d’Schwiiz inerem Schiffli: Pfäffikersee

Lake Pfäffikon

So it hasn’t been all work: the weather (though it’s tragic today) has cooperated with my calendar on occasion, and I’ve had a few chances to throw the boat on the water. So this begins what I home will become an occasional series on paddling around Switzerland with a sea kayak.

The weekend before last, I decided to try out the Pfäffikersee (“Lake Pfäffikon”, though the lake isn’t really big enough to warrant a translation). At 2500m x 1200m, it’s possible to do a full roundtrip around the lake in about an hour without pushing too hard.

Access is something of an issue. First, the Pfäffikersee is a nature reserve, unlike many lakes in the Mittelland surrounded by a sizable wetland. The lake is open April through October, though much of the shoreline is closed throughout the year, so it’s important to stay on the middle-of-the-lake side of the orange buoys (see the flyer on the nature reserve, in German). This means the possibilities for throwing a kayak on the water are also limited.

There’s a low quay on the promenade in Pfäffikon, which is a reasonably short walk to the train station, and would be an option for bringing a smallish folding boat via S-Bahn. Parking is severely limited in Pfäffikon itself, though, and there does not appear to be any access for boats near Pfäffikon’s Seebadi. There also appears to be kayak-friendly access at Seegräben, but parking is also generally limited by the proximity to Jucker Farmart and there’s a 10% grade down to the lake over about 220m.

So I put in at the Seebad on the southern shore of the lake in Robenhausen (Wetzikon), with ample free parking and a small boat launch maintained by the sailing club. There’s even a small patch of grass well-sized to assemble the Feathercraft.


There was light sailboat and rowboat traffic on the lake, with rowboat rental from Pfäffikon’s promenade, and even another canoe and another seekayak (a fiberglass Prijon) out on the water. The lake is far enough up in the Zürcher Oberland that there’s a decent view of the mountains, though that was a bit limited by the weather last weekend.

Pfäffikersee, 28 June 2014

Verdict: definitely a nice afternoon paddle if you’re already in Wetzikon.

Brian Trammell
Brian Trammell
Scientist, Synthesist, Cyclist, SRE