Flumserberg “Wild Man” Nature Theme Trail

The Flumserberg “Sagenerlebnisweg” is a theme trail with several interactive educational stations for children along the way. Story boards tell a story of a little wild man that lived in a cave at Flumserberg, who was unkind to animals and nature. After a change of heart, the wild man is allowed to return to Flumserberg every year for three days to make amends. Using the story and information gathered along the trail, children can solve a word puzzle and enter a contest to win a prize. At the end of the trail, there is a big play area, restaurant and even a ropes courses for both big and small. It’s a full day of adventure in the mountains. Flumserberg has a Oktoberfest celebration on the last weekend in September, so you might want to plan your visit then.

Location:   Eastern Switzerland
Address: Flumserbergstrasse, 8898 Flumserberg Tannenboden
Car: ~1hr15 from Zurich
Train: easy, ~1hr40 from Zurich
Trail: 3.2 km, ~2 hours
Condition: dirt, lumpy trail
Skill: easy
Open: mid June to mid October, 10:00-17:00
More info: www.flumserberg.ch

Overview

The Sagenerlebnisweg is about 3.2 km long and will take you about 2 hours, accounting for time spent at each station. It’s easy, all downhill. But the trail is narrow and bumpy in parts, not suitable for strollers. There are two picnic areas with fire pits and tables. This is a restaurant at the top and the end of the trail, where you’ll also find toilets.

The trail has about 17 interactive stations, many of which I detail below. All text is in German only, but at most stations, the game or puzzle is pretty obvious, so don’t worry. For example, one station has you match the food with the animal or guess which name belongs to which mountain.

At the Prodalp middle station, you’ll find a restaurant, big playground and ropes course, aka Cliimber. I have some pictures of these at the end of this post. I recommend saving these attractions for after the hike.

Getting There

By car: Drive to Tannenheim as shown on the map below. Park in the lot adjacent to the Prodalp Express cable car. In your GPS, you could enter Flumserbergstrasse 143 8897 Flums, which is the address of the Post office next to the cable car.

By public transport: take a train to Sargans, then the 441 bus to Flumserberg, Tannenheim. Do not take the cable car from Unterterzen-Tannenboden, as this drops you off quite far from the Tannenheim lift. You could take a bus from Tannenboden to Tannenheim, if necessary, but it’s too far to walk.

Tickets

At Tannenheim, buy tickets for the “Wilde Mannli” trail, which will give you return trip on the Prodalp Express and one-way up the Prodkamm chair lift, where the trail starts. You will walk down to Prodalp and take the cable car back down at the end of the day. You can walk all the way down if you want, but it’s not part of the theme trail. The price list on the website is confusing, but I think the ticket costs Adult CHF 27, Halbtax CHF 13.50, children under 12 ride free.

Please note the closing times for both the mountain transport and attractions. If you plan to do the ropes course, it closes at 17:00 and you’ll want at least 2-3 hours on the course. So start your hike early if you plan to do both. Also, the last cable car back down to your car is officially at 17:00, much earlier than you think. When we were there, they had the last time posted for a bit after 17:00, but we had to rush a bit to catch it. So check the schedule to make sure you don’t get stuck having to walk back down in the dark.

Wild Man Story

The theme trail has an overarching “Das wilde Mannli” story, which is told both on sign boards on the trail and in a pamphelt, available from the ticket office and shown below. It is only in German and it’s a nice addition if you or your kids read German. However, I didn’t find this story necessary to our enjoyment of the trail.

In short, it tells the story of the little wild man, who lived in a cave at Flumserberg. He was unkempt, mean to animals and people, ripped up and trampled flowers, etc. He would throw snails in the streams, hide the birds’ eggs, hunt butterflies and all sorts of mischief. He was punished, eventually had a change of heart, and now he helps the animals, plants flowers and teaches others about the “forest rules” to keep nature in good shape. Many of the stations talk about something bad the wild man did before or something good he did later to help out. The idea is to teach children good manners in nature.

The pamphlet has five questions, whose answers help you spell out a final word that you can use to enter a contest. After much confusion, we realized that the pamphlet questions do not correspond to the stations along the trail. You will find some of the answers on the signboards on the trail. But because our German vocabulary is limited, we had trouble with three of the answers and my boys gave up. The pamphlet is not important to your enjoyment of the trail. There is no prize for completing it. If you figure out the final word, you can write it on a postcard available in the restaurant at Prodalp (we found them sitting on a table at the entrance to the restaurant) and drop in the adjacent box. You might win a prize, but probably not. I say skip it and just have fun at the stations. Just in case you need the answers to soothe an irritated child, here there are in white, just select the following invisible text to see the answers: SAGENTOR, RINGELSPITZ, FUCHSE, SCHATZ, FICHTE, GRUEZI

 

 

Trail Details

Finally, on the trail!!! To reach the trail, take the Prodkann chair lift up and follow signs to the “Sagenerlebnisweg.” The map below shows the trail.

http://www.gpsies.com/mapOnly.do?fileId=wpsfoolrbjviytla

At the top of the Prodkamm, you see the first station, with a little introduction to the “wild man” story. Note, all pictures in this post were taken end of September 2014.

The view from the top, toward the Walensee and Churfirsten peaks

View northwest, toward the ski slopes on the Maschgenkamm side of Flumserberg, where you’ll find more trails. We like the Heidi Flower Trail, a short stroller-friendly loop trail with lots of flowers in the middle of summer.

At the top, you’ll find this restaurant with a view. I haven’t eaten there yet, but the menu and food looks better than at the restaurant below at Prodalp.

To the south of the restaurant, you’ll see the “gate” to the “Sagenerlebnisweg,” shown below. If your kids want to solve the word puzzle, make sure to read each sign, which has clues to help you answer the questions.

Follow the red “Sagenerlebnisweg” signs as shown below. The trail was quite faint at times and we weren’t sure we were following the correct path. The upper right photo below shows where the trail splits to the left, do not take the dirt road on the right. The station shown below has you guess which names below to which mountain, pushing buttons to see if you’re correct.

This station shows protected flowers that must not be picked.

Pretty early in the trail, you’ll find this picnic spot with grill pits and wood. It’s a great spot, but quite crowded. We didn’t mind because it was much too early in the hike for us to eat lunch.

At the picnic spot, there is a puzzle where you have to find the matching hole for each stick. The stick has a shape on the end, which only fits one hole. Some of holes were hard to find. In one case, a family’s blanket was partially covering a hole and my kids asked them to move temporarily.

Let’s remember for a moment just how pretty it is here.

In the upper left photo, kids match the animal to the plant it eats. Below that is a book about local animals. Here the trail dips into the forest.

At this station, the squirrel complains that the wild man used to hide all his nuts. But now you can follow a trail of nut pictures affixed to various trees.

The station on the left has you toss pine cones into a box, I don’t remember why. On the right, you’re supposed to look for something through the telescope, but I never saw it.

In the past, the wild man totally destroyed the ant hills. They have since rebuilt them and you can find a hidden “treasure” box by following the ants.

We reached this picnic spot after being on the trail about 90 mins. The view isn’t as spectacular as at the last picnic spot, but it’s still nice with tables and benches and a fire pit with wood.

Next to the picnic spot, there’s an “animal race”. The sign lists the speed of various animals. You are supposed to see how fast you can run slalom between the poles. This was our favorite station.

We’ve reached the end. In the upper left photo, you match the tree name with their seeds and their bark by rotating the boxes. In the lower left photo, Heidi encourages you to wash your feet in the cold stream. On the right, you can sign your name in the guestbook at the end of the trail.

The trail joins a road that leads you back to Prodalp, where the kids will be happy to find this large playground. Every year we go, we find different play equipment here so this is what we saw in 2014.

We were very happy to find this Blasio “bouncy pillow” instead of the trampolines which were there in years past.

Behind the Blasio, you can see the Cliimber ropes course. We’ve done this a few times and really like it. It has a small course for kids 4-8 and multiple levels of difficulty on the regular course. Learn more in this post: Flumserberg Ropes Course

There is a restaurant next to the playground. It’s nothing special, just regular Swiss mountain food. However, they have a Oktoberfest party in late September, where they have traditional Bayern beer garden food and music. Many of the guests were dressed in traditional dirndls and lederhosen. We ate the traditional Weisswürstchen and pretzels. It’s not amazing, but it certainly added to the day.

Last, but not least, we’ve accidentally gone to Flumserberg twice on the day of their “Alpabzug” when they bring the cows down the mountain into the valley for winter. At Flumserberg, this happens on the last Saturday in September, same weekend as the Oktoberfest celebrations. One year, the cows came down at 10:00. Another year, they were down at 13:30. They might bring different groups down at different times. It’s very fun to see. But be warned that the cows block the road from the valley town of Flums all the way up to wherever those cows spend the summer, so it might delay your schedule. Luckily, we’ve only caught the tail-end so we weren’t stuck for long.

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Theme trail for children with interactive educational stations about nature. Afterwards, enjoy the playground and ropes course. Flumserberg, Eastern Switzerland.

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