Kanton Zürich  >  Switzerland

Natural area including the lakes of Unterer Katzensee, the Oberer Katzensee, the Büsisee and the surrounding reed areas and parts of the forest.

Added* by Thee Ballmer
Most recent update 25 January 2023


In the Katzensee area you can walk beautiful circular routes and make observations at any time of the year. It is well suited for birders and photographers. Of course, there is always a portion of luck involved. Unfortunately, it is also a local recreation area for the city of Zurich and attracts a lot of people at weekends. The lake Unterer Katzensee is accessible for swimming at one point. The lake Oberer Katzensee is not accessible and the small lake Büsisee is accessible at two small points. Swimming is only allowed at one point in the lower Katzensee. The rest is fenced.

The area was formed by the retreat of a glacier during the Ice Age. It also includes two raised bogs, three fens, dry meadows and silting up zones. Mixed forests partially round off the area. The lake is drained in two places and is fed by groundwater. Depending on the rainfall, the area is wetter or drier. Thanks to nature conservation, many birds find the shelter they need to breed. Rangers patrol the area. During the migration, many birds stop and feed in the area.



There are parking spaces, some for free, some paid. You have to be early to find a parking space on weekends, especially in the summer months. You can also access the area by bike. But not all roads are allowed to be driven through. Otherwise it is best to walk. Depending on your level of fitness, you can choose the shorter circular route, the longer one or the very long one. You can either take the train to Zurich Affoltern and walk from there. Or you drive to Regensdorf-Watt. From there you could take the bus to the Watt.

Terrain and Habitat

Forest , Wetland , Plain , Lake , Mud flats , Agriculture , Grassland , Scattered trees and bushes , Moors/heathland , Reedbeds


Flat , Open landscape

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

All year round

Best time to visit

Autumn migration , Spring migration


Wide path

Difficulty walking trail

Average walk

Accessible by

Foot , Bicycle

Birdwatching hide / platform


Extra info

There is a restaurant at the large Katzensee. In the summer months and partly in winter, the kiosk at the bathing area is in operation, incl. WC. The next restaurants would then be in Zurich Affoltern or Watt.

View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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Comments & Tips

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