Looking for information about the Stoos Ridge Hike in Switzerland (aka Crest Hike Stoos), wondering what to expect, how to get there, or if this hike is really worth your time? In this guide, we share our experience-based tips for hiking the Stoos Ridge Trail between Klingenstpck and Fronalpstock. Find out!
When researching some nicest day trips near Lucerne or the best hikes near Lucerne or Zurich, you’ll probably get overwhelmed by all the options. Switzerland is a real hiking paradise, indeed, and with thousands of kilometers of hiking trails, it’s always a tough choice where to go.
And while it’s always difficult to compare or to say that one hike is better than another, there are some hikes that are simply worth it more than others. Stoos Ridge hike won’t disappoint! The scenery is jaw-dropping AND you get to ride on the steepest funicular railroad in the world (110% gradient!).
In this guide, you can find all the practical information that you may need for doing this hike. And if you just want to see the best views without hiking, that’s possible too – more info about it further below. Take a look!
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Stoos Ridge Hike – less than an hour’s drive from Lucerne or Zurich – ticks all the boxes for those looking to experience some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in central Switzerland.
Stoos Ridge Hike between Klingenstock and Fronalpstock offers phenomenal views of the Alps and 10 different mountain lakes. And it’s simply a really nice trail – not too easy, not too difficult, challenging enough for those looking for some exercise, but also doable for recreational hikers and even families with children.
In addition, you get to ride on the world’s steepest funicular railroad and experience the Swiss Alps as locals do. Yes, Stoos is very popular with the locals, but you won’t see huge tourist groups here (yet).
Stoos Ridge Hike (Klingenstock to Fronalpstock) – Overview:
- Official trail indication: Ridge Hiking Trail (Stoos Hike nr. 83). Stoos Gratwanderung Klingenstock.
- Distance: 4.7 km (2.92 miles).
- Hiking time: 2 hours.
- Difficulty: Medium.
- Elevation difference: Ascent: 402 m. Descent: 423 m.
- Parking: Parkplatz Stoosbahn in Schwyz (map below).
- Hike trailhead: Klingenstock upper cable car station (1,935 m).
- End point: Fronalpstock upper cable car station (1,922 m).
- Season: June – September, weather permitting also from mid-May and in October.
- Facilities: There are restaurants/bathrooms in Stoos and at Fronalpstock. At Klingenstock, at the start of the hike, there are only (limited) bathroom facilities.
- Equipment/clothing: Good hiking shoes, sun protection, and a bottle of water are a must.
TIP: As already mentioned, Stoos is a popular mountain destination attracting lots of locals. So if you can, avoid visiting on a summer weekend.
We didn’t have much choice since we wanted to take advantage of the one and only cloud-free day, and visited Stoos on a Saturday at the end of August. We arrived a bit after 10 AM and started the hike at about 11 AM and it was the busiest we have ever experienced on ANY hiking trail anywhere in Switzerland. Still enjoyable, but it would have been incomparably better on a weekday.
And if you come on a weekend, try to arrive as early as you can and start hiking before 10 AM at the latest. Or come in the afternoon, when most hikers already start to leave, at around 2 PM or so. This will still give you plenty of time to enjoy the hike and get back down before the cable cars stop running.
Our experience: We did this hike with kids and, including picnic, it took us 2 hours and 10 minutes. This is hiking time, not including the funicular, cable cars, or walking time in the village. All in all, you need to plan about 4 hours for this hike; more if you are planning to have lunch at the restaurant in Fronalpstock.
How to Get There
The Ridge Hiking Trail between Klingenstock and Fronalpstock starts and ends in Stoos. Stoos is a car-free mountain village in central Switzerland, about 40 minutes drive east of Lucerne, or about 1-hour drive south of Zurich.
Important! You cannot drive to Stoos itself, but it can be reached by cable car from Morschach or by funicular from Schwyz. So if you are driving, leave your car at one of the big parking areas in Schwyz (see the exact location on the maps below). Parking in Schwyz costs about 1 CHF per hour.
If you don’t have a car, you can also get here by public transport. For example, from Lucerne, you can take a train to Arth-Goldau, and from there a bus to Schwyz. Here you can find the best public transportation options to Schwyz, Stoosbahn for wherever you are coming from.
Good to know: Swiss Travel Pass is valid on all public transport including Stoosbahn (and gives you a discount on gondolas).
We highly recommend taking the ultra-modern railway funicular from Schwyz to Stoos (vs. cable car from Morschach). Not only it arrives higher in the village and saves you some walking for this hike, but it’s also the steepest funicular railroad in the world (110% gradient!). It would be worth visiting Stoos just for a ride on this cool train, not even to mention the incredibly beautiful scenery along this ridge hike. See here for the opening hours and prices for Stoos railways.
Once you get to Stoos, follow the signs to the Klingenstock chairlift (indicated as Sesselbahn Klingenstock Talstation). This chairlift is located a bit higher in the village, and it takes about 10 minutes to walk there from Stoos funicular railway.
If you feel like making a full-day hiking trip, you could also skip the cable car and hike to Klingenstock. But if you are like us and want to see the best views with minimal effort, just take the cable car and save your energy for the ridge hike!
Below, we included two maps indicating all these places and also a map of the hiking trail – see further.
READ ALSO: Best Day Trips & Excursions from Lucerne
Below, you can see the map where we indicated everything you might need to know – from the car parking in Schwyz, Stoos funicular, cable cars, and the ridge hike itself.
And here is the map of the Stoos hiking area where we indicated the Stoos Ridge Hike as well.
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.
Which Direction to Hike?
Stoos Ridge hike starts and ends with a cable car ride and the altitude difference between the two stations is minimal. So it’s possible to do this hike in either direction and you’ll have just as much climbing to do no matter which way you go.
The majority of people (us included) do this hike starting in Klingenstock and ending at Fronalpstock, but we also ran into a few people who were walking in the opposite direction. We also recommend hiking from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock and not the other way around. Here’s why.
The scenery is really beautiful and the views are excellent any way you look. However, walking towards Fronalpstock, you’ll have the lakes and the most impressive views in front of you most of the time.
Furthermore, if you hike in the morning, the sun will be behind you, making the hike more enjoyable.
And finally, if you end at Fronalpstock, you can stop for lunch or a drink at their beautiful restaurant with an outdoor terrace and a playground. Also, here you have the best views over the lakes – a nice reward at the end of the hike.
If you do this hike with kids, you can also motivate them by promising to spend some time at the playground or get some ice cream at the end of the hike.
Stoos Ridge Hike: Description & Photos
Just as the name suggests, Klingenstock – Fronalpstock hike follows the mountain ridge. If you are afraid of heights, this trail might not be a good idea. It’s not that narrow that it would be dangerous, but some sections might make your head spin…
The steepest fall-off and the narrowest part is actually at the very beginning – close to Klingenstock. But the scenery is also really impressive here. So don’t rush to start the hike just yet – take the time to look around and simply enjoy the views.
TIP: If you need to use a bathroom, this is your last chance for the next few hours! The bathroom is somewhat hidden out of sight, down the stairs behind the upper cable car station at Klingenstock.
In the distance, you can already see your final destination – Fronalpstock – and it looks so close that you’ll have difficulties believing the signs that indicate the hiking time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. The ridge hike looks simple and rather flat from here, but it’s misleading. This hike involves quite some uphill and downhill hiking that you can’t see in the beginning. And the indicated hiking time is indeed about right.
About halfway through the hike, there are some picnic tables where you can rest and enjoy the views. Here, you can also take a small detour to a somewhat higher peak – Huser Stock at 1,904 m.
You’ll see a big cross in the distance – it’s about 10 minutes detour. But if you do this, you’ll have to come back to the main trail the same way, so count at least 20-30 minutes for this detour.
It was so busy at this intersection that we decided to just continue further. So I’m not sure if it’s worth climbing up to Huserstock. Further down the hike, you see the same views, I think, just a bit lower.
From here on, the hike gets a bit more varied and you get better and better views of the lakes. Soon, you’ll start going down a bit, then even more, and more… And what goes down, has to go up again… After crossing a meadow with the cows (if they are there), you’ll soon start climbing to Fronalpstock. It’s quite a steep climb, but luckily not very long.
These two sections (steep descent and an even steeper ascent) were extremely busy when we hiked here. On the way down, people were struggling with loose stones and on the way up, everyone kept stopping to catch their breath all the time. And because the trail is quite narrow, you are really stuck in the line of people, not being able to choose your own hiking pace.
This made this hike somewhat less enjoyable. As I said, we have never experienced such a busy hiking trail anywhere in Switzerland before. But if you come here on a weekday and start early, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Before you know it, you reach the top and the last part of the hike is quite flat. There are lots of trails here and people start hiking pretty much in all directions, but the nicest views are on the left side (where the lakes are), close to the cliff.
So while it’s very tempting to just take the shortest path to Fronalpstock, we recommend going as much to the left as safely possible and taking the trail by the ridge. That way, you can enjoy the best views!
At Fronalpstock, there is a viewing platform as well and the views here are spectacular too. This is really a place where you’ll want to take your time!
As already said, there’s a restaurant and a playground at Fronalpstock, so if you didn’t bring a picnic, you could stop here for lunch. We were glad that we had a picnic with us because it was crazy busy at Fronalpstock on a Saturday afternoon. All the tables outside were taken and there was a long queue to order the food…
If you walk around, you’ll see some resident goats – always fun to meet them, not just for kids. And they sit at the place with some of the best views too – check it out!
Afterwards, we took a chairlift to Stoos, where we found a small kiosk selling really good ice cream. There were also several restaurants and cafes in the village, and it was so much quieter here than at the top.
In Stoos, you can walk around the village, visit the church, or have lunch. Once you are ready to go down, you walk back to the funicular station for a ride back to the valley.
How to See the Best Scenery without Hiking – Fronalstock Panorama Walk
If you don’t feel like doing the entire hike, you can also just visit Stoos for the steep funicular and some of the best views of Lake Lucerne.
In that case, take the funicular from Schwyz to Stoos, walk to the Fronalpstock cable car station in the village, and take this cable car directly to Fronalpstock. Here, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views without having to hike.
And if you feel like walking a bit, you can also just walk around the ridge overlooking the lakes below – the so-called Fronalpstock Panorama Walk (an easy loop walk of about 30 minutes). It’s relatively flat here at Fronalpstock and you can just decide at that moment if and how far you go. The views are amazing and some of the best scenery is actually right next to the cable car.
There is also a restaurant at Fronalpstock, a big playground for kids, and also a petting farm with some goats. It’s a popular place for families with young children and also all the hikers seem to stop here as well.
Stoos Ridge Hike with Kids
If you are wondering whether it’s a good idea to do Stoos Ridge Hike with kids, I think it can be done with kids from about 5-6 years. But a lot will depend on your children, whether they have some hiking experience, and if they don’t mind some climbing.
I wouldn’t recommend hiking with younger kids here – some sections are really steep and some parts of the ridge might also feel a bit dangerous, so you’ll want to hold on to their hand.
With younger children, simply take a cable car to Fronalpstock and walk around that area – the views are great and kids will enjoy the playground as well. I think you’ll enjoy it more than attempting the entire hike with a toddler…
Our experience: We did this hike with our three kids, ages 10-12 at that time. As usual, they were hiking faster than us and had no issues with the steeper parts either. However, one of them did complain about the last steep climb to Fronalpstock at the end of the hike.
Good to know: In summer, children with a Junior Travel Card travel free on Stoos funicular and cable cars. You can get this card in all major railway stations in Switzerland (also for foreigners). It costs just 30 CHF for the entire year and is free from the 3rd child. It’s a real bargain that will pay for itself after taking just one gondola ride. For Stoos, you’ll need to show the Junior Travel Card at the ticket desk in order to get a scannable day ticket.
Where to Stay
While there are many hotels in and around Stoos and the surrounding areas, you can easily visit Stoos for a day without staying in the region.
It’s a place that you can easily combine with a visit to Lucerne and the popular places nearby: Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis, or Rigi (not all on the same day, ;)).
TIP: If you are looking for a really special experience, stay at Gipfelrestaurant Fronalpstock. This hotel is located at the top chairlift station Fronalpstock, where the hike ends. Staying here, you can have the most beautiful scenery all to yourselves AND you can enjoy some of the best sunset views in the evening. This would make your trip so much more special!
Where we stayed: We stayed in the Lucerne area for a few days and just drove to Stoos for a day. We stayed at Seeblick Höhenhotel in Emmeten – amazing views and a good location for exploring the region. It’s a great hotel for a longer vacation – with an indoor pool, family rooms, and a good restaurant. The only problem is the noise of the church bells, but you have this all over Switzerland. 🙂
So, this is our guide to the Stoos ridge hike. Hope that it inspired you to visit this beautiful area and that our tips will help you to make the most of a visit here.
TIP: After visiting Stoos, you’ll likely have some extra time to do some more sightseeing in the area. You could stop in Brunnen. This is a small lakeside town with a nice waterfront promenade, shops, cafes, and playgrounds.
Brunnen is also the birthplace of the Swiss Knife and you can visit the Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center, where you can assemble your own knife. You can also buy Swiss knives here and have them engraved if you like.
READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Lucerne & Mt Pilatus Golden Round Trip from Lucerne
More travel inspiration – our favorite hikes in Switzerland:
- Hiking at Schynige Platte – a lesser-known gem.
- Oeschinensee Hike – one of the best hikes ever!
- Four Lakes Hike in Engelberg – Swiss Alps at its best.
- Bachalpsee Lake – one of the most popular hikes in Switzerland.
- Gornergrat Scenic Trail & Riffelsee Lake Trail – the best short hikes in Zermatt.
- Matterhorn Glacier Trail – the best longer hike in Zermatt.
- 5 Lakes Hike in Zermatt – some of the nicest alpine scenery.
- Charles Kuonen Bridge Hike – the longest suspension bridge in the Alps.
- Best Hikes in Zermatt
If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!
Some of our favorite places in Switzerland:
- Skiing in Wengen & Skiing in Engelberg
- Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe
- Mt Titlis
- Gornergrat & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (must-sees in Zermatt)
- Schynige Platte
- Lucerne to Mt Pilatus
- Best of Geneva
- Best of Bern
- Best of Lucerne
- Trübsee (Engelberg)
- … for more destinations, please check our Switzerland travel blog.
Wednesday 19th of April 2023
Very helpful article! One question - I am planning a trip to Stoos in the middle of May and it looks like the chairlift to Klingenstock won't be open yet. Does that mean if I wanted to do the full hike I would have to take the chairlift up to Fronalpstock, hike across to Klingenstock and then hike back to Fronalpstock to take the chairlift down?
Thursday 20th of April 2023
@Jurga, thank you for the quick response! Do you have any other suggestions for hikes that would be possible in May?
Thursday 20th of April 2023
Hi Ankur, if that chairlift isn't open yet, then it probably means that it's too early to do this hike (snow on the trail = dangerous). I think you'll just have to see what the conditions are when you get there. Even if you just take a chairlift to Fronalpstock and walk around that area a bit, the scenery is amazing. But it's probably unlikely that you'd be able to do the entire hike at this time of the year unless it warms up significantly by then.
Wednesday 15th of March 2023
For the ticket to ride the funicular, do I need to book ahead of time?
Friday 17th of March 2023
Hi Katie, no, you don't have to book anything in advance and can just get the ticket when you arrive.
Tuesday 2nd of August 2022
First of all a big thank you, your webpage is very useful.
I have a question, we are visiting Switzerland next September with a kid 2 year old.
I don't plan we do the hiking with our kid, but my question is if it's old enough to use the cable car to Fronalpstock, or it could be dangerous for her, or there is a minimum age for ride.
You put a photo from behing and I'm not sure about the safety measures.
Thanks in advance
Wednesday 3rd of August 2022
@Jurga, thank you for your quick answer.
I saw yesterday the photo but didn’t understand it well, now it’s clear that it’s a closed cabin, I think we should not have any problem :)
About the tip of giving some toy to keep calm, you are correct 😂😂
Thank you very much.
Wednesday 3rd of August 2022
Hi Pablo, I think that you can take these chairlifts with kids of any age and we saw lots of families with young kids at Fronalpstock. But what the rules are exactly or how you have to hold/place the child on the chair, only the people working at that specific place will be able to tell you. If you take a look at this picture, you can see how the chairlift to Fronalpstock looks like. This is the front view, with the safety glass closed (which happens automatically when nobody is sitting in the chair). Normally, you don't use the glass in the summer, but I see that there are two safety bars in the middle as well. So you'd probably have to put your child in such a way that each leg is on different sides of this bar, and it should be just fine (as long as you can keep them sitting quietly - something like a lollipop can help if you are really worried that he/she won't sit still (you'll quickly learn that 'bribing' the kids with something often helps in difficult situations when traveling :))). Anyway, if you want to be 100% sure how it works, simply give them a call.
Monday 27th of June 2022
Fantastic description from getting to there to finishing. Curious for your opinion: * A few photos and comments suggest steepness and fear of heights. Does it feel safer if you stick more to the "inside" part of the trail, and is that even an option or are both sides having steep dropoffs? * We will not have hiking boots, just sneakers (tennis shoes) for the hike. Will that suffice? I suspect MOST people are not equipped with serious hiking boots. Want to confirm. * In your opinion, is the funicular ride scary due to the incline? * We'd be coming for the day from Zurich, so there's the train to Schwyz, Bahnhof, then a bus to Schwyz/Stoosbahn (Talstation). Then the funicular to the Klingenstock chairlift, and finally the chairlift to the the Klingenstock trailhead. Once at Fronalpstock its a chairlift and funicular to get back down. Do I have this right?
Many thanks, William
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
@Jurga, If you could only do one, Stoos Ridge or Rigi Panorama, which would you choose and why? How do they differ besides difficulty (moderate vs easy)?
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
@Jurga, Very helpful and informative responses. One more question...we are considering doing TWO hikes in the same day, this one and the Rigi Panorma rated as easy. Think this might be too much? We're ages 64 and 56, no kids with us.
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
Hi William, one side of the trail (left if you start from Klingenstock) is definitely steeper than the other. However, the path is quite narrow in some places. Be sure to take a good look at the pictures in the article - it will give you a somewhat better idea of what to expect. I really recommend hiking boots/ hiking shoes for this hike and any other alpine hike in Switzerland, especially if it would be a bit wet. You really want a sole with some grip because there are quite some loose stones/gravel, etc. For the funicular, we didn't find it scary at all. One of our kids is a bit uncertain with heights (mostly suspension bridges and similar), but he didn't have any issues on this ride or the hike itself. But everyone is different and I cannot say how someone else experiences it. I don't know about the public transport, but once you get to Stoosbahnen (indicated in the map in the article), from there it's really straightforward: steep funicular to Stoos village, walk to the chairlift, take a chairlift to Klingenstock, hike to Fronalpstock, take a chairlift from there back to the village, walk to the same funicular you took to go up, and back the same way. There is also an older gondola from Morschach (see map) to Stoos, so if you don't want to take the modern Stoos funicular, you could probably choose this option. Or you can take this gondola on your way down and then get back to Zurich from Morschach. Since you are traveling by public transport and don't have to return to the same place where you start, this could be a nice way to see some different scenery. But you'd have to research public transport options. Hope this helps.
Friday 27th of May 2022
That's a great blog. Massive amount of information. As you seem to know well Lucerne Area, I have a question. Planning a 2 or 3 nights stay in Lucerne in mid June, as part of a longer trip including Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen area, Oeschinensee and Zermatt. Lucerne is the only place I've not been in though. So, what would you recommend mi to visit for a day trip and why? Mt Pilatus, Mt Rigi or Stops Ridge Hike? What I'm mostly looking for is panoramic views over the lake. Do you think is doable to combine anything, for example Rigi and Stood? Seeing the map, should be possible. Also, wouldn't mind any advice or opinion ot my program, what to add or eventually change. Thanks in advance
Keep on the great work and have a lot of memorable journeys.
Kind regards, Yavor.
Monday 30th of May 2022
Hi Yavor, it's not easy to combine a few of these places in a day, but if you have a car, plan well, and start as early as possible, you could potentially hike the Stoos ridge in the morning and visit Mt Rigi in the afternoon. The train to/from Rigi runs quite late in the evening and so it could be feasible (but rushed). It's impossible to combine Stoos with Mt Pilatus because of the shorter hours of transportation going to the top of Pilatus Kulm. Combining Pilatus and Rigi would also be rushed, but could be done if you just take the cable car to the top and don't spend too much time there. Also here, you'd have to start as early as possible (Mt Pilatus first). Also, keep in mind that traffic can be busy, so you need to foresee some extra time. As for which one to visit if you just visit one, they are all totally different. You could let it depend on the weather. Often, even if it's sunny by the lake, there might be quite some clouds on top of Pilatus; in that case, I'd skip it. Otherwise, Mt Pilatus is probably worth it the most, also because you can enjoy the most amazing scenery without hiking (much). The scenery at Fronalpstock is amazing too, so this would be my second choice. Good luck with the planning.