Swiss Resident, English Speaking, Guides to “Wow” You

We offer visitors guided day tours led by locally-based native English-speaking guides.
Their fluency allows them to share the area’s salient features and their individual Swiss stories.

The communication connection, coupled with the ability to “relate to visitors” makes the ECHO Trails experience unique and different to all other native Swiss-led tours.

Echo Trails has guided hundreds of visitors and has received numerous recommendations including TripAdvisor’s “Hall of Fame” excellence based on a minimum of 5 continuous years.

René Welti, Founder & Owner

Rene Welt - Director of Echo TrailsRené’s entire professional career is in the travel & tourism industry.

Swiss born in the city of Basel, René’s Swiss heritage tracks back to the 16th century.  René’s family immigrated to North America as a youngster & grew up in the San Francisco, Silicon Valley Bay Area, graduating from San José State University while co-founding Student Services West focusing on youth travel to Europe. 

René’s Swiss tourism career highlights include working with Swiss based, Kuoni Travel and began a 12 year career with Trans World Airlines in Zurich.

During the 1990’s René represented a number of Swiss tourism entities in the USA like the Graubünden Tourist Office – that included the resorts of St. Moritz, Pontresina, Klosters, Davos,  the Ticino Tourist office that included the resorts of Lugano, Locarno, Ascona, the Zurich and Central Swiss tourist offices, Rhaetian Railways, Swiss Travel System etc.  Being appointed as the Swiss Olympic Team Attaché for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics still is a high point.

René handles the USA information & marketing from the Silicon Valley, Los Altos Hills, CA office. During the summer, June through September guiding months, he is based in Lucerne.

Andrea Caspani, Office Manager & Operations Director

Andrea’s passion is to take people into the mountains and has been doing this his entire tourism career.

Lake Como born, with a Bachelor in Tourism degree from the University in Como and a Master in Management from the University of Lugano, Andrea is a Lucerne tourism executive with many years of travel industry experience.


In the Winter months, Andrea is a ski instructor. He therefore has detailed knowledge with all the Lake Lucerne region & other Swiss resort trails.

Suzanne Welti

Suzanne is a San Francisco native Californian with Swiss heritage and enjoys engaging with all our participants about their Swiss trip “wish lists”.

René & Suzanne’s Swiss Alp Rail tour experience began as the original Alpenwild’s Swiss Rail “guide-couple”.
Over an 8 year period, René’s jointly fine tuned the Alpenwild itinerary to what it is today.

René and Suzanne scouted the Guided Hike of the Jungfrau Region – on the Via Alpina #1 National Trail. Together they designed a way that offers two hiking options based on fitness and interest levels.

With René & Suzanne as guides, there is a guide per activity level as some may wish to take a faster and others a slower level.
Everyone is guaranteed their kind of day.

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.

Thomas Aschwanden

Thomas Aschwanden, is our Swiss Public Transportation, “ÖV” expert. When he isn’t guiding along on one of our Via Alpina multi-day hikes, he’s directing the Canton of Uri’s, local bus,train and road schedules.

Thomas is our point person when dealing with the scenic places of Bauen, Fluelen, Andermatt, Elsasso Gothardo military bunker, Furka Steam train and overall best resource when it’s time to ask “What do you think is the best thing to do”. Everyone who’s had Thomas on a tour is most fortunate.

Glenn Murray-Prior

Born in Australia, Glenn is now also a Swiss citizen. He has lived in Lucerne for over 15 years.
Glenn started travelling straight out of high school and has lived and worked in several countries around the world. Glenn is a qualified bungy jump master who enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities.
He has worked for several years as a travel industry executive.
For Glenn to take people into the mountains and experience the beauty of this region is an absolute pleasure.

Brigitte Giger

Brigitte, a Swiss native, is a passionate tour guide who enjoys sharing her knowledge of Swiss culture, nature and environmental issues.

Brigitte has a Masters in Geography & Environmental Science from the University of Zürich and worked for the Canton, (State) of Zürich’s, Department of Environmental Affairs.

Her favorite places to take people include her Lake of Zürich area, Eastern Switzerland, Mt. Rigi, Lake Lucerne surrounding areas and the Engadine area around St. Moritz.

Brigitte also guides our Rail tours and keenly answers questions about raising children in Switzerland and everyday Swiss life.

Eve Harpur

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.

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.

David Lingard

The Swiss Alps & Canton of Bern has been David’s home for many years now. Originally from Scotland, he uses his Scottish National Outdoor Training leader certification, to guide English speaking visitors through the Jungfrau region trails.

He enjoys showing and explaining Grindelwald’s glacier history to visitors. It’s also very interesting to hear the history of the Eiger while hiking the Eiger trail.




Pete’s been living in Zermatt for the past 6 years.

He looks forward to showing you the breathtaking views, sharing the soothing tranquility and enjoying the magnificent perspectives of the majestic mountains so proudly surrounding Zermatt with Matterhorn as their King and the Monta Rosa (highest in Switzerland) their Queen.



John Webster

For the past 25+ years, John’s lived in St. Moritz, even though he’s originally Australian.

During the summer he’s the areas Nbr. 1 English speaking & hiking guide and coordinates many of St. Moritz’s events for the English speaking media and participants.

During the Winter he’s a ski instructor.




Hans Schlunegger

Born and raised in Grindelwald, Hans has climbed all the major peaks of the Bernese Alps.

When you meet and hike with Hans, you know you are with Mr. Grindelwald as he will focus on your interest and match the best hike for you for the day.

His ability to counsel comes from a 10 year career of coaching the Swiss National Women’s & Men’s Ski teams. Hans himself competed in the Swiss National Ski team and placed in the top 15 World’s best skiers.

Hiking with Hans is worth the trip to the Jungfrau Region as you will be hearing, seeing and capturing the local insight of this part of Switzerland through Mr. Grindelwald himself.

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 5 continents and visited more than 25 countries. He speaks English like a native since he also lives in Australia for roughly half the year..

Switzerland has an “army reserve system” and Dennis was a squad leader within his “Alpine training maneuvres” unit. As a passionate skier he enjoys the slopes of several resorts in Switzerland and Austria, which is where his general love for the Alps comes from.

Madeleine Forrer

Born and raised in the heart of Switzerland, Madeleine takes great pleasure in telling you everything you want to know about her home country.

With a university degree in Computer Science and English Language & Literature, she has travelled the world and is fully immersed in foreign cultures. Madeleine is an adult education teacher and president of Lucerne’s Anglo-Swiss Club. She continues to indulge her passion for the English language.

Madeleine looks forward to taking you to some of the most beautiful places in Central Switzerland and sharing her love of nature with you.



Leo Vetterli

Born in the Zurich area, he is now living in Rapperswil at the southern end of the lake Zurich.

Leo began his English speaking guiding duties while employed with Trans World Airlines in Zurich.  His  career brought him to the Middle East where he worked for a number of projects and back to Switzerland where he managed a number of companies.

Now with his sons, he hikes the surrounding scenic Swiss Alps and enjoys sharing his Switzerland with others.





Romina & Patricia

Both Romina & Patricia are from Lugano and coordinate Lugano’s local tours.
They enjoy sharing their wonderful local Swiss-Italian culture & cuisine to English speaking visitors and will make you feel right at home.