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Engelberg Summer Adventure of the Week – The Buiräbähnli Safari – May 22, 2024

Green farmer gondola at the top station on a sunny day.

This week’s adventure is so uniquely Swiss and so uniquely epic, we couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you. Switzerland is absolutely covered in farmland, and the farms are not isolated to the lowlands. It’s pretty normal to encounter a herd of cattle or sheep roaming around on your high altitude adventure here. So how do these farmers access their land and bring necessary supplies? Gondolas! Here, the farmer gondolas are known as the Buiräbähnli, and there are 26 of them just in our little region. 

Farmer standing and smiling wiith a gondola in the background on a sunny day.

The Buiräbähnli Safari

The Buiräbähnli Safari is a journey around the Engelberg Valley using a network of small, privately operated cable cars. Covering 46 kilometers and around 3700 meters in altitude, the Buiräbähnli Safari is perfect for a long weekend expedition. This demanding multi-day hike totals 12.5 hours of walking time and truly takes you off the beaten track!

A map of the trail we are outlining on this blog.

Day 1:

  • Engelberg to Eggendössli: Starting from Engelberg, hike via Zingel and Lutersee lake to Eggendössli.
  • Rugisbalm Cableway: Descend to Mettlen (Grafenort).
  • Engelberg’s Aa River: Follow the river to Bielenbahn valley station, then take the cableway up to Bielen Alp.
  • Descent to Diegisbalm: Gentle descent to Diegisbalm, then take the cableway down to Wolfenschiessen.
  • To Brändlen: Walk through Wolfenschiessen to Brändlen valley station, then a short walk to your first night’s stay at Berghof Brändlen.
The Brändlen cablecar with mountains in the background on a sunny day.

Day 2:

  • Schmiedsboden to Oberrickenbach: Continue hiking, then descend by cableway.
  • Fell to Sinsgäu: Take the cableway from Fell to Sinsgäu, then hike to Bannalp.
  • Walenpfad to Alp Oberfeld: Follow the Walen Trail to Alp Oberfeld for your second overnight stay.

Day 3:

  • Walen Trail to Brunni: Continue on the Walen Trail to Brunni mountain hut.
  • Return to Engelberg: Walk down to Oberbord for the last farmers’ cableway or take the chairlift to Ristis and then the cableway to Engelberg. Note: the chairlift and Brunni cableway are not included in the Buiräbähnlipass.

Tips for The Buiräbähnli Safari

  • Buy the Buiräbähnlipass so you don’t have to worry about paying for each ride! You can buy it online and have it mailed or pick one up at the Engelberg Tourist Office
  • Be Prepared: Make sure this route is a match for your navigation skills and fitness level.
  • Pack Wisely: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes, and bring essentials like water, snacks, and sun protection.
  • Respect Local Customs: Be respectful of local customs and the environment. Greet farmers, follow their instructions, and take your trash with you.
  • Check the Weather: The weather in the mountains can change rapidly, so be prepared for sudden changes. Look at the forecast and try to avoid summer storms. We use MeteoSwiss for weather forecasts and radars. 
Trail on a steep hillside

Ski Lodge Engelberg Is Your Base Camp!

The Buiräbähnli Safari offers a unique journey into Switzerland’s alpine farming culture, showcasing the simple yet profound beauty of the mountains. For more details, check out this recent National Geographic article, which highlights the Buiräbähnli Safari and mentions our cozy little Ski Lodge Engelberg. Next time you plan a trip to Switzerland, include the Buiräbähnli Safari! We would love to welcome you here at Ski Lodge as your home base, and even store your luggage for you while you are out adventuring!

See you on the safari!

// Sunny Regards from Your Friends at Ski Lodge Engelberg

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