This winter hike is the easiest we’ve done, a great choice for families or any casual hiker. It’s a gradual downhill stroll on a wide groomed snowy path (no snowshoes needed) with spectacular mountain views. At the halfway point, there’s a mountain restaurant with an outdoor terrace and amazing views. If you want a little action, you can combine this with the 2.5km sled run in the same area. We sled for a few hours, had a late lunch, then did the winter hike in the late afternoon.
|Location:||Engelberg, Central Switzerland|
|Address:||Brunni-Bahnen cable car
GPS: 46°49’07.0″N 8°24’56.1″E
|Car:||Parking: Wydenstr 55, Engelberg, Switzerland
35 mins from Lucerne, 1hr15 from Zurich
|Transit:||Bus stop: Engelberg, Brunnibahn
1hr from Lucerne, 2hr from Zurich
|Trail:||3 km one way, about 1hr15|
|Elevation:||highest point 1855m|
|Condition:||marked trail, snow groomed|
|Skill:||easy, 270m up or down|
|Open:||Dec through March, assuming snow|
|Services:||restaurants at start, middle and end of trail|
|Prices 2021:||CHF 41/adult, CHF 20.50/child aged 6-15, free under 6, dogs CHF 10.
Discount for Engelberg Guest Card, SBB Half-fare, GA and Swiss Travel Pass.
|More info:||brunni.ch • webcam|
This trail is located at the Brunni mountain resort in Engelberg in central Switzerland.
Here is the winter map for Brunni.
To reach this trail, you ride a cable car from Brunni-Ristis, then a chair lift from Ristis-Brunnihütte. Then you hike back down to Ristis. You could also hike up from Ristis to Brunnihütte.
We saw many families on the trail, mostly walking downhill. Many of the children had shovel style sleds so they could sled parts of the trail on the way down. We also saw several parents dragging toddlers on sleds, both uphill and downhill.
Optional sledding: The sled run is between Brunnihütte and Ristis. You could hike up to Brunnihütte, then sled down to Ristis instead of riding the chair lift. Or you could buy a day pass and do the sled run multiple times, then end your day with a winter hike down from Brunnihütte to Ristis.
By car: drive to Engelberg, then drive through town following signs to the Brunni-Bahnen cable car. Park in the metered lot at Wydenstr 55, Engelberg, Switzerland. The parking costs 5 CHF, which you can pay with coins or card when you exit (you don’t need a parking token).
By public transport: take the train to Engelberg, then a bus to the Engelberg, Brunnibahn stop. The bus drops directly at the cable car station.
Note: This is Brunni Engelberg, not Brunni Alpthal, which is in a different part of Switzerland. I’ve had reports of people driving to the wrong Brunni.
To do this winter hike as described, you need a “combi ticket” which includes a return ticket on the Engelberg – Ristis cable car and a single ticket on the Ristis – Brunnihütte chair lift. You can use the chair lift ticket to ride up and hike down or hike up and ride down. Make sure to hang on to your tickets for your return trip on the cable car.
In 2021, this Combi ticket cost CHF 41/adult, CHF 20.50/child aged 6-15, free under 6, dogs CHF 10. Discount for Engelberg Guest Card, SBB Half-fare, GA and Swiss Travel Pass. See Brunni website for current prices.
If you also want to sled, buy the day pass instead. This includes a return ticket on the cable car and unlimited rides on the chair lift, which accesses the sled run. In 2021, a day pass costs CHF 44/adult, CHF 30/teen (ages 16-19), CHF 22 (ages 6-15), under 6 free. Sled rental is CHF 8/day.
The cheapest option would be to ride the cable car to Ristis, hike up to Brunnihütte and sled down to Ristis. In this case, you only need a return ticket on the Brunni-Ristis cable car, which costs CHF 32/adult, CHF 16/adult with SBB Half-fare, and free with a GA card.
The Brunni Engelberg resort is open for winter season from early Dec through early April. The winter trail and/or sled run may not be open due to poor snow conditions. So check the open/closed status before heading out.
The cable car from the valley to the Ristis middle station is open 7:30 to 18:00 (runs every 20 minutes). The Ristis-Brunnihütte chair lift to the top of the trail is open 8:30 to 17:30. Check website for current operating hours.
Photo story of the trail
My pictures are from our hike on 31 Dec 2021. It was unseasonably warm (10C on the mountain) and had recently rained. So the snow coverage was not great.
Here’s the Brunni cable car parking. There is a beginners ski hill next to the parking.
View from the cable car down to the valley.
Restaurant at the Ristis middle station. I took this pic around 15:00 when the sun was already getting quite low. Early in the day, this patio was full of sun.
Just below the Ristis restaurant, there is a kiosk next to the beginners hill. You can rent sleds here. It costs CHF 8 to rent a sled for the day. You have to leave an ID as a depot. They give you a ticket indicating how many sleds you need to return. Make sure to keep track of your sleds if you break for lunch. We saw one person who lost her sled and was discussing with the kiosk how to get her ID back.
It’s a short walk from the kiosk to the chair lift shown here. When it’s your turn to get on the chair lift, hand your sled to the lift operator. They hand the sled on a hook on the side of the chair lift. If your group has multiple sleds, they’ll just put those sleds on chairs behind you. At the top, get off the chair and wait to collect your sled.
Here’s the top of the chair lift. The restaurant is on your left. You can see the sled run next to the poles. The winter hike starts to your right.
Here’s a view from the top of the chair lift. You can see the winter trail heading off into the trees below. The most difficult part is the few meters descent on the side of the ski piste to reach the trail.
Now starting the trail. It’s a wide path, easy walking.
Great views of the Titlis peak and glacier straight ahead.
At this split, take the left fork that goes up hill for a couple minutes. The sign points left to “Panoramaweg zum Älperbeizli Rigidal und Ristis”. That’s your trail. To the right is the ski piste.
Now the trail winds around the mountain to your left.
View of more mountain peaks. Keep following the wide path and pink poles.
Below you can see the mountain restaurant and the path.
One of the winter hiking trail signs. If you are hiking downhill, you are going direction Ristis.
The Älperbeizli Rigidal restaurant.
If you prefer to picnic, there are several benches along the way.
Looking back up the trail to the restaurant.
One of a few bench swings along the way.
Heading into the sun.
At this junction, turn right in direction Ristis. To your left, there is a snowshoe trail leading elsewhere.
Here you can see a parent dragging a toddler on a sled.
The end of the trail at Ristis.
More winter hiking trail signs at Ristis. Lots of options where there’s enough snow all the way to the valley.