Uetliberg of course makes a wonderful defensive and watchtower position so it is hardly surprising that people have used it as such for millennia.
Archaeological excavations have shown that it was an oppidum (fortified settlement) in the Bronze Age and it was almost certainly inhabited long before that.
Late, six forts (or 'castles') were built on various sites on the mountain and the Albis range of hills adjoining it. These probably date from around the 1100s, although little of any remain and dating is not accurate.
I spotted a few signs of Uetliberg's early-Medieval castle as I walked to the summit from the railway station. The mound on which the hotel now stands is very, very clearly a typical man-made 'motte'...an earthen mound topped by either a wooden or stone defensive keep, surrounded by defensive ditches and walls. Part of the ditch is still very obvious although the remains of the walls are less clear.
There are a few plaques on stones to help you work out what was where and a useful map near the entrance to the Hotel car park.
The Üetliberg (also spelled Uetliberg) is a mountain in the Swiss plateau, part of the Albis chain, rising to 873 m (2864 ft). The Uetliberg offers a panoramic view of the entire city of Zürich and the Lake of Zürich. There is also a hotel in the name of "Uto Kulm" on this small mountain. The two towers on the mountain are a look-out tower (rebuilt 1990) and the Uetliberg TV-tower (132 m, rebuilt 1968). The summit is easily accessible by train from Zürich
Uetliberg, located south of the city, is probably the favourite mountain of the locals. With an elevation of 869 m it is not quite an Alpine mountain, but quite right for a short excursion. It is accessible by train from Hauptbahnhof or in a 1-hour walk/hike from the outskirts of Zürich.
The views from the top must be stunning but, alas, when we visited the mountain was fogged in. We could barely see 100 m in the distance. Still, it was fun. Especially with the fresh snow which proved to be a challenge for Sonja. :-) The families with kids got a kick out of the snow, sledded down the hill and then took the train up again. Oh what fun.
The restaurant on top looked quite stylish, but not very 'gemütlich'. Probably quite pricey. We didn't go in.
I can imagine the hikes along the mountain ridge are wonderful in summer. Must come back.
A 20 minute train ride from Zurich HB by S-Bahn, Uetilberg provides views of Zurich. The station has an information hut giving details of walks in the area, also there is a restaurant.
I took the trail from the station called Planetewag(Planet Path) it features models of the planets to a scale of 1:1 billion, Pluto is about 5km away. After about 10 minutes you'll reach the summit where there is a 30m viewing tower. Atop the tower you are at an altitude of 900m & there are amazing 360-degree views of Zurich.
Take at main station a day ticket "Albis" - or, if you have no halftax ticket, the "Zürich Card" http://www.zuerich.com/zurich/zuerichcard/index.html for CHF 15.
Take the train up to the Uetliberg (900 m), walk up to the top (15 min.) and take a wonderful view over Zurich and the lake. If you like, you can climb for free up to a tower.
Then follow the yellow signs to "Albispass / Felsenegg", an easy path with view right and left down to the valley - and if weather is clear, up to the mountains. You will pass the Restaurant Staffel, the spot Annaburg and Baldern and after 2.10 h you will arrive at Felsenegg station where you can use the cable car (included in the ticket) down to Adliswil. A short walk will bring you to the railsway station Adliswil - Zurich main station.
Restaurants, hiking time and information see:
Trail in English:
You might do hiking all over Switzerland - it will be a great experience. As you stay in Zurich I suggest a half or full day tour at mountain Uetliberg just "around the corner".
Two ways to get up the mountain - eighter you walk (around one and a half hour from center of Zurich or 45 min from "Triemli") or you take the train (25 min by S10 from Zurich's main station). While climbing to Uetliberg, you will pass probably one of the "Teehüsli" (Tea houses hidden in the forest, open mostly at weekend's).
At the very Top of Uetliberg there is also a Tower to visit for free. Perfect view down to Zurich and to the Airport. On clear days you will have a spectalular view over the Alps of Switzerland (From Säntis till Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau).
Restaurant tipps see:
There are two ways to walk directly back to Zurich:
Fastest and easiest: Take the way back to "Triemli" (30 - 45 min).
Nice with some steps: The way down to "Albisgüetli" (25 min from Staffel).
If you like to stay on the top of the hill you may walk in Southern direction to "Felsenegg" (60 - 90 min).
From "Felsenegg" (there is another Restaurant with a lovely terrasse) you may take the Cable Car down to Adliswil and the train back to Zurich.
Ready for more? Next stop on the top is "Buchenegg".
Restaunts tipps see (with a superbe Fondue):
From "Buchenegg" you might walk down to "Adliswil" (45 min) or just back as far as you like to the Top of Uetliberg - or go on to the "Albispass" (another 45 - 60 min) where you have public transport back to Zurich (ask at the Tourist Office in Zurich's Mainstation for a time table).
Or just google it with "MTB, Uetliberg, Langnau".
Bikes can be rented a different places in Zurich (see
http://www.rail.ch/pv/veloselb_e.htm - or
On a clear day you can also see the alps, unfortunately it was not too clear in the distance and so the view was slightly obscurred.
There are many walking trails along this ridge, all well signposted, with the time it should take to walk.
You can walk to Felsenegg which takes approximately 1.1/2 - 2 hours. We went to Felsenegg but went a different way. We went on the train to Adliswil and from there a cable car. (See my next tip)
High above Zurich City is the Albis Ridge which is a very wooded area and is the highest point in Zurich standing 2875 feet and overlooks the city.
We caught a train from the railway station. It took about 20 minutes and Uetliberg is the end of the line.
Beautiful views and when we were there it was covered in snow.
The Uetliberg mountain provides a great pananoramic viewpoint of the Alps. Take s-bahn train no. 10 (leaves track 2 at main station daily every hour at .06 and .27)From Uetliberg hike along the Planetenweg to Felsenegg (1.5 hrs) A cable-car will take you from Felsenegg back down to Adliswill, and then s-train no. 4 back to Zurich.
I like Uetliberg (not really off the beaten path ) It is 1 hour trekking and if you dont like or can - take the train from Maintrainstation and then it is a 10 Min walk. A wonderful spot over Zürich and the lake, Berner Unterland, 'Heidiland' and so on will wait for you !
Perfect view, Restaurant on top, you can walk up there from Zürich Main Station or take the train called Uetlibergbahn
in winter: don't forget the sled
At Uetliberg station there is a small shop, restaurant, and a childrens play area. As well as picnic areas.
There are also toilet facilities.