When I posted photos of our family hike between Klingenstock and Fronalpstock on my private Facebook and Instagram, I got reactions like: “One of my favorite trails” or “a trail you should definitely do when you’re in Switzerland” and so on. And why does everyone only mention this route in superlatives? Find out in this article.
Stoos is a picturesque car-free mountain village located in the canton of Schwyz in central Switzerland, which is reached by the steepest funicular in the world. Its station is about 50 minutes by car from Zurich, 45 minutes from Lucerne, or 1 hour 45 minutes from Bern. Directly at the funicular station, you will find a paid parking lot and a parking house where you can reserve a spot in advance. Once you enter your vehicle’s license plate number online and pay, there is virtually nothing else to do but arrive at the location at the time slot of your choice. At the entrance, you don’t have to worry about anything, the system recognizes your license plate number and the barrier lets you into the parking house.
If the parking house is still full, continue in the direction of Muotathal to parking lot P + R. From here, buses provide a shuttle service to the cable car station.
By public transport: take the train to Schwyz, from here a bus (line 1) goes directly to the cable car station (Stoosbahn stop).
Before you go
Even though the Gratwanderweg is only 4.5 kilometers long, it is quite a challenging alpine route with lots of climbs and descents and lots of steps. Take care of your own safety – good hiking equipment and well-soled shoes are strongly recommended. Although there are several picnic spots along the trail, there are no fire pits and no litter bins, so don’t build a fire and take your litter with you.
Also, be sure to take into account the operating hours of the cable cars. The cable car to Fronalpstock usually runs longer than the cable car to Klingenstock, so ideally take the hike in the direction described here: Klingenstock-Fronalpstock, not the other way around.
As I mentioned, the ridge trail that connects Klingenstock and Fronalpstock is 4.5 kilometers long. On the map below it is marked with the number 83 and marked in green.
Riding the world’ steepest funicular
The funicular to the mountain village of Stoos, which has a permanent population of around 150, was built in 2012 about 400 meters away from the original route. There are three tunnels with a total length of 578 meters and two bridges with a length of 261 meters on the cable car route with a maximum inclination of 110% (47.7º), a world record. Also unique are the cabins themselves, which are four circular cabins that are hydraulically tilted during the ride so that their floors are always horizontal.
You’ll need the “Stoos Peak Experience Ticket” which includes a return trip on the funicular to the Stoos village and the two chair lifts. Adults full fare cost 48 CHF, 38 CHF with a Half-fare card, children 6-15 pay 20 CHF, children under 6 ride free. Kids also ride free with the SBB Junior card.
The summer season in Stoos usually lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October. The website says that the cable car runs every 30 minutes from 7:05 to 19:40, longer on Fridays and Saturdays. However, we visited Stoos in early October on a Friday morning and the cable car ran about every 10 minutes. The Klingenstock cable car only operates in good weather. If it is in operation, it runs continuously from 9:00 to 16:00, the Fronalpstock cable car sometimes later until 17:30 (just when the Klingenstock cable car is also in operation). Until 23 October 2021, the Fronalpstock cable car is open until 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Check the website for current prices and opening times, which you should be sure to check before your trip.
Getting to the chairlift and riding to Klingenstock
On arrival in Stoos, it is only about a 10-minute walk to the lower station of the Klingenstock cable car (head left in the direction of the brown arrow marked Sesselbahn Klingenstock, Talstation. On the way, you might stop at the Berghotel Restaurant Stoos Hüttä and the children’s playground nearby.
Hiking from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock
A six-seater chairlift takes you to the top of Klingenstock (the ride takes about 15 minutes). Once you’ve enjoyed the beautiful views, head right in the direction of Fronalpstock. The signpost shows that you will be there in 2 hours 10 minutes.
Although the trail is well built and not too narrow at first, still watch your step.
I know that the photos may seem one like the other, but you can’t stop admiring the beauty at every turn 🙂 Also, notice that there are chain rails in the more dangerous sections just in case.
After about two-thirds of the way, the Furggeli signpost is the start of the short final zig-zag ascent to the highest restaurant in the canton of Schwyz at the top of Fronalpstock. You might get a bit out of breath on this section, so don’t be afraid to stop along the way, take a breather and recharge your batteries by looking at the surroundings 🙂 Believe me, the reward for the effort is definitely worth it.
After a steep climb, the trail joins the easy panoramic trail at the top (see article below).
The hike ends at the Fronalpstock chairlift, where you will find an observation deck, a children’s playground, and the aforementioned restaurant. From the viewing platform, you have a wonderful view of the bays of Lake Lucerne. You can see both Mythen peaks, the Glärnisch massif and the “home” mountains of Lucerne – Rigi and Pilatus. Equally impressive is the view down to the Rütli meadow and the Reuss valley in Uri and on to Lucerne.
Riding two chairlifts from Fronalpstock to Stoos
If you’re not tired yet, you can walk back to Stoos from Fronalpstock, but we opted for the comfortable chairlift ride. You can take it two ways back to Stoos from the lower cable car station – either through the village or past the small church. Both ways take about 10 minutes.
- The trail is 4.5 kilometres long and definitely not suitable for strollers.
- The route is more suitable for older children with hiking experience.
- If you are looking for an easier hike in the area, you can take the chairlift to Fronalpstock and do the easy panoramic trail at the top (see below).