During our autumn roadtrip in Switzerland this year, we decided to come to Stoos to do a “classic” hike in the area. After passing by Lauterbrunnen and the Brienzer Rothorn, we came to Stoos and the Klingenstock-Fronalpstock for a day.
Very well known by the Swiss Germans, the hike of the Klingenstock to Fronalpstock remains relatively unknown to the French speaking people… Stoos is a small resort located in the canton of Schwyz. Nestled at an altitude of 1300m, the village is 100% car-free and is known for its breathtaking view of the Lake of the 4 Cantons from the ridges above.
Come on, a little preview of what awaits you later in this article:
How to get to Stoos
It is therefore impossible to come to the small resort of Stoos by car… To get to the village there are roughly 3 options:
- The “Stoosbahn” – the steepest funicular in the world!
- The cable car from Morschach
- Hike up to Stoos! Routes are possible from the 2 parking lots (Morschach and Stoosbahn). Note however that this will add between 500 and 800m of extra elevation gain to your hike 😉
Note : you will find all the prices of the lifts at the end of the article
If you read us from time to time, you probably know that as a rule we often opt for the cheapest option, that is to say the strength of our legs 😉 However, on this day we made a small exception… The first reason was that our itinerary seemed to us to be quite long enough, but moreover we had planned to drive 2h30 after the walk to come back to Valais and admire the Aletsch glacier the next day. The second reason? Well, it’s not every day that we have the opportunity to take the steepest funicular in the world… 😉
The funicular of Stoos: the steepest in the world!
The funicular of Stoos is one of these technological UFOs… In fact this funicular has a really original shape, the different “cabins” are 4 in number and have a perfectly round shape. The idea being that the “ball” turns as the slope increases, allowing the passengers to always remain perfectly level and not to feel the slope.
But I believe that images speak louder than words… if you have trouble imagining what I’m trying to tell you, I’ll let you watch the video published by the National Geographic UK (at minute 1:34 there is a schematic representation that explains the concept well):
Opened in 2017, the Stoos funicular has the distinction of being the steepest publicly accessible funicular in the world. At its steepest, the slope is 110% and it is quite well done because when you are inside there is a kind of level indicated on the glass that allows you to realize the inclination… Because no, once inside we don’t have the sensation of slope at all, it’s actually quite crazy! The trip only lasts 4 minutes, but it allows to save 750m of difference in altitude (yes ok, to spend 11 or 22 CHF too… depending on if you have the half-fare or not). After, we admit that we found that it was a great experience and we don’t regret the trip at all!
Bonus: if you have a few minutes to wait, the little lake at the bottom of the funicular is quite photogenic in the early morning 😉
Are you planning to visit Switzerland by train? We recommend you to read our article which will allow you to compare the Swiss travel pass with the half-fare card. The article also includes 3 examples of train routes through Switzerland and the associated budget depending on the ticket you take.
If you prefer not to take a travel pass, but rather take advantage of the Supersaver tickets and day passes, then go to this post for all the details.
From Stoos to the Klingenstock
From Stoos, the most common option for hikers is to take the Klingenstock chairlift to go directly to the ridge path. You will see it further down in the article, but this option is quite expensive… And well, for us who like to walk, this option was never really considered. So instead of taking the chairlift, we went on foot.
The ascent does not present any difficulty. On the first 3 kilometers the slope is relatively soft and we alternate between paths and agricultural tracks. During the whole ascent we enjoy a magnificent view of the Mythen which are right in front of us! The last kilometer and a half is the most difficult, but again, no worries… the path is well marked and without technical parts.
We arrive on the ridge just before the arrival of the chairlift. From this place we already have a breathtaking view on the Alps, but we just don’t see yet the lake of the 4 cantons 😉
Once at the arrival of the chairlift, we arrive on the most panoramic part of the hike, but also the most frequented. The vast majority of hikers opt for the chairlift combination… So don’t be surprised to find yourself suddenly with many more people around you than during the ascent.
Stoos ridges: from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock
Very sincerely… I can’t think of a more scenic and accessible trail than this one! The view from this route is simply AMAZING!
The lake of the 4 cantons has a really original shape with its numerous arms going in all directions. We had already enjoyed nice views on this lake from the summits of Mount Rigi or Pilatus, and you should know that the Klingenstock to Fronalpstock section seriously competes with the above mentioned views… Judge for yourself:
As far as the difference in altitude is concerned, the ridge section is really very pleasant! There are 400m of + and -, but sincerely, on the vast majority of the route you almost don’t feel it (the ascents and descents alternate very often and well… the panorama helps to forget the small effort).
After that I will warn you that there is a little “trick” on the ridge path. At 2km from the Fronalpstock, the path “plunges” 150m to go up on the other side. I admit, we did not find it particularly spectacular, but many people around us did not seem particularly prepared for this final climb. We laughed by listening to certain conversations couples around us were having.
“You told me it would be FLAT?!?!”
Never again do I trust you on a route
I admit we laughed because clearly these are phrases that I have already used with Benoit haha. Not here, not for “so little”, but clearly it rang a bell! 🙂
From Fronalpstock to Stoos
When we arrived at the Fronalpstock, we didn’t stick around for too long… There were a lot of people! In fact, the Fronalpstock is also a very appreciated and popular viewpoint because it is accessible without having to walk. In short, there are hikers, but also many visitors who come to have a drink and enjoy the view. After the crazy panorama of the hike, we didn’t really feel the need to linger.
For the descent, we could have chosen the chairlift option again, but no 😉 Walking never bothered us and let’s be honest, we have never put Winchy (the dog) on a chairlift before and we are only moderately convinced that he would enjoy the experience. After that, we have to say that the descent is really easy! The path is quite wide, the slope is relatively gentle and well… the view is not bad either!
It took us about 1h30 to get back to the Stoos funicular and complete the loop. A great day that we won’t forget!
Information for the hike from Stoos
Map and practical information
- Distance: 13,5 km
- Elevation change: about 1000m (+ and -)
- Hiking time: it took us about 5 hours, taking our time
- Alternative: The distance and the altitude difference can be reduced considerably by taking the chairlifts. If you only do the Klingenstock-Fronalpstock section, the hike is 4.5 km long with about 400 m of ascent (+ and -)
Map of the hike Klingenstock – Fronalpstock from Stoos:
Ticket prices (funiculars and chairlifts (optional))
As we said at the beginning of the article, it would be (in the absolute) possible to do without the lifts by walking from the parking lot, but this would add 10km and 700m of ascent from the Stoosbahn parking lot or 9km and 500m of ascent from the Morschach parking lot.
To get to Stoos, the fare is the same whether you take the gondola or the Stoosbahn, i.e. CHF 22 per person for the full fare, CHF 11 with the half-fare card (free with the general abonment or the Swiss Travel Pass (a pass for foreign tourists)).
Personally, we recommend the Stoosbahn if you have never taken it before… It’s probably a bit more crowded, but it’s really nice!
Once in Stoos, you can take the chairlifts. The one-way ticket for each chairlift costs 19 CHF at full price. But if you plan to do the whole thing with the lifts, it is better to take the “Gipfelerlebnis-Ticket”. This ticket costs CHF 50 at full price, CHF 40 at half price or CHF 29 with the GA or Swiss Travel pass and includes the ride to Stoos (Stoosbahn or gondola) as well as the chairlifts at the top (unlimited). Tickets can be bought at the ticket office directly on site, no need to book in advance.
If you have a dog, you will need to buy a “dog ticket” which is sold for 5 CHF per day and gives access to all the transport in the region for the day.
When to hike the Fronalpstock?
The hike is basically accessible as long as there is no snow (roughly from the end of June to October, can vary depending on the year). If, like us, you want to do the whole loop on foot, then the weather will be your only constraint (the funicular runs all year round). On the other hand, if you want to shorten the loop and use the chairlifts, you have to check the opening on the official website here. Roughly speaking, the lifts run during the summer and early fall season. From the end of October, the service is reduced to weekends (Fronalpstock) or stopped (Klingenstock).
Otherwise, in general, we strongly advise you to avoid the weekend to do this hike if you come during the opening period of the chairlifts. This itinerary is not very well known in the French speaking part of Switzerland, but it is very famous on the other side of the Sarine river, and believe me: there are a lot of people! Afterwards, we understand why… but don’t expect to be alone up there if you come during the opening period of the chairlifts 😉
That’s it for today. I hope this article has helped you to prepare your hike. Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment if you have any remarks or questions. See you soon!
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