Hiking with kids: along the nature trail to the Grasburg ruin

Recently I´ve been given a task to come up with the destination of our traditional annual trip with our German class. After visiting the water park MooraculumSt. Beatus caves, taking a cruise on the Thun Lake and the Aare River, this years´ location should be Naturpark Gantrisch. And so I found a short loop trail with the ruins of Grasburg Castle on the trail. But it wouldn´t be me if I didn´t want to try it out. I certainly would not recommend something I have not tried myself, you know me!

Getting there

We started our trip at the Schwarzenburg train station (although we didn´t come here by train but by car). We left our car on a paid parking lot next to the station (a minimum rate of 4 hours for 4 francs). As we later found out, there is an unpaid parking lot Märitplatz (near the Coop supermarket), so next time we would leave the car here.

Trail

The yellow signpost at the station said it would be 35 minutes to the ruin. From the station, we headed for Bernstrasse to the right, and after about 400 meters we turned left to Wartgässli (or better to say we followed the other families that headed in the same direction 🙂 ).

At the “Wart” we joined a 2.6km long loop nature trail. The tarmac road was replaced by nature paths and the trail continued through the fields and pastures.

Look back at Naturpark Gantrisch

The boys have been looking for a ruin on a hill, but it is strangely located in the valley, unobtrusive and hidden among all the greenery.

To get to it, you have to get down the ravine first, and then climb the steep wooden stairs to the ruin.

Please, someone explain the sign with the wave :O

Grasburg Ruins

Before climbing the stairs, we learned from the information board that the original wooden castle was built on the promontory of the Sense river already at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries. It was then rebuilt to stone and gradually expanded. On the board you can see its shape in 1500 and the current state.

When you climb to the ruin, you will see that there is little to be seen from the towers, walls and other buildings, and the former form of the castle is hardly recognizable.

But you can explore the ruins as you please – there are even iron ladders ready for you.

But what caught me (and what we almost did not discover if it weren´t our inquisitive boys) was the remains of the castle palace. Accessing it is a bit of adrenaline, but the place has its magic.

Nature trail

After we ran down the stairs (it was easy) and scrambled up the ravine (worse), we rejoined the nature trail again. On the way, we passed several small tables with descriptions of local flora. Soon we went to the fireplace where we wanted to roast something for lunch. But! The site was reserved. So far I have no idea that you can make a reservation on  Brätlistelle! And so we did not disturb the family who had a picnic here, we just had a little snack, the kids tried the tasks from the nature trail and we continued on.

Schloss Schwarzenburg

When we came back to Schwarzenburg, our children didn´t yet show signs of fatigue, and so we went to explore the local manor house where the headquarters of Naturpark Gantrisch is located. Here we saw an exhibition of old photographs of the local photo studio, and then we hurried back to the car before the approaching storm. As soon as we were stacked in the car and slammed the door behind us, it started to rain.

Summary

The ruins of Grasburg Castle are particularly impressive due to its location in the wild greenery.

The length of the nature trail is 2.6km, the total length of our route from the station was a little over 5km. It is doable with a stroller, even if you have to leave it under the castle if you do not want to carry it up the steep stairs.

If you are with little children here, keep an eye on them. Climbing the stones can be dangerous, just like climbing the ladders.

I hope you enjoyed my tip for a trip to Naturpark Gantrisch.

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