We had a such fun time trying the newest FoxTrail in Lenzerheide, an elaborate activity trail, where you interpret clues and decode secret messages to help you find your way along on the trail. We did the Foxolino trail, designed for families, with easier clues and a shorter length than the typical FoxTrail. Our kids loved it, racing each other to find the next station and solve the clues. The setting couldn’t have been prettier, around the quiet Heidsee lake in the valley, with views of impressive mountain peaks in all directions.
I won’t give away all the secrets here, just some teasers to peak your interest as well as important logistics and tips for success. We had a great time and I hope you will too.
Thanks to FoxTrail for hosting our family for this experience!
|Location:||Graubünden, Southeastern Switzerland|
|Address:||Check in: Lenzerheide Tourist Information Center
Voa Principala 37, 7078 Vaz/Obervaz
|Car:||1hr40 from Zurich
Parking GPS: 46°43’33.3″N 9°33’29.4″E
|Train:||2hr05 from Zurich HB to Lenzerheide/Lai, Post
Adult return CHF 52.40
|Trail:||4 km one way, about 2 hours with kids|
|Condition:||wide gravel path, suitable for strollers|
|Open:||summer and winter|
|Cost 2017:||CHF 69 for Family of 2 Adults, 2 Children|
|Services:||cafes, kiosks and playgrounds along path|
Overview of FoxTrail
As I said above, a FoxTrail is an elaborate activity trail, where you interpret clues and decode secret messages to help you find your way along on the trail. There are FoxTrails all over Switzerland, mostly in cities. But Lenzerheide is the first mountain region to have FoxTrails.
At Lenzerheide, there are two FoxTrails: the shorter and easier “Anda” lake trail (about 2 hrs), and the longer and more difficult “Muntanella” mountrain trail (3-3.5 hrs). All clues and documents are available in English and German.
We did the Anda trail, which is designed for children aged 8 and over, but I think children as young as 6 could enjoy it. This trail had 19 well-maintained stations with clever clues and engaging, varied activities. The clues were not difficult for my kids (aged 9 and 13), but they took enough effort that my kids were excited when they figured it out. They really enjoyed the trail and wanted to do another FoxTrail right away. I’m curious how they’ll do on the more difficult FoxTrails and how much frustration they will tolerate.
The trail is 4km, easy walking on a wide gravel path around the lake and along a stream in a forest. It is advertised as taking about 2 hours, but we were extremely slow and took about 3.5 hours, with two teams passing us (not a big deal, more about that below). The entire path is suitable for strollers. I won’t show the trail map, as part of the challenge is figuring out where to go. But here’s what the lake looks like, so pretty with mountains all around.
Tickets & Prices
You must book your FoxTrail in advance online here. For weekends and holidays, it could fill up. However, we booked our trail in the morning for that same afternoon.
You book a specific day and time slot from 9:20 to 15:30. This time corresponds to your bus departure leading to the trail head, so you need to be on time. These Lenzerheide FoxTrails are open during summer and winter, but not spring and fall. Check the online schedule for exact dates.
The Anda FoxTrail costs CHF 25/adult and CHF 13/child aged 4-16. A family discount of CHF 7 is applied for 2 adults and 2 or more children. So CHF 69 for a 2/2 family. This includes your bus transport and a boat ticket for one of the stations. Each FoxTrail is priced differently because they include different features. For example, the Muntanella mountain FoxTrail costs CHF 109 for a 2/2 family and includes the cable car and bus transport.
Starting Documents & Checking in
Part of the fun of the FoxTrail is that you don’t know exactly where you’ll be going or what you’ll be doing. When you book your FoxTrail, you will receive some starting documents via PDF (and mail if you book way in advance), that tell you what to bring with you and where to meet. Ours also included some hints for each station on the trail and a helpline number in case we had trouble solving the clues.
To start the FoxTrail, you first check in at the Lenzerheide Tourist Information Center. They will give you a FoxTrail starter package, including your bus ticket, a boat ticket, and your FoxTrail badges. You start the trail by riding the bus across from the TI Center and will end the trail here as well. So
Important! The Tourist Information Center is open Monday till Friday 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm. So if your starting time is between 12pm and 2pm, you need to arrive earlier than 12pm to pick up your starting documents, or you will not be able to complete the trail. On weekends you pick up your documents at the hotel Schweizerhof, which is a couple doors down from the Tourist Info Center.
Everything starts in the center of Lenzerheide. First, you pick up your starter package at the Tourist Information Center, then you cross the street and catch the bus as instructed in your starting documents. Your documents also include your first clue, which you will use after exiting the bus at the correct stop.
By car: Drive to Lenzerheide and drive through the center of town until you reach the Tourist Info Center at Voa Principala 37 (right on the main street). There is small parking lot across from the TI Center and another larger lot if you take your next left at Voa Crapera. Parking costs CHF 2/hr in every lot in town, according to the TI lady. I paid for 4 hours, which was just enough time for our slow crew. The meters only take coins, so make sure you have enough. The TI Center made change for me.
By public transport: Take a train to Chur, then a bus 182 to Lenzerheide/Lai, Post. The TI Office is across the street from the bus stop. There are public toilets (coin-operated door) at the bus stop.
Tips for success
This Foxolino trail is designed for children and is not particularly difficult. So I don’t anticipate you getting stuck. But here are a few tips.
- However, don’t overthink the clues. We did this a few times and got off track then realized how simple the clue really was.
- Also, don’t leave the main trail for long. A couple clues are a few steps off the main trail, but don’t go hunting around the forest or onto the main road. Everything is accessible from the main path. A few times my kids ran way off course and we had to reign them in.
- Don’t stress on the time. Teams are staggered about 30 minutes apart so teams aren’t bumping into each other on the trail. But we were so slow, that two teams passed us. When we saw them coming, we quickly reset the clue so they could solve it themselves. We also let them pass us and have a head start, so we could find and solve the next clue on our own. With kids, it’s hard to hurry them along when they are enjoying themselves, especially when passing by playgrounds. So I recommend not stressing and just be polite to any teams that might catch up to you. It’s not a race.
- Keep your group small. Usually I like hiking with friends, but we had a lot of competition just between our two kids to find and solve each clue. At the beginning, we had to resolve a couple tearful conflicts when one spoiled it for the other. After that, we made them take turns. I suspect the classic FoxTrails are better for larger groups because the more difficult clues require more brain power to solve them.
- Plan time to go back and play. The play areas along the lake are so nice that your kids might want to stay and not finish the trail. So perhaps do the FoxTrail in the morning and promise to spend the afternoon playing back at the lake. If the weather is warm, you can swim, so bring swim stuff.
- Bring a prize for the kids. The only disappointment for our kids was that there’s no prize at the end of the trail. When you finish, you scan your ticket at a FoxTrail kiosk and it takes a picture of your team to post online, that’s it. My kids were hoping for some sort of reward, like a sticker or lollipop, nothing big. So you might get creative and have something ready to hand your kids at the end, maybe in a makeshift FoxTrail envelope.
Impressions on the trail
Using your starting documents, you’ll get off the bus near the Heidsee lake and find your first clue which will tell you where to start walking and how to find the next clue. I won’t tell you exactly where we went and what we did because that would ruin your experience. But I’ll show you some fun things.
First, so pretty, right?
At this station, we had to operate an underwater camera to search for an underwater clue.
At this station, we had to cut out a shape that would help us solve a clue later on the trail.
As you can see the trail is wide and flat.
On the left, a clever clue that has to be read in a special way. On the right, you sit on the bench to activate a clue.
To get one clue, we had to drive a boat over to an island. It was operated by foot pedals so our kids could drive it, which they loved!
After the boats, there is a big beach area and a series of playgrounds. The kids were desperate to play, so we took a small break and promised to come again soon to spend more time here.
Further down from the beach area, there is an even bigger play area, with rafts, a climbing rock, a sunken ship playground, and kiosk cafe with seating. I was worried my kids would never let us leave this area. But they were so excited about solving the clues that we didn’t get stuck for long.
My kids got quite wet before figuring out how to turn off this waterfall and find the hidden clue. On the right, my kids ran ahead without fully reading the clue. So they did the task incorrectly the first time and had to redo it when I caught up with the full instructions – a good life lesson.
After leaving the lake, the path dips into the forest.
Then it follows the stream back to town, so pretty. One clue had us find a code then use it to trigger a bird call ahead of us in the forest, which would lead us to the next clue.
In this phone booth, we had to call the “police” to get the next clue. My kids were very hesitant, worried they might get in trouble.
Well, that’s all I can show you, but I hope it peaked your interest. We had a great time on this trail and want to go back and try the more difficult mountain trail and see if our puzzle-solving skills are up to the challenge.
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