The holiday region of Braunwald is a car-free mountain village. It is located in Glarus canton. The village offers diverse and unique experiences due to its nature and landscape.
Braunwald is an ideal starting point for visitors to discover the high alpine scenery of the surrounding Glarus Alps. They have alpine flowers, waterfalls, and nature for visitors to enjoy.
Braunwald: An Overview
It is a tiny, little-known village of less than 400 year-round residents. The name of the village does not come from the literal translation of brown (Braun) forest (wald). Rather, the first syllable comes from brunno. The word Brunno in the old German language meant Quelle, Quellwasser, or Quellbach. In English, this translates to spring waters.
The water from Karrenalp joins the Brummbach, which in 1471 was still called Brunnbach. Due to the spring water and the lower regions of the area being incredibly wooded and covered with trees – a combination of both words resulted in the name Braunwald.
In short, the term Brunnwald, from which Braunwald gets its name, means spring-rich, densely wooded area.
How To Get To Braunwald
To reach Braunwald, take the train going to Linthal Braunwaldbahn (1 hour and 30 minutes from Zurich). If you are driving a car, the address of the valley station is Stachelbergstrasse 2, 8783 Linthal. From Linthal Braunwald, take the funicular up to Braunwald. It is the only connection to Braunwald.
For more than 100 years, the car-free family village of Braunwald was only accessible with the funicular. In fact, in 1907, the entire journey took 20 minutes from the valley up to the mountain village. Nowadays, the ride going from Linthal to Braunwald 607 meters higher takes only roughly 6 to 7 minutes. The maximum gradient of 64% is very impressive, and those who are lucky might even see some deers, foxes, rabbits, or chamois on the way up.
From Braunwald, one can choose to take either the cable car from Hüttenberg to Grotzenbüel area (1,561 meters) or Burstberg to Gumen area.
As shown in the picture below, a sign will point you in the right direction once you reach Braunwald. It takes about 5-10 minutes to walk there.
- The first option, riding the cable car from Hüttenberg to Grotzenbüel area, will lead to amazing views of Glarus border mountains Hausstock, Bifertenstock, Tödi, Piz Urlaun, Sandgipfel, Rotstock, Fisetengrat, Vorder Ortstock, and Orstock. This ride takes guests 1,116 meters long and 259 meters high in four minutes.
- The second option to take the combination cableway includes alternating 4-person gondolas and 2-person chairlifts from Burstberg to Gumen (1,901 meters). This ride encompasses two kilometers with over 590 meters in height ascent. The combination cable ride takes roughly eight minutes from Braunwald to Gumen.
The Dwarf Bartli Adventure Trail officially begins at Gumen. A shorter version would be to start from Grotzenbüehl in the middle. However, you will miss the first four posts as a result.
Things To Do In Braunwald In Summer
The Things-To-Do List in Braunwald for summer is quite long – hiking, climbing, scooter riding, horse-drawn carriage rides, as well as biking among things. Let’s start with the obvious first choice for most visitors – hiking.
Hiking in Braunwald
Surrounded by the impressive landscape and nature, hiking is a popular activity for small children and alpinists alike. From Urnerboden to Fisetenpass, from Oberblegisee to Braunwald, and many more, Braunwald has numerous hiking paths for its guests.
Panorama Trail Grotzenbüel
There is a Panorama Trail which is around 8.9 km long. It is a technically simple circular hike that allows hikers to enjoy the impressive view of Ortstock and Tödi. It is a panorama trail that offers a view of the high alpine mountains at each step of the way. From Grotzenbüel, the path leads to the Chnügrat, where you can also see Bächi Valley and the Glarus Alps.
Dwarf Trail and Brummbach Waterfalls
For younger guests, there is the Dwarf Trail which follows the path of the dwarves, their dwelling, and Tiidis House beside the mighty waterfall called Brummbach. You can start the trail from Gumen (3 hours 30 minutes total time) or Grotzenbüel (2 hours total time). It is a cute path with a dwarf’s castle, gemstones, caves, towers, and more. Towards the end of the trail, you will end up near the Brummbach Waterfalls which has a very nice water playground and kneipp. You can also bring some snacks and grill here. It is perfect for families with children.
High Alpine Tours around Tödi
For high alpine tours, the mountain Tödi (3,614 meters high) offers lots of high alpine tours with different levels of difficulty. This mountain is also the border between the cantons Glarus and Grisons.
Hike to Oberblegisee
Lake Oberblegi (in German: Oberblegisee) is another highlight of Braunwald. Oberblegisee, with its deep, clear blue waters and peaceful setting in the mountains, is well worth a visit. The lake is regarded as one of the most beautiful and unspoiled in the region.
From Grotzenbüel, it will take you around 90 minutes to get there. The hike can be started from Braunwald (2 hours in total) or Grotzenbüel (90 minutes).
Afterward, you can either go back where you came from or head to Brunnenberg. In Brunnenberg, there is the option to take the Brunnenberg-Luchsingen cable car back to Luchsingen in the valley.
Climbing and Paragliding in Braunwald
For paragliding, the area around Gumengrat is a good place to start due to its excellent thermal conditions. It is around 2,064 meters high and is a lightly sloped alp. You can reach it with the Braunwald train, then change to the combination cableway to Gumen, then up to Gumengrat (around 30 minutes).
For climbing, there is the Klettersteig Braunwald on Eggstöcke even for inexperienced climbers possible. It is also possible to book courses to learn more about climbing itself. This experience is only recommended for those who are not afraid of heights.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Horse-drawn carriages wait right beside the train station in Braunwald. The horses belonging to the Schuler family wait near the village’s small store (kiosk) to bring guests around the village, in front of beautiful chalets, through the forests and alpine meadows and back. Guests will enjoy the fantastic views from the carriage and the carriage drivers know each peak and can always tell special stories about each one. The carriages run from morning until late in the evening, bringing guests from one point to another.
Biking in Braunwald
There are day passes available for biking called “Braunwald-Bike“, which allows unlimited usage of the train, the gondolas Grotzenbüel, the combination cableway Gumen, the Brunnen cable railway, and also the usage of the buses in the Linthal-Urnerboden area including the bike transport. One such trail is the Gumen Enduro bike trail, which is a 7.6-kilometer-long trail starting from Gumen via Ortstockhaus and Grotzenbüel all the way down to Braunwald.
Alpine Cheese Dairy-Making
On the 600-hectare Bächialp, with pastures between 1,200 to 2,000 meters above sea level, you can look over the shoulders of alpine cheese dairy farmer Rhyner how to make alpine cheese. You can take a look at the Chäs Chäller (cheese cellar) and experience how the cheese wash creates a compact, tangy cheese. There are various kinds of cheese produced in this cheese dairy farm – Glarner alpine cheese, alp raclette, natural cheese, pepper cheese, caraway cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese, quark, and yogurt. This is available during the summer alpine season from June to September, daily, between 8:30 am – 10:30 am.
Summary: Braunwald in Summer
Even though car-free Braunwald is not as popular as Zermatt, it still has amazing offers. Hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and cheese dairy-making are just some activities you can do here in summer. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides right beside the train station to take you from one location to another.
Braunwald is also a beautiful winter resort. For more information, check out our article about visiting Braunwald in winter.
- Winter Hiking and Skiing in Braunwald
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