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Toggenburg Tone Trail

Fun theme trail for children in eastern Switzerland with 20 interactive musical activities along the trail and beautiful mountain views.

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The Toggenburg Klangweg is the gold standard when it comes to theme trails for children. Every few minutes along the trail, you’ll find a different interactive musical activity where kids can play and make lots of noise. Since kids can often see or hear the next music station ahead, they are motivated to keep walking to see what’s next.

We usually spend about 4+ hours on the trail, playing at every station along the way and grilling our lunch. The trail is not especially difficult and is possible with an all-terrain stroller. This is a popular option for families and school groups, but there’s plenty of room to spread out. I hope you like it!

Location:   Eastern Switzerland
Start point: Alt St. Johann-Sellamatt chair lift
Car: Parking Ochsenwis 418, 9656 Alt St. Johann (47°11’37.3″N 9°17’11.9″E)
From Zürich 1hr30
Train: Bus stop: Alt St. Johann, Dorf
From Zürich 1hr50
   
Trail: 6 km one way
Time: 3-4 hours including play time
Condition: dirt and paved, possible with all-terrain stroller
Skill: easy
Open: late May through mid October
Cost 2024: mountain lifts – CHF 32/adult
discount with SBB Half-fare and Junior cards accepted
Extras: playground, restaurants
More info: www.klangwelt.chwebcamweather

Location

This trail is located east of Zurich near the Austrian border. See on Google Maps.

This is a one way trail from the top of the Alt St Johann-Sellamatt lift to the top of Oberdorf-Wildhaus lift. You can return to your starting point with a bus, which is included in your hiking ticket. There are 20+ interactive musical stations along the way, as well as mountain restaurants, picnic areas and playgrounds.  

Hiking map

This one way trail is about 6 km long, 2 hours walking time. But plan 3-4 hours to include play time at each activity along the way. The trail is suitable for strollers, with one steep, but short, section after the Iltios station near the picnic area, that was quite tricky with my stroller. I’d recommend letting your little one walk this section while you take the stroller down separately.

See trail on KomootSchweizMobilAllTrailsOutdoorActive

Strollers

The first 2 km of the trail to Iltios is ok for strollers on a paved road. Part of this section has an obstacle-free detour to avoid the gravel path through the forest. The second part of the trail after Iltios is a smaller path, which would be possible with all-terrain stroller, but a little annoying (I’ve done it a couple times). The part right before the picnic area is quite steep and would need very good brakes on the stroller to manage the switchbacks.

Shorter version

If you’re not up for the full hike, you can walk the short section between Sellamatt and Iltios (2km, about 30-40 mins), take the funicular down to Unterwasser, then take the bus back to your car. Or you could do the second half of the trail (4 km, about 1hr30), from Iltios to Oberdorf.

How to get there

By car: Drive to Ochsenwis 418, 9656 Alt St. Johann , following signs to the Sellamattbahn. There is parking along the street near the gondola and a large dirt lot past the lift.

By public transport: Take a train to Sargans, then a bus to Alt Sankt Johann, Dorf stop. The gondola is a short walk across the street.

Bus schedule

At the end of the trail, you’ll need to walk about 5 mins from the Wildhaus chair lift station to the bus stop at Wildhaus, Lisighaus, on the main street (see walking directions). Ride bus 790 to your starting point at Alt Sankt Johann, Dorf. This bus leaves every 30 mins on the xx:09 and xx:39 and takes about 8 mins. Check current schedule on SBB.ch.

Planning your day

Ticket prices

When you buy your ticket, ask for the Klangweg ticket, which includes all the gondola and chair lift on both sides of the hike. It also includes the bus ticket from Wildhaus back to Alt Sankt Johann, if you need to return to your car at the starting point.

In 2024, a Klangweg ticket cost CHF 34/adult and CHF 20/Child. See current prices. SBB-Half-fare and Junior cards are accepted. 

Opening hours

This area is open for summer season from end of May to mid October. The Alt St Johann-Sellamatt gondola runs daily 8:30 – 17:00 (closed over lunch in bad weather). The Wildhaus-Oberdorf chair lift runs 8:30 – 12:00 and 13:15 – 17:15. In bad weather, both lifts may reduce service or close altogether.

Where to eat

At Sellamatt, there is Berggasthaus Sellamatt restaurant. At Iltios (2 km, about 40 mins), there is a restaurant, playground and picnic area. After 3.7 km (about 90 mins), there is a picnic area with tables, fire pit and wood. At the Oberdorf chair lift station, there is a restaurant and playground.

If you need picnic supplies, here are the grocery in the area:

Photo story of the trail

1. Start trail at Sellamatt

To start your journey, take the lift from Alt Sankt Johann to Sellamatt. This lift alternates chairs with cable cars, so you can wait for a cable car if you have little ones that would be safer in an enclosed space. But at the end of the trail, Wildhaus-Oberdorf, there are only chairs. The lift operators are very helpful and will load your folded stroller on a separate chair and also help little kids get settled on the chair. But if your little one is too young and squirmy for a chairlift, you might want to skip the second leg and take the funicular train down from Iltios.You can also walk down, but the trail has lots of stairs, not suitable for strollers.

At Sellamatt, follow the brown trail signs marked “Klangweg.” The trail starts on the road, then veers off on a dirt path in the forest.

Now for some pics of the trail. The musical installations change from year to year, some replaced, some moved around, some new. So the ones below are just examples and might be different when you go. A list of all the current instruments is on the Klangweg website.

The first one at Sellamatt is this see-saw, with a ball that rolls along the xylophone as you go up and down.

Here, you can hit the metal tubes to make a huge racket. It was too noisy for some of the little ones in our group.

After only a few minutes on the trail, you cross field where lots of people picnic. It has a few fire pits and portable toilets. I think it’s much too early on the trail to picnic here, but I’ve seen many other people picnicking here.

View of the jagged Churfirsten peaks near the beginning of the trail

A bunch of cow bells to walk through, one of our favorite stations.

2. Break at Iltios station

After about 45 mins, you’ll reach the Iltios station, where you’ll find a restaurant and a playground. Each time we’ve been on the trail, the playground has been improved and expanded. Last time we went, there was a bouncy pillow and some swings.

There are also fire pits nearby if you want to grill lunch and also let your kids play here. If you want to cut your trip short, you can ride the funicular down and catch a bus back to your car.

3. Back on the tone trail

Continuing the trail, the little house below is an old mill and has a string instrument (shown on right) attached to the old mill mechanism. Below is a sort of flute.

Pull cable to ring cow bells, then hit disks of different kinds of metal and compare the sound.

Talk through holes in the rock. Spin pendulum to make washer slide down the poles and make a lot of noise.

4. Picnic area

About 45 mins after Itlios, there is a nice fire pit, with wood, grill and picnic tables.

Big metal mushrooms to bang, next to the picnic area.

Some animal sculptures near the picnic spot.

Bang a stick along the bridge to make a song

5. Ending the trail at Oberdorf

The trail ends at Oberdorf, where you can take a chair lift down into the valley, walk to the bus stop, and ride the bus back to Alt Sankt Johann. At Oberdorf, there is a cafe and playground with trampolines, slides, blasio, and animals to pet the last time we went.

If you know when the bus leaves in Unterwasser, it’s better to spend your waiting time jumping around up here than sitting a bus stop. But remember, the bus stop is about a 10 minute walk from the bottom of the lift, so plan accordingly.

Make sure to check the chair lift times. One time, we spent an extra long time on the trail and realized too late that the chair lift had closed for the day (around 17:15). So we had to walk from Oberdorf down into the valley then to the bus stop. The trail is actually very pretty, not difficult and only took about 30 minutes. But it has a lot of stairs as shown below, so not suitable for strollers.

Optional detours to mountain tops

At Iltios, there’s a cable car that goes up to Chäserrugg the top, where there’s an amazing panorama view, a restaurant and a panorama trail. More details on that here.

From Oberdorf (end of trail), you can take a chair lift up to to Gamsalp (shown below), which had a stunning view, a decent cafeteria, and a great playground, with a trampoline, slides and sandpit. You can hike straight up from here for a fantastic view, but it’s not for kids or strollers. I ran up partway and back in the 15 mins it took for our food to be done, while my husband stayed with the kids. The view was worth it.

Lastly, there is a playground and fire pit at the Sellamattbahn parking lot. I’ve never needed to use it, as the trail is so action-packed, but just know its there.

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9 Responses

  1. We did it yesterday (26 May).
    With a little one, we shortened it quite a bit and came back from the intermediate station.
    I have the impression that the trail was still being prepared for the summer (there was still snow on the side). Some stations requires a little bit of fixing and the playground at Iltios had fewer things than what’s described here. It will probably be back to normal before summer.
    The trail is super nice for little kids, and the view is nice, even in a so-so weather.

    1. Yes, it’s still early for summer season and many trails are still be prepared. Hope you still had a nice time.

  2. Pingback: Things to Do: Across Switzerland • Family Matters Switzerland
  3. After reading this blog, we decided to make the trip last weekend (25 degrees :-)). We went with 2 cars – we left one at Alt St.Johann and the other at Wildhaus which we would never have thought of doing without your blog.
    It was a fantastic outing, the whole group(2 families) enjoyed the day. I would highly recommend it.
    Thank you for the tip!

  4. We’ve been meaning to try the Tone Trail for several months and decided that the sunny weather today warranted the trip. We did the drive to Unterwasser and took the cogwheel-train up to Iltios. From there we walked/sledded on the Tone Trail towards Alt St. Johann. Although our trip was a little on the short side, it was wonderful. Even though all the ski runs were all open and the base snow was pretty deep, the Tone Trail was groomed and great for an easy hike/sled ride. We will definitely be going back to this hike during the summer when we can take more advantage of the music stations. The area is gorgeous! Thanks Tanya for the helpful tips!

    1. We are so excited to visit this trail this summer!!! Im presuming (but wanted to check) its ok to start either end of the trail? We will be staying directly opposite the wildhaus lift so thought we would start that end.

      Is the trail clearly marked and easy to follow??

      Thank you for such great information.

    2. Yes, you can hike in either direction. But you may find it easier to take the bus at the beginning of the day so you don’t have to worry about catching it at the correct time after the hike. In this direction, you end where you are staying.

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Welcome

Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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