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National Park in June, crowded?

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Old Sunday 24th April 2016, 18:26   #1
Swiffly
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National Park in June, crowded?

Hi all, I'm a long time birder but new to Switzerland and this forum. I will be visiting my gf in Klosters and would love to see Ibex, and start learning the birds of Switzerland.

In the US, schools let out in early June and millions of families go on vacation. I wouldn't dream of going to Yellowstone or Yosemite at that time of year; huge crowds and traffic jams are guaranteed. Ugh. Is the NP going to be the same?

A followup question, any other good places for Ibex in June without huge crowds.

TIA for any advice,

John
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Old Sunday 24th April 2016, 18:52   #2
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swiffly View Post
Hi all, I'm a long time birder but new to Switzerland and this forum. I will be visiting my gf in Klosters and would love to see Ibex, and start learning the birds of Switzerland.

In the US, schools let out in early June and millions of families go on vacation. I wouldn't dream of going to Yellowstone or Yosemite at that time of year; huge crowds and traffic jams are guaranteed. Ugh. Is the NP going to be the same?

A followup question, any other good places for Ibex in June without huge crowds.

TIA for any advice,

John
European mountains, though popular, do not tend to suffer the types of traffic queues that the Yosemite valley might experience, partly I think because more folk visiting the mountains this side of the pond tend to use the car to get there, but then hike rather than drive. Second point is that the school holidays in many (most) European countries begin in July, not June, so you will miss the crowds anyhow.

PS I have been to Yosemite and Yellowstone in mid-summer and found it fairly easy to lose the crowds even in these regions, though agreed Yosemite Valley itself is not exactly peaceful :)
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Old Sunday 24th April 2016, 19:17   #3
Sangahyando
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To avoid summer vacation crowds, you'd have to check out Swiss summer holiday (Sommerferien in German, I guess they use that word) schedules. German summer vacations tend to be in July and/or August, depending on the state (Germans are likely to represent a large percentage of foreign tourists).
You have to remember though that Switzerland is a small country with a large population, so it may be more crowded than your North American parks regardless of the time of year. One thing to consider might be to avoid traffic going across the Alps.

edit: ninja'd by Jos...

Last edited by Sangahyando : Sunday 24th April 2016 at 19:19.
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Old Monday 25th April 2016, 21:24   #4
Swiffly
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Thanks guys! It sounds like it may not be too bad.
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Old Tuesday 26th April 2016, 08:21   #5
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Hi John and welcome to Switzerland!

The Swiss mountains are certainly not overcrowded in summer. They can be around the cable car stations, but the moment you start to walk away there are much less people around.
The Swiss National Park is of course a popular destination but the same principle here, the moment you walk away from the road you're fine. Some walks to recommend:
  • Il Fuorn (P5 or P6, P meaning parking lot) to Alp la Schera, Munt la Schera and either (if you have a car) going back or continuing to Buffalora (P11) and take the bus (Postauto) back to Il Fuorn (or Zernez).
  • Zernez to Capanna (=hut) Cluozza (where you can stay overnight with prior reservation) to Val Sassa, Fuorcla (=pass) Val Sassa down to Val Müschauns, Val Trupchun and back to the main valley to S-chanf. For that one you need to be fit and one (or maybe two days).
  • Pass dal Fuorn (Ofenpass) to Plaun da l'Aua, Alp da Munt, Alp Champatsch and Lü. From there the bus down to the main valley and back to Pass dal Fuorn. This hike is outside the National Park but probably the best one to find Bearded Vulture.

On all this hikes you will see Marmot and you can see Chamois and Ibex. I have seen Ibex around Klosters (up in Parsenn and around Silvrettahütte).

If you need any more informations just let me know and enjoy our country (and it will get warmer, hopefully).

André
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Last edited by wintibird : Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 08:25.
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Old Tuesday 26th April 2016, 08:23   #6
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Btw, early June is early for the Swiss Alps. There might still be a lot of snow around and some cable cars will still be closed. Our summer vacation is from mid-July to end of August.
A very good place to see Ibex really close (and it's open in early June and there should be no more snow up there then) is the Niederhorn, south of Berne. See here: http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Niederhorn

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Old Tuesday 26th April 2016, 17:49   #7
Swiffly
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Thanks Andre, both posts are very helpful.

The Niederhorn web site has a couple photos of Ibex about two meters from a group of children! It is always good to have a back up plan.

I forgot all about Alpine Marmot. I've seen all six Marmots in North America, that is an easy start on the nine Eurasian ones.

Cheers,
John
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