Snowshoeing in Engelberg Ristis, Switzerland

The small town of Engelberg offers several different snowshoeing opportunities, and the ones in Ristis are some of the most accessible and scenic ones. Ristis actually offers two separate snowshoe trails; one to Riedalp and one t Schönenboden. Both trails are easy, and each one is about 2/3km long.

Still, they can be combined into one long trail of almost 6KM, Which is what I did. So you can technically use this post to plan three separate snowshoe hikes; Ristis-Riedalp, Ristis-Schönenboden and Ristis-Riedalp-Schönenboden. Each hike snowshoe hike will be a loop, ending back in Ristis.

Whichever you choose, you are sure to enjoy a great snowshoe hike with scenic views over the alps and short sections in the woods and a lot of lovely huts along the way.

Snowshoeing in Engelberg Ristis, huts along the trail with snowy mountains in the background.

The beautiful, typical alpine scenery in Engelberg Ristis.

Snowshoeing in Engelberg: Ristis – Table of Content

Overview of the Ristis Snowshoe Hike in Engleblerg

Max Altitude 1,627 m
Distance 5.75 KM
Elevation gain 300 ↑ / 300 ↓
Hike time 2:00 /2:30 Hours
Hike Difficulty Moderate
Houeses in Englelber on a foggy winter morning before sunrise

Parking lot with a view. This is the fantastic view from the parking lot.

How to Get Ristis and Parking

Ristis is a small conglomerate of huts above Engelberg, and getting there requires taking a gondola up the mountains.

  • Driving Directions: to get to Ristis, you would have to drive to Engleberg, across central Switzerland; the drive is about 40 minutes from Lucerne. Once in Engleberg, you can head to the Brunni-Bahnen, park there and take the gondola up to the starting point of the snowshoe trail.
  • Parking: ample paid parking at the Klostermatte Plarkpatz by the gondola lift station. The cost was 5 CHF at the time of writing (2023). You can pay at the gate on your way out.
  • Public Transport: Engelberg is very nicely served by public transportation. Trains run directly from Lucern’s train station to Engelberg, which takes about 45 minutes. From Engelberg’s train station, it’s a 15 minutes walk to the Brunni-Bahnen.
Alpine landscape with huts on the Ristis snowshoeing trail in Engleberg

Alpine huts along the trail on a beautiful, sunny morning.

The Ristis-Riedalp-Schönenboden Snowshoe Trail

The trail starts just in front of the Brunni-Bahnen mountain station. This trail is a loop so you can do it either way. However, I’d recommend doing it counterclockwise for the best light on the trail. This is a mostly flat trail; it’s well-marked and easy to follow—no exposed or particularly steep sections.

The trail will lead you through some sections in the woods and then into an open area where you can enjoy the scenery of several mountain huts surrounded by a magnificent alpine landscape around Schönenboden.

From there, the trails turn back toward the mountain station and continue towards Riedalp. More beautiful views along the way until you reach a lookout point with a bench you can stop at. While the bench will most likely be covered in snow, this is a great spot to stop, have a snack and a coffee (bring your thermos!), end enjoy the views over the landscape below and the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Here the trail continues on the side of the mountain. This will be the steepest part of the hike, but it is relatively short and not very hard. Lastly, the trail crosses an area of beautiful mountain huts before reaching the Mountain station of the gondola lift.

Snowshoe trail in the swiss alps around Engelberg on a Sunny morning

Some of the magnificent mountains around Engelberg.

Snowshoeing in Engelberg Ristis – Photos and Photography tips

This is an excellent trail for scenic views over the mountains and the valley below. The mountains around Engelberg are beautiful, and there are several great lookouts over the valley below. Also, several huts along the way can provide a great foreground to the surrounding Alpine scenery.

An Early morning hike here will allow you to catch the sun lighting the peaks of the nearby mountains and slowly filling the valley below. That usually makes for a great, moody contrast between the warm sunrise light and the cold light of the snowy, shadowed landscape.

This is also an excellent location to catch the “sea of fog” that often appears in central Switzerland from late autumn to early spring. Anything in the range of 20 to 100 mm may be enough. Anything longer may be useful if you are into wildlife shooting.

Here below is a photo gallery from my snowshoe hike there.

Frozen trees in an alpine landscape

Some very frozen trees lit by the morning light.

Winter snowy landscape and snow road in the swiss alps, framed by trees in the snow.

Some of the stunning views from the sections of the trail in the woods.

Alpine hut under the snow on a sunny day in the swiss alps

A hut in the warm morning light.

Sea of fog in the alps in a snowy, winter landscape

The typical sea of fog.

Snowshoeing in Engelberg Ristis, huts along the trail with snowy mountains in the background.

The beautiful, typical alpine scenery in Engelberg Ristis.

Light warming a dark alpine valley in the swiss alps around engelberg

Some beautiful morning light is warming up the snowy landscape.

Morning light on a snowy village in Englelberg, Switzerland

Early morning light on the village.

Alpine hut in winter in the Swiss alps along the Engelberg Ristis Snowshoeing trail

One of the many beautiful huts along the way.

Map of the Ristis-Riedalp-Schönenboden Snowshoe Hike

The trail is well-marked with the usual pint trail posts and is always easy to follow. No need for a GPs track here, but the map below can give you a good idea of the elevation profile and what to expect on the trail.

Where to stay

You’ll find several hotels and other types of accommodation in Engelberg. Plenty of restaurants and Bars for a drink too. It is also possible to stay at Berglodge Restaurant Ristis at the Mountain station of the gondola lift. I’d recommend booking, though. Otherwise, snowshoeing in Engelberg Ristis can easily be done as a day trip from nearby cities, Like Lucerne or Zurich.

Additional Resources