The Federispitz is a fantastic hike offering amazing views and impressive geology. Because of its location at the north end of the Alps, the summit is accessible much earlier in the year than at many other locations, making it a great spring hike starting in late April or May. Its location near Zurich also makes it quite easy to get to.
The hike begins at Ziegelbrücke train station. Head to the north side of the train station; you will immediately see a yellow "Federispitz" signpost pointing to the left. Follow the road left for about 600 yards, past a railroad crossing on the left. Soon you will see another yellow signpost on the right. Follow the trail to the right up toward Federispitz.
A note about Swiss trail markings: All mountain paths, including the trail to Federispitz, are marked with white-red-white blazes. The yellow signposts indicate the trail directions at intersections and road crossings. "Wanderweg" means "hiking path."
The trail leads for the first mile along a relatively steep forest path, which can be muddy. It then leads to the right along a switchbacking road for another 0.6 miles, when the trail resumes on the right (there will also be a small mountain house on the left). Continue up the hill toward the yellow sign, then follow the directions to Federispitz to the left and up the hill. However, you can instead continue along the road for an additional 0.8 miles instead of taking the trail.
From here the trail continues for an additional 1.0 miles. At this point the trees disappear and the ridge and summit of Federispitz come into view. The views to the south are also fantastic. There is a small river here, and there are also two water troughs along the trail, which may be running in summer. If they do not say "non-potable" or "kein trinkwasser" ("not drinking water"), then the water is generally safe to drink; just use your best judgment.
Follow the trail up 0.5 miles toward the ridge; the yellow sign at the top is visible from the valley on a clear day. The trail becomes a bit ambiguous in some spots, but it basically just leads up the hill. It is quite steep in some spots as well, and it can be difficult in mud.
At the top of the ridge you will be rewarded with fantastic views to the north. But continue along the ridge to the right (east) toward the summit, only about 0.3 miles away. The trail becomes narrow in some spots, and again this segment can be steep and slippery if conditions are muddy. There can still be snow even in May, so be prepared and be careful.
About 10 minutes away from the summit the trail splits (there is another signpost as well), and the summit of Federispitz is to the left. The trail to the right offers an alternative route down; however, there are some steep and exposed parts that include sections with chains for safety.
Once you make it to the summit of Federispitz you'll get incredible 360-degree views. On a clear day you can see Germany to the north. To the west, the ridge of Federispitz leads back toward the Zürichsee. The Appenzell range is visible to the east, including Säntis, with its distinctive summit tower. The Walensee is nearby to the south, as well as impressive mountains such as Mürtschenstock, Fronalpstock, Chöpfenberg, and Rautispitz.
This hike can be completed as an out-and-back or as a loop using the alternative trail as mentioned.