This fun theme trail near Einsiedeln has 8 play stations related to the senses, one of the four Naturena sensory trails. We liked guessing the nature smells, bouncing on the suspension bridge and playing music with the cow bells. There are two big playgrounds with zip lines, swings, and climbing equipment. There are several nice picnic areas with fire pits. The trail is very pretty, through both lush fields and dense forest, with plenty of viewpoints where you can see the rolling Swiss hills and mountains in the distance. This trail has a bit more uphill and downhill than the other Naturena sensory trails but children with any experience hiking will have no troubles. You can take a stroller but it is a little bumpy in parts, as noted below. It’s only 35 minute drive from Zurich, so we easily did this trail on a Wednesday afternoon after school before swim lessons later than evening. We hope you like it!
The trail is about 4km. We spent about 2 hours on the trail, though we could have spent much more on the playgrounds. It was easy walking, with more uphill and downhill, than the other Naturena trails. Here is the official map from the Naturena website.
This trail starts at the Raten pass near Restaurant Raten, where you’ll find the big playground, which you should save for the end. The trail heads south into the woods. There are two theme trails, so make sure follow the Naturena signs. From station 1, the trail goes uphill on a wide dirt road, not super steep, but you might huff and puff a little. It flattens out near station 3, where you’ll find a big playground, picnic area with fire pits, and a cafe in a big fields outside the forest. The trail goes back into the forest to station 5, where there is a little picnic hut for shelter, an enclosed grill and a view of the surrounding hills and mountains. The trail then turns into a narrower footpath downhill through the forest to station number 7. Then back on a dirt road uphill to station 3, then back to the start.
The map below is more true to life. Click on it to see more detail and the elevation gains.
You could take an all-terrain stroller but it would be a little rough in parts. I’ll note that in the pics below. There was a fountain in the parking lot but otherwise no water on the trail. Restaurant Raten has toilets and probably one at the cafe on the trail, but it was closed when we were there, on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in June – I don’t blame them!
All the station signs are in German only. The information is super interesting, so if you know some German, try to at least read the “Wüssten Sie was…” section that tells you fun facts about animals’ super senses. I’d love to translate it all for you, but who has the time? There’s more hiking to be done!
Although we really enjoyed this trail, it was clearly in a little disrepair. The paint was chipped and faded on some of the installations. A couple of the animal sculptures had been vandalized. But that shouldn’t deter you.
By car: Use the map below to drive toward Einsiedeln, following signs to Raten. At the top of the hill, you’ll find a big parking lot (no fee) next to Restaurant Raten. The trail starts at the east side of the parking lot. The playground is behind the restaurant.
By transit: Take a train to Zug. Then a bus 1 to Oberägeri. Then another bus 10 to Raten
Here is the map at the start of the trail. This map is repeated at every station along the way, you won’t get lost. As you can see on the map, there is a second theme trail that parallels the Sensory Trail. You could connect to this traion near station 7 and take this back instead of retracing your steps.
Start of the trail on a paved road.
View back to Restaurant Raten and the parking lot.
Station #1 – Hearing sense. You can hit the wires with a stick and hear different tones as it vibrates against the cow bells.
There is a sign warning you to not hit the wires too hard or they will break.
Some animal sculptures along the trail.
Station #2 – Smell. You push the lever to emit a smell related to the picture. The cherries smelled great, the mushroom better than expected, but the fox was disgusting!
Station #3 – Touch. The board on the left has you touch different nature things in the holes, like fur, antlers, bark, and guess what you are touching. This station is at the playground shown on the right.
The playground at station #3, with zip line and swings.
The cafe and chapel next to the playground.
For your amusement… we did this trail on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. We only had hard rain for about 20 mins, so it wasn’t so bad.
But I was second guessing myself when we heard thunder in the distance. We just took cover at the little chapel until it blew over.
The trail heads into the forest after the playground. Take the fork to the left.
Station #4 – Hearing. There are two big disks separated by a dozen meters or so. You are supposed to be able to whisper on one side and hear it on the other, but that didn’t work for us. But it did make cool echos when you made louder noises on different parts of the disk.
Picnic area at station #5. To reach this walk straight past where the trail turns to the right. It’s just a few meters further, then you go back and take the trail to the right. This hut has a big picnic table inside. There wasn’t firewood but someone had left grilling sticks. There is a fire pit outside and a stove grill inside.
Station #5 – Sight. Use the telescopes to look at details across the valley.
What you’ll see. Maybe it will be sunny the day you go.
Back on the trail. This part would have been harder with a stroller, lots of grass, a little narrower, and the day we were there, lots of mud.
The suspension bridge at station #6, super bouncy.
My son loved running back and forth on the bridge. But careful, slippery when wet.
Station #7 – Sight. You spin the wheels and they make optical illusions. It was cool but the middle one’s paint was so faded that it didn’t really give any visual effect while spinning.
Right after #7, you join the main dirt road again. This is looking west, the opposite direction of where you will go. If you walk this direction, you’ll join up with that other theme trail I told you about earlier.
A little picnic area at this junction, overlooking the lovely Ägerisee.
More animal sculptures.
Station #8 – Touch. You can touch different materials to notice the different in temperature. There are thermometers showing the air temperature. You can put your hand on a sheet that changes colors based on your body temperature.
That’s all folks. Head back the way you came. Back at the parking lot, don’t forget to visit the wonderful playground next to the restaurant.
We could have spent hours there if we didn’t have to hurry back to see the Swiss football match.
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