Engelberg is one of the most underrated regions in Switzerland. I visited this region twice and had an awesome experience on both occasions, especially without the crowds and hype of Zermatt or Grindelwald. Throughout my time hiking in Engelberg, I experienced some beautiful trails and I’ve put together this Engelberg Hiking Guide so that you can choose a hike or two (or five) for your visit to Engelberg. I’m sure you will find a great adventure on this list of my five favorite hikes in Engelberg.
5 AWESOME HIKES IN ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
In this blog post, you will find a description of each of the hikes in Engelberg and some photos I took as well as a link to the individual blog post I wrote about every hike I did near Engelberg. You can click on that link for a more detailed review of the hike including maps, starting points, how to get there, photos, directions, difficulty, and a short story about my experience on that Engelberg hike.
THE FOUR LAKES HIKE IN ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
The Four Lakes hike in Engelberg takes you on a high-altitude mountain trail as you visit four lakes on this stunning one-way hike. The trail can be walked in either direction with endpoints being Truebsee Lake and Melchsee Lake. There is also an optional (very epic) sunset viewpoint on this trail we visited by accident.
This beautiful hiking trail near Engelberg leads you through a valley of lakes, farmhouses, and thriving cow populations before finishing at one of the most spectacular viewpoints in Engelberg. We finished at the viewpoint with a great sunset while overlooking Titlis Mountain.
- Hike Distance: 16.95km total distance from Melchsee to Truebsee (including a slight detour up towards Schafberg).
- Hike Duration: 6 hours of elapsed time for us from Melchsee to Truebsee and 4 hours and 15 minutes of total moving time.
- Hike Difficulty: The trail from Melchsee to Truebsee is relatively easy. There is nothing technical along the way and you almost always have a path, albeit a dirt trail. There is minimal rock scrambling but it does get steep if you add in the viewpoint close to Schafberggraus. Most of the way is a dirt path although there are some sections that are a mixture of rock and path. Most families will easily navigate their way to Truebsee from Melchsee despite the length of the journey.
- Hike Incline: Total elevation was 1242m from Melchsee to Truebsee as we recorded. The hike starts in Melchsee at 1,891 meters of altitude and finishes at the Truebsee, which has an altitude of 1,764 meters.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE FOUR LAKES HIKE IN ENGELBERG
‘RUGGHUBELHUTTE’ MOUNTAIN HUT HIKE IN ENGELBERG
The hike to and from Rugghubelhutte is an adventure but dropping your bag down, enjoying a good meal in the mountains, and witnessing sunrise and sunset from the patio of the mountain hut is an experience I will never forget. I hiked up from Engelberg and was gifted an incredible, fiery red sunset, and then after a great dinner and night of rest, the sunset produced another glowing display in the sky.
The trail winds up along the hills from Engelberg before merging into the mountains where you will forge your way towards the Rugghubelhutte, which is the mountain hut where you can stay the night and eat dinner and breakfast. The next day you can return down the mountain or venture over the ridge to Bannalpsee or other peaks in the region.
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike depends on, which route you choose. I’ve listed the three most popular options below. Note that you will need a cable car to get to Ristis and Bannalpsee but not from Engelberg. I chose to hike up from Engelberg and then on the way down I went up to Rotgratli and continued on down to Bannalpsee, effectively seeing all the spots on the route (except Engelberger Rostock summit).
- Engelberg to Rugghubelhutte: 10km
- Ristis to Rughubelhutte: 6km
- Bannalpsee to Rughubelhutte: 10km
- Hike Duration: Again it depends on where you start from. My journey from Engelberg to Rugghubelhutte took 3 hours at a medium pace. The journey -through knee-deep snow- back to Bannalpsee took 3.5 hours but would be much, much quicker on a dry day.
- Hike Difficulty: In the summer the hike difficulty is quite low. On the way up there are no exposed sections. The incline is quite a bit from Engelberg with 1200m of ascent to contend with but other than that a lot of the trail is actually a road so I would put this one at a low difficulty level.
- Hike Incline: The total incline for the hike from Engelberg to Rugghubelhutte was 1,320m and elevation up to Rotgratli and down to Bannalpsee was 450m of climbing.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: ‘RUGGHUBELHUTTE’ MOUNTAIN HUT HIKE IN ENGELBERG
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WALENPFAD HIKE IN ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
The Walenpfad hike in Engelberg starts off with a bang by circling Lake Harzli before pushing you into a steep ascent to overlook the lake. The trail then has a beautiful downhill segment towards Engelberg before rounding to the corner, through the forest, as you make your way to the finish point, the Brunnihutte. It’s a great hike for a slow-paced adventure to take in multiple vistas in the Engelberg region.
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike was 10.6km starting at the Bannalpsee Lake and finishing at the Brunnihutte. However, we hiked down from the Brunnihutte as we stayed for sunset so the cable cars had definitely finished by then. That meant our total hike from Bannalpsee to Brunnihutte to Engelberg Town was 16.3km.
- Hike Duration: Our total elapsed time from Bannalpsee to Engelberg Town was 5 hours and 41 minutes but the total moving time was only 3 hours and 41 minutes. We take lots of photos and stop to take in the scenery often.
- Hike Difficulty: The Walenpfad hike is one of the easier hikes we’ve done out here in Switzerland. There were some moments of incline but the trail itself was always quite safe and there was no scrambling or rock bouldering necessary. This is a good hike for anyone who can handle the distance. I could imagine families, young children and dogs managing this hike fine especially with the cable car down from Brunnihutte.
- Hike Incline: Total elevation from Bannalpsee to Brunnihute was 834m. We also grabbed about a kilometer of decline as well, which is often just as hard!
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: WALENPFAD HIKE IN ENGELBERG
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
EPIC VIA FERRATA AT FÜRENALP IN ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
Hiking in Switzerland is an incredible experience with some of the most amazing mountain views and summits in the world. However, you can take it to the next level and actually get off the hiking trail and climb directly up the mountain face on a ladder. It’s called Via Ferrata and you are clipped into a wire so it’s totally safe but also an adrenaline rush as you scale hundreds of meters up the rock face.
The Via Ferrata in Fürenalp, Engelberg is known as one of the best routes in the country. It’s challenging but such an adventure!
- Hike Distance: The total hike distance was 6.54 kilometers, which includes the 1km walk from the shop/ticket office to the start of the Via Ferrata. Not sure how accurate that was considering the ups and downs but that is how my Garmin watch recorded the day.
- Hike Duration: Our total time from the shop to the wall to the summit was 4 hours and 12 minutes. Our total moving time was 2 hours and 17 minutes. We let a lot of other climbers pass us and went very slowly as always to take photos and just sit around and enjoy the views. It’s not the kind of activity to rush. It could be easily done from top to bottom in under two hours. You do need to catch the cable car down at the top or hike down, which adds a little extra time also.
- Hike Difficulty: This route is rated K4 difficulty. I haven’t done too many Via Ferrata’s in Switzerland but I was told this is one of the more challenging ones out there. It was actually my first time ever and was a pretty simple concept of clicking in and out so don’t worry if you have little to no experience. We climbed 773 meters of an incline in total and a lot of it was ladders and metal pegs out of the wall.
- Hike Incline: The total incline for the day was 773m from the shop to Fürenalp. The hike starts in at the ticket-shop/Fürenalp cable car office and finished at an altitude of 1811m.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: EPIC VIA FERRATA AT FÜRENALP IN ENGELBERG
THE AA GORGE TRAIL – BEAUTIFUL FOREST WALK IN ENGELBERG
The Aa Gorge Trail (Aaschlucht) is a mystical trail that leads you through a dense forest. 10+ bridge crossings over the river make it an exciting journey! The trail begins in the heart of Engelberg, arching around the lake before descending into the forest. From there you follow the trail alongside the river, making a number of crossings back and forth until the trail emerges from the forest.
I loved the mossy tree trunks, the smell of the forest, and the beautiful waterfalls and rockpools on this trail. Watch out for the tree tunnel as well!
- Hike Distance: The total distance of the Aa Gorge Trail is 8.9 kilometers from Engelberg Train Station to Grafenort Train Station.
- Hike Duration: The hike should take about two hours.
- Hike Difficulty: Difficulty is very low. Suitable for children, families, and dogs. It can be a bit slippery but other than that there are no dangers. Some parts of the trail are exposed down to the river but the path is wide and relatively flat.
- Hike Incline: The trail has 435 meters of incline if you begin at Grafenort and finish at Engelberg. In reverse, you only have 9 meters of incline if you start at Engelberg and it is mostly a downhill walk.
Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE AA GORGE TRAIL – BEAUTIFUL FOREST WALK IN ENGELBERG
I hope you enjoyed that list of epic hikes in Engelberg in my Engelberg Hiking Guide. If there are any hikes in Engelberg you think I need to check out on my next visit, please comment on them below!
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
Engelberg is a popular resort town in the heart of Switzerland known for its picturesque landscapes, winter sports, and unique mountain experiences. If you’re planning to visit or just curious about the area, here are some essential things to know about Engelberg:
- Location: Engelberg is situated in the canton of Obwalden in central Switzerland. It’s nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, with the most prominent being Mount Titlis.
- Mount Titlis: This is one of the main attractions in Engelberg. It’s one of the few places in Switzerland where you can experience snow year-round. The rotating Titlis Rotair gondola takes you to the top, where you can enjoy panoramic views, visit the glacier cave, or walk over the Titlis Cliff Walk, Europe’s highest suspension bridge.
- Winter Sports: Engelberg is a hotspot for winter sports, especially skiing and snowboarding. The ski season often lasts longer than other places due to its high-altitude ski areas.
- Hiking and Summer Activities: In the warmer months, Engelberg transforms into a hiking paradise with numerous trails for all skill levels. There are also mountain biking, paragliding, and golfing opportunities.
- Benedictine Monastery: Engelberg is home to a Benedictine Monastery, which gave the town its name (Engelberg means “Mountain of Angels”). The monastery was founded in 1120 and still operates today with monks living and working there.
- Music: Engelberg hosts several music events throughout the year. The most notable is the Engelberg Music Festival which attracts musicians from all over the world.
- Culture and Traditions: The town prides itself on its rich traditions. Events like the yearly cattle descent in autumn, where decorated cows are paraded through town, offer visitors a glimpse into local customs.
- Cheese: Engelberg is known for its Swiss cheese. You can visit local dairies to see the cheese-making process and, of course, taste some fresh Alpine cheese.
- Accessibility: Engelberg is easily accessible by train from major cities like Lucerne. The scenic journey itself is a highlight, passing through beautiful landscapes and tunnels.
- Accommodation and Dining: Engelberg offers a range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Dining options are diverse, with restaurants serving traditional Swiss dishes as well as international cuisine.
- Nearby Attractions: Engelberg is close to several other Swiss attractions. For example, the city of Lucerne and its lake are a short train ride away, making them an excellent option for day trips.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS or HALF-FARE CARD
OPTION 1: Buy the Swiss Half Fare Card: Switzerland trains, buses, and cable cars are EXPENSIVE! I found the best way to get around cheaply was to buy the Swiss Half-Fare Card before I arrived. It gives you 50% off every regular train, bus, and even many cable cars. It only costs $150 USD but pays itself off in just a few days with many train tickets in Switzerland costing close to $100 alone. If you are staying for more than 5 days, I suggest buying the Swiss Half-Fare Card.
OPTION 2: Buy the Swiss Travel Pass: The second option is to get the Swiss Travel Pass, which gives you unlimited train, bus, and (many) cable car rides but it’s pretty expensive at around $100 USD per day so if you don’t travel each day it isn’t worth it.
OPTION 3: Buy the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass: The final (BEST) option is to get the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass, which allows you to buy 8 days’ worth of transit but you can choose the night before if you want to activate the next day. That way you don’t need to travel every day to get your money’s worth, you can just activate the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass on the days when you are doing sizeable transits. My advice is to book the Swiss Half-Fare Card or the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass in advance before your trip so it’s ready to go when you arrive.
MY SWITZERLAND HIKING GUIDES
I spent 100 days hiking in Switzerland and created a guide for different regions around the country. You can click on one of my Switzerland hiking guides below to help you plan your trip.
- The Complete Guide: 50 AWESOME HIKES IN IN SWITZERLAND
- The Via Ferrata Guide: 4 EPIC SWITZERLAND VIA FERRATA COURSES
- Lauterbrunnen Guide: 10 AWESOME HIKES NEAR LAUTERBRUNNEN
- Interlaken Guide: 15 AWESOME HIKES IN INTERLAKEN
- Grindelwald Guide: 12 AWESOME HIKES NEAR GRINDELWALD:
- Mürren Guide: 7 AWESOME HIKES IN MURREN
- Appenzell Guide: 9 AWESOME HIKES NEAR APPENZELL
- Chur Guide: 7 AWESOME HIKES NEAR CHUR