogs, which are not marked on the map.

Contact with wolves

The wolf population in Switzerland is growing continuously. In principle, wolves are not dangerous to humans and a direct encounter rarely occurs. Nevertheless, important behavioural tips should be observed.

Wolves that grow up and live in the wild are not fundamentally dangerous to us humans, according to all the knowledge that has been gathered worldwide. Wolves avoid contact with humans. It can become dangerous when wolves get used to humans and even associate their presence with food. Fed wolves can learn to beg for food. Similarly, wolves – even pups – should never be followed to observe or photograph them. The area where the den is located should be avoided. Wolves can react aggressively if they are sick (rabies) or injured, if they have been fed or if they are cornered. There is currently no rabies in Switzerland.

  • Stay on trails and places and respect wildlife habitats.
  • Do not dispose of food scraps in the forest (e.g., barbecues) even if the amount is small. As a general rule, wolves should not learn that humans provide food.
  • Always keep your dog under control.
  • Stand still. If the wolf notices that you have discovered him, he usually retreats.
  • If the wolf does not flee immediately, draw attention to yourself with a certain voice.
  • Retreat slowly, the wolf will watch you or flee directly.
  • Do not attempt to approach the wolf under any circumstances – not even for photos.
  • Never pursue a wolf!
  • Never feed a wolf!

If you see a wolf, contact …

fairtrail-guido-demont.jpg | © Kanton Graubünden

Fair trail – Be nice to each other!

Sometimes you'd rather be alone in the world. Or at least on the hiking trail. But you're not. That's why you have to come to terms with the others. It's not that difficult, and no one really has anything against a smile and a smile back.

Trail tolerance while hiking

  • You know that of course you have the right of way
  • if there is enough space, you move aside
  • you do not obstruct the bikers unnecessarily

Coexistence and disentanglement
Together on the same trail or build a separate bike trail for the same route to the hiking trail? - Of course, two trails are smarter. Then the hikers are undisturbed and the bikers do not have to constantly watch out or slow down. Lenzerheide already relies on unbundling wherever possible. However, it would be an irresponsible interference with nature if we were to build the same number of kilometers of bike trails in parallel to all the kilometers of hiking trails. For heavily used trails, unbundling makes sense; for less frequented sections, hikers and bikers will have to share the right of way.

Everything has two sides. Even the bikers. And then they sometimes go hiking with the whole family. But even the hikers have two sides and quite a few have an e-mountain bike in the basement. Or one in mind.

Enjoy the experience, the nature, the path without prohibitions with each other. 

Now you know – start your hiking adventure