Zugerberg, Zug's city mountain, offers plenty of leisure opportunities throughout the year. In Winter, thanks to its four hiking trails, 20+ km of cross-country ski trail, and sledding trail, the mountain becomes a perfect and easily accessible destination for spending a day outdoors. We were there on a sunny Saturday in January and here is our experience!
We love... Zugerberg!
Hike overview & map
Often we think that to enjoy magnificent views and wide panoramas it is necessary to go to the top of some high mountain. Fortunately this is not always true, because when a place has its own beauty, you don’t need to go too high to enjoy it. And this is certainly the case with Zugerberg. Zug’s local mountain is in fact just 925 m. high. But it offers magnificent views of the city, Lake Zug, and the Rigi and Pilatus mountains just in front of you. The view is undoubtedly a plus. But the mountain is also an easy-to-reach destination and, despite its small size, offers a variety of activities to put many other winter destinations to shame. In short, it’s well worth the visit, especially if, as for us, coming up here offers a way to escape a gray day in the city and catch up with some gorgeous sunshine just above the clouds.
The route we propose starts at the upper station of the Zugerberg Bahn (a funicular railway) and leads you back to the starting point, through forests and along viewpoints over the sea of fog and the lake. It is an easy walk of about 10.5 km, which can be covered in about three hours at a relaxed pace. The path is well marked all along the itinerary and for a large part develops along well-maintained snow-covered roads, so it is not necessary to wear snowshoes and it will be sufficient to wear good waterproof shoes for winter walking. However, in some places we found it useful to wear snow spikes to increase grip and decrease the risk of slipping. A little more caution is also required in the short stretch that leads along the forest, where the ground can be more slippery and uneven. All along the itinerary there are picnic areas with public barbecues, benches for relaxation, restaurants and toilets. On the official website you will find all the updated information on the operational status of the trails and facilities. It is also possible to access some webcams, for a better check of the weather conditions on the spot and of the snow conditions.
Arrival in Zugerberg
We reach Zugerberg after a trip on the funicular which takes only 8 minutes. On the way up, we leave behind us the deep clouds of the valley and, at the top, the warm rays of sunshine of a cold January day await us. No snowfall recently, unfortunately, and the snow at this altitude is not yet at its peak. Leaving the station, we follow a comfortable paved road to the left that leads to a small square. Our route mostly follows the official hiking trail number 2, but it deviates from it shortly after the start. From the square, we continue straight ahead in the direction of the Restaurant Vordergeissboden, visible from the distance. Near the restaurant there are a few parking spaces available for those who decide to drive up here by car. From the restaurant, the trail continues on a flat and well-maintained path. The snow is not so fresh and in some points almost completely gone but the shoes still have a good grip on the ground, so we continue without too much difficulty along the path until we reach a small wood on our left. About 800 meters later, we find a grill/picnic area with wood and a public toilet. Unfortunately we won’t find any other toilet on the way, except for the restaurant and the cable car station. The official trail number 2 continues slightly upwards and passes the picnic area. However, we decide to continue on the beaten path and to take the official trail a little further on through a shortcut. Then we continue for another 500 meters, where a bench in the sun invites us to a brief stop for our picnic lunch. Here, we eat our sandwiches and a few minutes later we continue our walk. 800 meters later we reach the shortcut that will take us back to the marked path. The shortcut is a comfortable, well-snowed and scenic road. This stretch, about 600 meters long on the flat, is actually part of the hiking trail 1, which is why it is well maintained as well as trail number 2. At the end of the trail, you will access the short section of the route that develops in the woods.
The forest path to Buschenchappeli
The forest path does not require any special equipment, but due to the uneven ground and the scarce and not recent snowfall we suggest to wear snow spikes for a better grip. If you don’t have a particularly stable footing, we also suggest using trekking poles. Once you reach the entrance of the path, you’ll have to turn right and start a short descent. If you plan to take a small break and have something to eat, turn left and go 150 meters further up you will find a table and benches. However, you will have to work a bit to free them from the thick layer of snow that is deposited on them. The stretch in the wood is about 400 meters long and, at the end, it will lead you back to a comfortable beaten path, where you will have to go right and continue the descent. Along this stretch of the trail the forest becomes thicker and, a couple of times, some snow suddenly falling from the trees at the edge of the road gave us quite a scare. However, it didn’t hit us! 😉
600 meters further on we finally come out of the woods. The sun is high and warm, so we decide to change the official route by continuing on the path more exposed to the sun that in about 1 km takes us to Buschenchappeli, a small and characteristic chapel along the roadside. From here, you can enjoy a splendid view of the valley below, of Lake Zug and of Mount Rigi, right in front of you. However, we had to be satisfied with an equally fascinating view of the sea of fog.
On the way back: from Buschenchappeli to Zugerberg
Buschenchappeli can be reached by car by the guests of the Restaurant Pfaffenboden, where we also decided to stop for our usual afternoon snack. The restaurant has a small interior room and seating on the terrace. A few seats on the terrace are covered by a tent and heated. We chose to order a coffee and an excellent slice of peaches cake, just what we needed to recover the energy required for the return trip.
After our snack we resumed our journey. We are in fact just halfway through our journey and there are still about 5 km of walking to return to the funicular station.
The first part of the path is on a carriageable road used mostly by the guests of the restaurant Pfaffenboden, so be careful. You will leave this road after about 1 km. From here you will continue along what is probably the most scenic part of the entire route, as it is most exposed towards Lake Zug. The sea of fog keeps us company for almost the entire walk from Buschenchappeli to Zugerberg and more than once invites us to make short contemplative stops on benches that, we bet, are not there by chance! You’ll find many of them all along the way and you, too, won’t be able to resist the temptation of a quick relaxation break. And about two kilometers later, you’ll find a little gem: the panoramic terrace in front of the Montana Institute. From here you can really admire a fantastic panorama and catch your breath, just before returning to the funicular station only 300 meters further on.
Arriving by public transport
Zugerberg is easily accessible by public transport and, as always, this is the solution that we recommend. Once you’ve reached the train station in Zug, you’ll have to go to the Metalli/Bahnhof bus stop and take the bus 11, which, in about 10 minutes, will take you to the Schönegg funicular station. From here, trains leave for the mountain about every 15 minutes on busy days. The journey by funicular takes just eight minutes.
The Schönegg funicular is part of the national transport network and benefits are available to owners of a GA or half-price travelcard, youth, children’s or other tickets. Tickets can be purchased through the SBB website or through the SBB app and, as always, we suggest to check in advance the updated timetables and the different travel options.
Arriving by car
Zugerberg is accessible by car following the highway network towards “Zug/Baar”. Arriving in Zug, turn left at the Casino towards “Schönegg / Zugerbergbahn” and drive to the Schönegg cable car station. Here, parking spaces are very limited. We therefore recommend that you leave your car at the “Casino” multilevel parking lot and then take the bus 11 to the Schönegg cable car station.
It is also possible to reach Zugerberg directly by car without using the funicular, but this solution is not recommended because of the limited availability of parking spaces on the mountain.
The “Altstadt Casino” parking lot is subject to a fee: the current cost is CHF 1.50 per hour up to four hours. After that, each additional hour costs CHF 2 up to a maximum of 8 hours. At this link you can find all information about the city’s parking facilities, including the Altstadt Casino.
During the Advent season, Zugerberg is home to the Lichtweg Zugerberg, a short and charming light trail of just 1.2 km that leads from the funicular station to the Zugiblubbi house, which houses the crib. The path is intended as an invitation to hope and positive thinking in preparation for Christmas and the arrival of a new year. However, apart from the philosophical aspect, it is certainly worth a visit! So take note for next December!
Zugerberg offers many opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts. For example, the snowshoeing trail looks really interesting and we would have loved to walk it. Maybe next time!
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