Berglauf Engelberg – Trailrunning In Central Switzerland

Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

A little race a year keeps woman’s motivation high.

That according to the one who just finished her almost yearly race tradition in Berglauf Engelberg. Also known as me. In slight flu and two months earlier injured ligaments (now the ankle is ok, mom, no worries). It was tough and humbling – definitely not the best day for me for the above mentioned reasons – but it was also more than fun. Almost as fun as the Jungfrau Marathon (yes I’m strange).  Also, one of the best ways to keep the spirits high for almost daily physical practice, for another year forward at least. (Other good reasons general health, getting old, and simply fun times outdoors.)

What really was the best though in Berglauf Engelberg – as the race is called these days – was that there was (alcohol free) beer at the finish, and excellent views on the way to distract one from the extremely bad feeling one gets when running over 1000m vertical up in 9km. And of course there was also melted cheese on the way back. To get back all those calories lost when running up the uphill from Engelberg 1010m to Rugghubelhütte SAC 2296m– 9km and 1286m elevation gain – in slightly autumnal, bright sunny August day with a little refreshing breeze… (Yes the weather was perfect for race.)

And if you are looking for a nice little vertical mountain/trail running race for next year to test your limits and capacity (to stand the really bad feeling) or are just looking for something crazy to do, keep this event in mind.

And if you are looking for some nice fun training runs in Engelberg and around, now after few months living and running in here I can finally recommend few. (Scroll further below the pics for the tips.)

Berglauf Engelberg 2019

Berglauf Engelberg 2019

Engelberg Berglauf 2019

Trübsee Alpenrose

Trailrunning In Engelberg – 5 Recommendations

Since moving to Engelberg in the beginning of April, I have had some time to explore at varied phase the trails for running, in the Engelberg valley itself and the mountains around. And by now, I have some favourites to share, for weekly evening runs and for all day free day escapades. So if you are visiting Central Switzerland with running shoes, check these.

In general, for the excellent outdoors destination Engelberg is, there’s plenty of marked (hiking) trails to combine your run. And while I do give you suggestions about where to go and which exact places to pass, I would recommend you to take a look at the map with these waypoints in mind, and make your own tour of the available options. According to your current feeling, weather and whatever you normally base your runs to.

Aaschlucht/Aa river gorge 

For short bursts and technical challenges (this is where I twisted my ankle earlier in the summer) the path by the Aa river from Engelberg to Grafenort and back – or shorter stretches adjusting it with the help of the many cute bridges over and the trails running on both sides of the wild river – is one of the best.

This summer, it’s also been one of the best places to mess up my Strava stages, because wild strawberries.

Aaschlucht Running Engelberg

Gerschnialp

For nice evening sunset run or a random middle distance run with about 400m elevation, take the loop from Engelberg to Gerschnialp and back down from the other side.

Can be also combined nicely with core and technique training by running through the Zürich Vitaparcous loop near Bänklialp. (Beware of the cow and pig smell though – there’s many farms around this loop.)

Engelberg Trail Running

Engelberg Trail Running

Fürenalp

For proper elevation and good food on the way, take the Fürenalp bahn either up or down. And run from Fürenalp valley station up to Fürenalp past Alpenrösli and Stäfeli, or take the trail other way round for some nice downhill cruising.

 Can be also combined with tour up to Surenenpass and why not with even a longer stretch along the Via Alpina multi stage hiking route through all Switzerland.

Engelberg Trail Running

Engelberg Trail Running

4 lakes – Trübsee, Engstlensee, Tannensee & Melchsee 

For nice all day running tours, the so called 4 lakes hiking region is the place to run in Engelberg. First, take the cable car up to Trübsee (or at the other end to Melchsee) and enjoy the highlands and many hiking (aka running) paths in the area around the four lakes, famous for the hiking tour with the same name.

Here you find a network of trails to choose from, clear lakes to take a dip on a hot day (but note that swimming in Tannensee is not allowed), and many restaurants and guesthouses to have a nice meal, drink or even good night sleep before, after and in between of your run.

Many cows and marmots and goats and weasels too.

Trübsee Engelberg 2019

Engstlenalp Switzerland

Tannenalp Switzerland Trail Running

Engstlenalp Engelberg Via Alpina

Melchsee-Frutt Engelberg Switzerland

Via Alpina Engelberg Switzerland

Bonus: Engelberg valleyby the river and to the wasserfall and end of the world.

Not all trail running must contain lots of elevation and technical difficulty (almost the opposite – remember to take care of your body), and for easy almost flat runs in Engelberg you find many good paths in the Engelberg valley itself.

One of my favourite goes first past the monastery a bit up to the Ende Der Welt (end of the world) settlement, then past housing and farms to Wasserfall (nice waterfalls in here) and Fürenalp valley station, then turns back past the Engelberg Seilpark and ends with few kilometres rolling by the icy cold Aa river all the way back to town.


Where: Engelberg, Switzerland