Hiking in Engleberg

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One area we enjoy visiting, in the German part of Switzerland, is Engleberg.  Hiking trails are scattered throughout Engleberg, but one of our favorites is the Kitzeltrail.  You can access the trail by taking the Brunni chairlift to the top of the mountain where you find Lake Härzlisee.

If you are ambitious, you can also hike up from the valley.  With younger children, I recommend taking the chairlift.  The half-fare and junior cards are accepted, so it makes it a reasonably priced mountain to go up as a family.

The Kitzeltrail is also know as the “tickle path”.  The “tickle path” surrounds Lake Härzlisee.  The path does not cost and is free to go around as many times as you’d like.   You get to experience textures barefoot; from rocks, mud, cold and warm water.

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The views from the top are incredible. Mount Titlis is just across the way offering stunning views.  There are picnic tables and fire pits making picnicking easy.  The trail is open June through October.

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There are other fun activities on the mountain including, a play area for the children and a  personal favorite, the toboggan (rodelbahn) run.

The hiking season in Engleberg usually is about mid-May through October.

Once hiking season is over you have the winter activities.  In the winter you have endless ski options. You can enjoy downhill skiing, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing and even  a horse-drawn carriage ride through the mountains.

Have you been to Engleberg? What was your favorite area?

Hiking up Monte San Salvatore in Lugano

 

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If you want a workout with breathtaking views this is the hike for you. We hesitated to do this hike, as our youngest is only 7, but we gave it a go and it was well worth it.

 

 

 

To begin the hike, you can park in the Funicolare parking lot at:

Via delle Scuole 7
CH-6902 Lugano-Paradiso

For Parking, you will need the right change to get out. Make sure you have 1, 2 or 5 CHF on you. Parking is 4 CHF for those who took the Funicular and 10 CHF if you hiked up.

From there, walk out of the parking lot in the direction towards the lake & Lugano Paradiso train station.  Once you start up the road Via Corona there will be signs directing you to the top. The signs estimate it to take about 2 hours and 40 minutes.  It took us about 3 hours with a few breaks along the way.

The trail is marked with trail markers the whole way up.  In the beginning, you take a short trail through the forest passing some houses along the way.

Eventually, you will see the Funicular and follow the stairs along the tracks. This part was a little discouraging for my kids when they could see how much further they had to climb, but they were troopers.

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The halfway point seemed to be a bit after you reach the end of the trail following the tracks.

Along the trail, there are a number of panoramic viewpoints. The trail winds around the Lugano side of the mountain so you are able to see many beautiful views of the city and the lake below. On a clear day, you can see Monte Rosa and other snow-capped Alps in the distance.

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When you finally reach the top you will come out by the Funicular.  There is a restaurant where you can sit and admire your accomplishment. We enjoyed some refreshing drinks and snacks while soaking in the views.

There is also a section with picnic tables. So, if you decide to hike up with a picnic you have somewhere to sit and enjoy it.

 

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Just past the restaurant, you can take the trail about 5 minutes more to the very top. On the top, there is a little church and the most amazing panoramic views over Lugano. You can see parts of Italy, the Swiss Alps, and the winding Lugano Lake below. (Pictured above is the first look out, you have to climb a little higher for the best view of all. )

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There is also a church by the viewpoint. It is open to the public and you can go inside to see the little chapel. If you go around the backside of the church you will see a small door with stairs leading to the roof. Take the stairs up to the top, the views will not disappoint.

From the top, you can get a good idea of how Lake Lugano winds through the beautiful mountains.  Once you’re done enjoying the views, decide if you are going to hike or ride down on the Funicolare. The hike down is about an hour.

If you’re going to take the Funicolare down, it departs every half hour. During spring and fall, the last train down is at 5 pm. In summer the last train down is at 11 pm! If you miss the tram you have no choice but to hike down.

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The Funicolare ride is only a 10-minute ride to the top versus the 2 1/2 hour hike, although you miss out on some fantastic views.

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 Funicolare Lugano-Paradiso – Monte San Salvatore 

Adult return fares are 30 CHF and children 13 CHF. If you decide to hike in one direction they have a reduced rate of 23 CHF /10 CHF. Opening hours change depending on the season. 

 

 

Skiing in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are in the Northeastern part of Italy encompassing the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol, and Trentino. The whole area is actually a UNESCO world heritage site and we were lucky enough to finally make a visit there.

We decided we wanted to take a family ski trip this year and, although Switzerland is an obvious choice, we wanted to try something new. So, we pulled out the map and started scouting out the Dolomites. There are plenty of ski resorts to choose from but we settled on Paganella in the village of Andalo.

We stayed five minutes outside of Andalo in Molveno Italy. Molveno is a quaint town situated on a lake with a little town square. It is scattered with restaurants and boutique hotels. We traveled this time with another family so we decided to rent a home together.


The ski resort of Paganella was a great family resort. They have a handful of ski schools you can choose from.  The adult all day ski pass was 42 Euros. Which for a resort of its size seemed like an incredible price. They were running a promotion when while we were there and our family of 5 was able to ski for 155 Euros a day. WOW! What a deal.

 

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As far as the slopes were concerned, there were many beginner/medium runs. For advanced skiers, there was only one black run, but it did happen to be the training run for the Norwegian Olympic Ski team.

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I feel like we have not even made a dent in our skiing in the Dolomites. This was our first trip of many to come.  There are so many resorts we would like to try. Have you been skiing in the Dolomites? Do you have a recommendation? We would love to hear from you.

The Matterhorn

Many are familiar with the Matterhorn because of the Disneyland ride, but a visit to the real Matterhorn will not disappoint. The Matterhorn is located in Southern Switzerland on the border of Italy and Switzerland.  It actually is not the tallest Mountain in Switzerland, standing at 14,690 ft. Monte Rosa, located in the same Alp range stands at 15,203 ft.  Although,  for me, the Matterhorn is more of an impressive site.

Getting to the Matterhorn?

Yes, it is true.  No cars are allowed in Zermatt.  But no fear, a horse and buggy can pull you along. Or just hop on one of the small electric cars provided by the hotels and merchants.  Because cars are not allowed, your only option in is a train.  If you do decide to drive you will have to park your car in Taesch and take the train from there.

 

 

Once you arrive in Zermatt. I highly recommend taking the Gornergrat Bahn up to Gornergrat for the best views of the Matterhorn. It’s not cheap, 80 francs RT, but if you make it all the way to Zermatt, you have to go to the top.  Check out the Swiss tourism site for offers.
And while on top of the world (or Swiss Alps), why not enjoy a Swiss lunch on their patio.

 

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Zermatt for a few days, skiing is a must.  But most of all, just pray for blue skies, and your views will be spectacular.

JMT & Mt Whitney

About to embark on the JMT

The trek is underwayHiking the John Muir Trail has been high on the list for years. So when the opportunity arose, the planning began.  This trek is the result of months and months of planning.  Menus were made, exercise regimes executed, equipment accounted for, dymoxin taken, permits secured and tickets bookedThe guys have 211 miles (340 km) to hike from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney, hiking around 10,000 feet in altitude the whole wayWOW, that’s exhausting just thinking about it. I am so proud of Jay for executing his dreams. 

1st Ascent -hiking Mt Whitney

Before there was the JMT there was Mt Whitney. With the completion of the JMT, this will be Jays’s 3rd time summiting Mt. Whitney, which in itself isn’t an easy task. Hiking MT Whitney is so popular there is a lottery to get a permit.

2nd Ascent- J & I hiking Mt. Whitney (no making fun of the outfit, it was FREEZING)

The 2nd time around I got to join in with the guys on the hike.  For me, hiking Whitney was the most strenuous task I’ve ever completed. I’ve run marathons and still think the 22 mile hike, with an elevation gain of 6400 feet, has a marathon beat. I think our hike was especially hard because wanted to summit before the sunrise (which we did) but this meant we had to start hiking at midnight. That was crazy in itself!

I still can’t believe that when they complete over 200 miles hiking they will have to finish climbing Mt. Whitney at 14,497 ft  (highest point in the lower 48). But what a better way to finish such a feat, with a view like no other.  I am beyond excited to hear about their experience when they are finished. Good luck guys! 

Aletsch Glacier

Saturday we woke up early and headed to the largest Glacier in Switzerland, Aletsch Glacier, a UNESCO World site. We have wanted to go for awhile but the 2 hr+ drive kept us away. It was worth the drive though. A beautiful Glacier, very different than a lot of the  Mountains we have climbed.

We took 2 Gondolas to the top of the Mountain and made it just time before all the clouds rolled in.

 

I find it amazing that even when you are high above the clouds in the Swiss Alps you can always get some Rösti and Brautwurst.

 

I love this picture of my husband and his Mom

 

 

Sliding on down. Every mountain needs a slide and most of the mountains have them. We have found the Swiss mountains to be so kid friendly. Who would have thought you can ride up in a gondola and push a stroller on top of a mountain. Pretty awesome.
Trying to climb up the slide.

 

 And every mountain also needs a couch …….
For when you need to take a nap
Hiking along the trail

 

 Building some rock sculptures along the path
The kiddos
Off along the trail, hopefully we will get to show Grandma more of the Swiss Alps before she leaves.     

Samoens ski holiday

 

We rented a ski-chalet in Samoëns France with our friends for a week. We had 8 adults and 9 kids all together. It was a great holiday. Best of all we put the kids in ski-school for a whole week and they are skiing so well now.

The ski/snowboard group. They had 6 days of lessons and all really improved on their skills. A few days were sunshiny and beautiful but a few were super snowy, the kids were troopers.

Blue skies. That’s my kind of skiing, not a big fan of the stormy days. And Mom, No I did not ski with the baby attached to me…..I  know you are wondering.


All of my boys riding the chair lift up together.

 


Tanya, Megan and I getting ready for a fun day on the slopes together.

Jenna was such a good sport. She had never skied until this season. She enrolled herself in classes all week long and was an awesome skier by the end of the week. My favorite story was her ski instructor who carried a bottle of schnapps and offered it to the whole class. So funny!

Taking a break in the restaurant. The nice thing about being in France was the delicious pastries we could consume while skiing.

SURF snowboarding together and ski school for the little ones

 

After snowboarding in a CRAZY storm. We skied one day in a white-out. Jason and I were coming down a run and literally could not see anything!! It took forever to get down the mountain with the snow pelting us the whole way down. I am a fair weather skier for sure.

That’s Mont Blanc (15,781 ft) behind me. It was beautiful when the skies were clear to see it!

Getting ready to board together. We are so excited that this season we were able to venture off bunny hills with the boys. It’s fun being able to actually ski/board with them.

Some family time on the slopes.

Sattel-Hochstuckli

We spent a Saturday on the slopes with some friends the other week. It was foggy and gloomy at home but with a 45 min drive and gondola ride up the mountain, it was blue skies and beautiful.

Riding up the old school tow-rope.


All strapped on in warm clothes. She’s a really good sport.

 

Sattel-Hochstuckli is a great little family friendly ski hill. You can easily reach it from Zuerich and it does not ever to seem to be overly crowded.

I think this picture is so cool. You can see how the fog just settles in between the mountains. SO with a quick ride back down the gondola we are back in the fog. I know why everyone goes to the mountains on the weekends, to get a SUN fix.

Flumserberg

The boys had a day off last week so we hit the slopes. We are hoping this is the season the boys can be more independent and Jay and I can finally hit the slopes together. Yeah!!!

Riding the gondola up. The baby is such a great sport being hauled around in the cold.

Riding the magic carpet. The resort was pretty empty so we got it to ourselves.

Riding the gondola down. It really is beautiful. Below is a view from one of our summer trips to Flumserberg.

I really love that you can go up the mountain all year long and there are activities to do in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Switzerland is rather spectacular.

Hiking the Uetliberg

A few Saturdays ago we took a hike up the Uetliberg. You can see the entire city of Zürich from the top. It was a beautiful day and about a 5 mile hike althogether.

This tower is at top of the Uetliberg. We can see it from our house.

A view below……The city of Zürich.


Picnicking at top.

Enjoying the playground.

Zürich Lake

We could see our town from the top. This is smaller town near ours.

Jonah brought his homemade binoculars with him.

Daddy and Josie before our hike.