This past weekend we ventured out to Zugerberg to do the “Zugiblubbi Erlebnisweg” as suggested by Swiss Family Fun. It was a great family outing and I can highly recommend it. Our kids are 5, 4 and 1.5 and they all loved it. There’s lots of great information about it on the Swiss Family Fun blog so I encourage you to check that out, but here are some additional points that might be useful:
The connection between the train from Zurich HB and Bus 11 that brings you up to Schönegg is a fairly tight one. We had 3 kids 5 and under and made it just in time without running or leaving anyone behind. Bus 11 takes you up to Schönegg where there is a funicular to take you to the top of Zugerberg.
When we were there the funicular wasn’t running due to some maintenance and there was a shuttle bus instead. This particular closure ends April 16, 2021, but there is already another one listed for July so it’s worth checking out their website ahead of time. The bus that replaced the funicular was a 17 passenger van that would have had space for one stroller, possibly a few if they were folded. Since the bus does not run frequently (every half hour normally, but only once per hour during the maintenance phase) you want to make sure you don’t miss it.
Note: If you’ve missed the connection to Bus 11 and know you will miss the funicular up the hill to Zugerberg it’s more pleasant to spend that extra hour down in Zug than at the Schönegg stop which is basically a roundabout for the bus and a small kiosk. You could also derail completely and walk along the water in Zug which is lovely. We spent some time here after our hike. There’s an aviary by the water with snow owls, parrots, and guinea pigs which my kids loved. The Old Town is also lovely, so it’s definitely not a bad way to spend the day.
There are two restaurants on Zugerberg along this walk – the Restaurant Zugerberg and Restaurant Hintergeissboden. The second one is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but when we went (April, 2021) both were closed because of Corona. It looked like they might have take-away options some days, but this can of course change depending on new regulations. I would definitely recommend you bring some food just in case. Snacks are always a good idea with kids anyway, but if you’re like me you don’t bring food for yourself and for a longer outing like this you definitely want to bring enough for everyone! There are lots of great places to set up a picnic and there are several fire pits along the way that you can use to grill your lunch. They even had sheltered piles of wood you could use.
The brochure we got at the beginning of the path said to allow 2 hours for the loop. I’m not sure who tested it, but it took us about 5 hours from getting off the bus at the top of Zugerberg to getting back to the bus stop and ready to head back down the mountain. Of course we stopped at each station and played, climbed, and had snacks, but we didn’t spend a huge amount of time at any of the stops.
At the funicular station at the top of Zugerberg you’ll find the flyers with the map and the Gem puzzle on it as well as some small pencils. They’re around the corner towards the restrooms, by some other flyers about the area. If there are none left or you can’t find it, lose it, etc, you can download it here on their website.
You follow the signs and the map up to the first station where the story begins. The story of Zugiblubbi and the cave dwarves is told on a series of boards along the path. It is written in German as well as English. There is also a QR code on the flyer where you can listen to the story in Swiss German.
There are several stations first that tell the background story of how the gems ended up on this mountain. Then there is a nice big playground with a zip line, see-saw, swings, and picnic tables. The dwarves from the story are also hidden on the playground – see how many you can find! After the playground the trail continues and the real gem-hunt begins.
One thing to note right away (we caught this just in time) is that the station numbers do not necessarily correspond with the letter. So for example, the letter found at station #1 goes into space #8 on your puzzle. It’ll always say where it goes right next to the letter, but it’s just good to know going in! The solution is a German word, but that won’t make it any less fun to solve, I promise.
Wurzelpfad/ Root Path
After station 7 there is the option to do the “Wurzelpfad” – “Root Path” – or to continue around on a stroller-friendly path. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to bring a stroller I would suggest leaving it at home and bringing a carrier instead. The shuttle bus was a lot easier without a stroller and I’m glad we didn’t have to miss out on this adventure (and, according to the flyer, add another 30 minutes on for the stroller-friendly detour). The path is full of tree roots so you do have to watch your step. There’s a spot with tree trunks that have different animals inside (not real) that are right at kid-level. From there you go over a turnstile (meant to keep cows in, I think, though we didn’t see any) to enter a field and head towards a big barn. The side of the barn has flaps where you can guess whose tracks they are and find the answer underneath. This was especially fun for us because there was still snow in some places on the mountain and we had seen several different tracks in the snow as we walked along. The view from here is amazing too, on a clear day.
The last station is Zugiblubbi’s house, which is a cute crooked little playhouse with fun things inside for the kids to admire.
The end of the loop brings you back past the big playground from the beginning and then down the same path you started on. At the bottom there is a little house-shaped mailbox in which you can drop your filled-out flyer. If you put your name and address on it you are automatically entered to win a prize that they draw regularly. I was hoping Zugiblubbi might also write back to the kids, but I’ll let you know if that happens…