The Brunni Tickle Trail near Engelberg is an old favorite of ours and we go at least once a summer, always with friends. The main attraction is a very short sensory trail around a little pond, where you walk barefoot over surfaces like stones, sticks, bark, mud, and even cow pies. Next to the barefoot path is a large picnic area and water play area. Of course, the views are fantastic, even when the peaks are partially obscured by clouds.
You can combine this with the Globi Treasure Hunt trail, which has 11 treasure chests hidden along the trail. If you find all the clues, you can collect a prize at the restaurant. See more details here.
Lastly, at the Ristis middle station, there is a huge playground, with climbing structures, a trampoline, swings, slides, water play, an alpine slide (aka rodelbahn) and picnic areas with grills. Back in the valley, you can visit the Grotzenwäldi adventure playground if you have extra time to fill. Enjoy!!!
|Address:||Wydenstr 55, Engelberg, Switzerland|
|Car:||1hr15 from Zurich
Parking GPS: 46°49’07.0″N 8°24’56.1″E
|Train:||2hr10 from Zurich HB to Engelberg, Brunnibahn
Adult half-fare round trip CHF 38.00
|Condition:||dirt and road, obstacle-free|
|Open:||June through October|
|More info:||www.brunni.ch webcams|
There are many attractions in this area that I describe below in details. In short…
- Giant playground and alpine slide at Risitis middle station
- Barefoot Tickle Path at Härzlisee, with picnic area and kiosk
- Globi Treasure Hunt trail connecting Ristis and Härzlisee (route changes each year)
- Barefoot trail connecting Ristis and Härzlisee (in 2017, same as treasure hunt trail)
I recommend bringing a swimsuit and extra clothes in case the kids get wet. The water is cold, but on a hot day the kids will definitely be splashing around.
Here is an overview map of the Brunni hiking area. To reach the Tickle Path, you’ll take the cable car from Engelberg to Ristis, then a chair lift to Brunnihütte.
Planning your day
I recommend this schedule: get to Brunni around 10:00 and let the kids spend the morning jumping around the playground at Ristis for as long as they like. When they get hungry, ride the chairlift up to Brunnihütte, where they can run around the barefoot path while you grill up lunch. In mid-afternoon, hike down the Globi Treasure Hunt trail back to Ristis and retrieve your prize at the restaurant.
This spot is very popular and even on weekdays or cold days, we’ve seen it full of happy families and school/camp groups. So get there early.
This trail is accessed by the Engelberg Brunni cable car and chair lift.
By car: drive to Engelberg, then drive through town, following signs to the Brunni cable car. Park in the metered lot.
By public transport: Take the train to Engelberg, Bahnhof. This train has a special decorated Globi car, with Globi comics to read in each seating area. Our kids loved it! Once you arrive in Engelberg, you can wait for the bus to take you to the Engelberg, Brunnibahn stop, a five minute ride. Or you can simply walk through town, which is 1.2 km and took us about 15 minutes.
Detour: Cheese Making Demo
If you walk from the train station to the Brunni cable car, you’ll pass a Schaukäserei, aka a dairy where you can watch cheese being made. It’s inside a big cheese shop and entrance is free. There are handouts in English explaining the process. Our kids were so interested that we had a hard time dragging them away to go to the trail.
Brunni Cable Car Tickets & Opening Times
You’ll need a ticket from Engelberg to Ristis to Brunnihütte. If you are just visiting the Tickle Path and not hiking, buy a return ticket for the whole journey. If you plan to hike Globi’s Treasure Hunt trail, buy the Combi ticket, which includes a one-way ticket on the chair lift section to the top. You can use this one way to go up or down and you don’t have to decide beforehand.
Most summers, children under the age of 16 who are accompanied by an adult travel free of charge. They accept SBB Halbtax. Sample fare 2016: adult return ticket with SBB Halbtax: 30 CHF. See website for current prices.
The cable car is open 7:30 to 18:00 (runs every 20 minutes), the chair lift open 8:30 to 17:30. They may close for lunch and have shorter opening hours during the off-season. Check website for current details.
Tickle Path around the Härzlisee
Ride from the valley to Ristis, then a short walk to the chair lift that takes you to Brünnihütte and Härzlisee. At the top of the chair lift, you’ll find the barefoot path surrounding the lake.
You just take off your shoes, roll up your pants, and enjoy the experience. My boys were a little apprehensive at first, but soon got the hang of it. With very little ones, you’ll need to hold on tight and carry them on part of it as the water sections might be too deep. You can easily skip any section that you don’t like by using the adjacent dirt trail.
The tickle path itself is a very short loop around a small pond at the Brunnihütte, as shown below, only 0.2 km. Our kids usually walk around many times during our visit.
The reflective view across the lake is great, don’t you think? So don’t forget to stage this pic.
The mud is the best part because everyone thinks it’s so disgusting and you dare each other to try it.
Some bubbly water to wash off the mud.
Picnic Area at Härzlisee
There is also a big picnic area with grill pits and tables, interspersed with a water play area for the kids.
There is wood in rain proof boxes and cooking tongs next to the grills. You can buy sausages to cook at the nearby kiosk.
When we were there in September, there were hundreds of little tadpoles in the little streams and my boys had loads of fun catching them.
Which leads me to my next point: BRING EXTRA CLOTHES!!! My 3yr old fell into to the water in the first 10 minutes and proceed to soak two other outfits over the next hour. My 6yr old went through two outfits as well. Everyone ended up a bit wet, but still had a great time.
Hike down Globi Treasure Hunt Trail
Instead of riding back down the chairlift, you can hike back down to the gondola on the Globi Treasure Hunt trail, which will take about an hour. There are about 12 treasure chests slightly hidden on the trail. In each chest, there is a clue that the kids can enter on their answer sheet. At the end you can turn in the answer sheet for a prize. Pick up your answer sheet and map at the Kiosk near the lake or the Kiosk at the Ristis middle station. It costs CHF 5 per family.
>>> More details this post: Globi Treasure Hunt trail
Hike down Barefoot Trail
In 2016, they added a barefoot trail leading from the Härzlisee lake down to the middle station. In 2017, this was the same trail as the Globi Treasure Hunt trail mentioned above. There are several barefoot experiences scattered along the trail as shown below, walking over rocks, wood, pine cones, mud, etc. It’s a longer version of the small barefoot path at the lake.
Thankfully there was a water spray for our feet after the mud section.
It’s a little weird because you either have to hike the entire trail barefoot, which my son and I did, and carry your sons the whole way down. Or you have to take off your shoes and put them back on after each barefoot section. We liked it though.
Here is the trail map.
Play Area at Ristis Middle Station
After visiting the Tickle Trail, you might want to spend some time at the Ristis middle station, where there is a playground with a trampoline, bouncy palace, swings, slides, etc. There is also an alpine slide for CHF 5 per ride.
Globi’s Wildwasserwelt (aka Wild Water World) is a big playground and various structures for water play. Basically, you pump water into buckets then pour it down wooden paths and change the path to divert the water different directions.
They recently adding a huge climbing area to the playground.
Here’s the alpine slide.
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