•    Palo Alto, CA   650-460-9107

  • Guides
    René Welti, Founder & Owner

    In 2011, while living in Lucerne, René discovered no one was offering individual “Guided Outdoor Day Tours” from Lucerne to the surrounding Lake Lucerne mountains that provide the best scenic views of the Swiss Alps.

    He spent months scouting trails and planning the ideal hiking and biking tours for English speaking visitors, and so Echo Trails began. Now it has guided hundreds of visitors to the area who have been “wowed” by their experiences.

    René has Swiss heritage that can be tracked back to the 16th century. He was born in the city of Basel but moved to California at the age of 3 and grew up in the San Francisco, Silicon Valley Bay Area.

    When people ask René  where he is from, his standard response is: “Swiss on the inside and USA on the outside”. While he considers himself a native English-speaker he also speaks Swiss-German like everyone else in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland.

    René completed a Business Bachelor’s degree at San José State University and an MBA at the University of Connecticut. After 12 years in Sales & Marketing at Trans World Airlines, he relocated to Florida as Assistant Director for the Florida Division of Tourism. Then, with his 20 years of corporate and public tourism experience, he created his own tourism marketing business, America Live, Inc.

    In 2010, in order to be closer to his two children at graduate schools in Europe, René relocated back to Switzerland where his travel industry experience gave him the insight to develop adventure hiking, walking and biking tours to the mountains surrounding Lake Lucerne and shortly afterwards, established Echo Trails.


    Peter Cummins
    Born in the UK and raised in London, trained as an outdoor activity instructor in Scotland, Switzerland and Austria, Pete enthusiastically awaits to meet you and to be your guide.

    For over 20 years Pete has trained and is qualified to hike, climb, mountain bike and team build. Pete also loves history and geography and is pleased to share how the British were the first to put Switzerland firmly on the tourist “must do” list, the first to climb the Matterhorn in 1865 and provided the first wave of visitors to this Lake Lucerne region.  Switzerland can thank the British for promoting Switzerland as one of the world’s most scenic places to visit.


    Eve Harpur, Office Manager
    Eve takes great pleasure in sharing the Lucerne area with visitors and friends as she has explored the area widely on foot, by bike, boat and bus.

    Originally from South Africa, now a Swiss citizen, Eve graduated with a degree in History and a post-grad qualification in Librarianship from the University of Cape Town. After many years working in the Reference section at the university library, she re-trained and worked as a registered tour guide in Cape Town before moving to Switzerland.

    Today Eve is very active in the Anglo-Swiss Club of Lucerne and naturally has a passion for Swiss history and has amassed an amazing store of knowledge about the country.


    Dave Harpur
    Dave is originally from South Africa but is now a full Swiss citizen having been through the long process to become Swiss.

    Dave has a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Cape Town and extensive professional experience in vaccine research and then in the petrochemicals industry.

    But for the past 16 years Dave has been enthusiastically sharing the Lake Lucerne region with friends and visitors. Dave’s specialties are Swiss natural history and telling amazing stories with a Swiss-related theme.


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    John Fraser
    John guides for ECHO Trails on a part-time basis. He was formerly in the United States Air Force before coming to Switzerland in February 2013 to join his (now) wife who is Swiss.

    John currently works as an engineering program manager for Pilatus Aircraft, the only aircraft manufacturer in Switzerland. He is an avid skier and hiker and spends much of his free time in the mountains. He is also a frequent traveler and amateur photographer, traveling the globe in search of new experiences.


    Michael Welti
    Michael was born in Tallahassee FL and graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the University of St. Gallen. He is an Eagle Scout, a former member of the Swiss National Lacrosse team and the Lucerne Rugby Club team and recently completed his first Ironman Triathlon.

    Michael knows the Lake Lucerne region through hours of hiking and cycling in the area, and he even biked solo from Switzerland all the way to Aberdeen, Scotland.

    When not guiding for ECHO Trails, he works for Credit Suisse in Zürich in the the foreign exchange department and offers interesting insights into the world’s monetary policies.


    Denis Aschwanden
    Dennis was born and raised in Uri, one of the founding Cantons of Switzerland; “Aschwanden” is a typical name of the area.

    Denis loves travelling and has seen 3 continents and visited more than 15 countries. He speaks English like a native as he enjoys traveling to the USA; he also attended the Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh on an exchange program.

    Switzerland has an “army reserve system” and Dennis is a squad leader within his “Alps training excercises” unit. As a passionate skier he enjoys the slopes of several resorts in Switzerland and Austria. In order to heighten his cultural experience he is a student of international management and works with incoming students from all around the world.


  • Recent reviews

    ECHO Trails ranked Top Guided Hiking Company in Lucerne