Schynige Platte - Ride the nostalgic cogwheel railroad up to almost 2,000 meters above sea level

Travel Guide

The ridge in the Bernese Oberland has hiking trails, viewpoints, a large alpine garden with 700 plant species and a traditional mountain hotel.

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The Schynige Platte is a slate rock face on the Gumihorn mountain, which reflects light intensively, especially during and after rain. In the midst of a large hiking area with alpine garden, the visitor can experience nature intensively here.

  • The Schynige Platte is accessed by a rack railroad and on some days of the year the old steam locomotive from 1893 is brought out.
  • The Panorama Hike is a leisurely circular walk to and from Schynige Platte, suitable for the whole family.
  • During the summer months, the Botanical Alpine Garden displays more than 700 different flowers and plants typical of the Bernese Oberland region.

Schynige Platte: location and approach

Schynige Platte is located in the administrative district of Interlaken-Oberhasli and belongs to the political municipality of Gündlischwand. The mountain Gumihorn, where the Schynige Platte is situated below the summit, is located at the western end of the Schwarzhorn group.

Coming from Lucerne or Bern, you can get there via the A8 freeway. Exit no. 25 leads to Wilderswil. From Interlaken, visitors arrive by car via the Gsteigstrasse (Route 6) or from Interlaken Ost by train on the Bernese Oberlandbahn (direction Lauterbrunnen, first stop).

In Wilderswil, cars can be parked in the parking lots at the valley station. Further access is by cogwheel railroad between the end of May and the end of October. Due to a sometimes very high volume of visitors, electronic advance booking of tickets is recommended.

The Schynige Platte is located on the side of the 2,100 meter high mountain Gumihorn. It is reached in summer via the Schynige Platte-Bahn (SPB), which has been operated by the Bernese Oberlandbahn (BOB) since 1895. The trains carry more than 200,000 passengers between May and October.

Arrival with the nostalgic rack railroad to the Schynige Platte

The railroad line was opened in 1893. Today, the trip on the rack railroad is called a nostalgic trip. Its track gauge is 800 mm. The train takes about 50 minutes to cover the distance from Wilderswil near Interlaken up to Schynige Platte. It covers a distance of 7.26 kilometers and climbs 1,383 meters in altitude. The top station is located at 1,967 meters above sea level. The average gradient is 19%, with the highest gradient of 25% within the Gräti tunnel.

Stations of the Schynige Platte Railway

The individual stations are:

  • Wilderswil (584 m altitude)

  • Rotenegg (886 m altitude after 1.84 km)

  • Breitlauenen (1,542 m altitude after 4.61 km)

  • Schynige Platte (1,967 m altitude after 7.26 km)

In Wilderswil, parking is available at the post office building (Migros parking lot) and on the other side of the train station in the Alte Staatsstrasse.

Season of the Schynige Platte Railway

The journey starts every year around the end of May to mid-June and ends at the end of October. The timetable is published here. The train runs every 40 minutes and passes through four tunnels (376 meters) and over eight bridges (eighty meters).

Every autumn, the catenary of the long-electrified rack railroad has to be dismantled in the upper part of the line, as there is a danger of avalanches there. As soon as the time of snowmelt is over, the catenary is reinstalled. Inside the train, the wooden benches are also reminiscent of the early days of the railroad. During the ride, passengers can enjoy the view of the four-thousand-meter peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

Sights at the Schynigen Platte

The mountain top with the Schynigen Platte offers a lot of nature. It is famous for hikes with particularly beautiful views of Lake Thun, but also the four-thousand-meter peaks of the Jungfrau region. In a botanical alpine garden, visitors learn about well-known wild plants. And with a large picture frame, a souvenir photo can then be taken. All sightseeing is possible during the summer and autumn months, when the rack railroad goes to Schynigen Platte

In detail, the sights include:

  • Botanical Alpine Garden
  • Teddy bears and children's playground
  • Concerts of the alphorn players
  • Nature cinema

Botanical Alpine Garden on the Schynigen Platte

More than 700 different alpine plants are on display in the Botanical Alpine Garden on the Schynigen Platte. In addition to well-known plants such as edelweiss, gentian or alpine rose, there are also plants that many visitors have never consciously seen in nature. These include the black man's trefoil and the lily of paradise.

Admission to the Botanical Alpine Garden, located at 1,967 meters above sea level, is free if the visitor can show a rail ticket. The tour is about one kilometer long and shows about two thirds of the entire alpine flora. Some terrains are artificial like the limestone scree or the primary rock field.

Very specific species grow here. The Schynige Platte Alpine Garden Association specializes in the study of the high-altitude flora in Switzerland. It brings visitors closer to the beauty, secrets and richness of the alpine flora. The plants to be seen bloom in a staggered manner: Early bloomers can be seen from the end of May. Between mid-June and mid-August, the alpine flora is in full splendor and the last buds open in September.

Entering the grounds of the Botanical Alpine Garden is completely safe, even for children. The Alpine Garden is open in summer between 8:30 am and 6:00 pm. It can be found near the top station of the cog railroad. Every Sunday there is a guided tour "Discovering the Alpine Garden" between 13:45 and 14:45. Anyone can come without pre-registration. The guided tour is paid with a collection.

Ordered tours for up to twenty people last one hour and cost CHF 80 in 2021. Special topics such as medicinal plants, endangered and protected plants, climate change, parasitic plants, alpine animals or wild hay can be selected for the guided tours.

Teddy bears and children's playground

In a former mass storage area, nostalgic teddy bears have found their place. They were made by Theresia Bodenmann-Muggler (Turbenthal) and Ursula Rudin (Matten) and can be admired in an exhibition.

A children's playground supervised by the dialect singer and pop star Marc Trauffer is located not far from the Berghotel; it is called Lily's Alpine Playground. Lily is a carved cow and besides her there are also cats, chickens and other carved animals from the workshops of Trauffer Holzspielwaren. Since 2020, the playground has a new slide.

Steam locomotive ride to Schynigen Platte in the driver's cab

The rack railroad was electrified as early as 1913, but about four times a year it runs up the mountain with a steam locomotive

Forty people can book a ride at a time, as the steam locomotive only carries one car. It is also possible to book a cab ride and help out yourself. For this there is an overall and a heater cap. Oiling the engine is also one of the tasks of an amateur locomotive driver. Before the trip, one learns how to prepare the locomotive, loads water and coals, and during the trip, one may heat up and later hold the wheel.

The steam locomotive has the number H 2/3 5 and dates from 1894. The nostalgic steam locomotive trip also starts in Wilderswil and lasts one hour. On the tender, the handmade fittings are still in their original condition and the plaque with all the builder's data is also still present in the original.

Dates and costs of these trips are published on the Jungfrau Region page. It is also possible to buy a three-hour ticket for the driver's cab. This includes coffee during the breaks. As a souvenir, the hobby locomotive driver receives the heating cap, an antique folder of the Schynige Platte Railway and a certificate as well as a souvenir.

The following video shows the journey with the steam locomotive from Wilderswil in the direction of Schynige Platte.

Concerts of the alphorn blowers at Schynige Platte

During the summer season, a free concert by alphorn blowers takes place daily in front of the Schynige Platte mountain hotel between 11 am and 2 pm. Afterwards, tourists may have their picture taken with the musical instruments. In case of bad weather it takes place in the hotel

Since 2015, about 80 alphorn players from Switzerland, Austria and Germany meet annually on the first weekend of September for the "Bernatone Alphorn Meeting Interlaken-Jungfrau". Each Sunday afternoon, a concert with the almost four-meter-long alphorns takes place at the Berghotel Schynige Platte.

Lily's treasure hunt

A small hiking trail has been designed for puzzle lovers and treasure hunters. At nine places riddles are solved, which altogether result in a solution word. A treasure map is available at the train station and at the Schynige Platte restaurant. There you will also find the last puzzle. Whoever has the correct solution word may choose a treasure from a treasure chest.

Nature cinema on the Schynige Platte

The Naturkino is a circular trail at an altitude of about 2000 meters that leads along above the railroad station. Through two huge picture frames, everyone can watch their own nature cinema, film or take souvenir photos with family or friends. Wooden feel-good benches let visitors close their eyes and listen to nature

Prices for the Schynige Platte

The prices for the journey with the nostalgic rack railroad are valid for 2nd class in the period from 13.12.2020 to 11.12.2021.

Cogwheel railroad to the Schynige Platte (in CHF)

|Single traveler (1.-9.person) |Trip to and from | |--------------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------------| |Wilderswil | 32,00 | 64,00 | |Interlaken Ost via Wilderswil | 35,60 | 71,20 | |Lauterbrunnen via Wilderswil | 38.00 | 76.00 | |Grindelwald via Wilderswil | 41.80 | 83.60 |

|Group travelers (10 persons or more)|Trip to and from | |--------------------------------|-----------------------------|------------------------| |Wilderswil | 22,40 | 44,80 | |Interlaken Ost via Wilderswil | 25,00 | 50,00 | |Lauterbrunnen via Wilderswil | 26.60 | 53.20 | |Grindelwald via Wilderswil | 29.40 | 58.60 |

Steam locomotive driver's cabin ride to Schynige Platte (in CHF)

Cab rides are operated with and without firing. The exact days will be published on the website

time periodwith/without firing upprice
05:45 h-12:33 hwith455,00
07:45 h-12:33 hwithout355,00
13:05 h-17:53 hwithout355,00

Travel times rack railway

time periodfrom - to
May-June10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (from 9:00 a.m. in case of high traffic)
July-mid-August08:30 to 18:00 hrs
Mid August-Mid October08:30 to 17:30 hrs
mid October-mid Decemberclosed
Mid December-Mid Mayski operation, closed from approx. March/April

Activities

The most popular activities are hiking, but also paragliding from the mountain Gumihorn is becoming more and more popular at the Schynigen Platte. After the annual dismantling of the electric trolley line in the upper part of the route because of the danger of avalanches, winter sports can be practiced here. Without the mountain railroad, however, skiing is very limited.

The main activities are therefore:

  • Hiking
  • Paragliding

Hikes on the Schynigen Platte

In summer there are several hikes to and from the Schynigen Platte, which are combined with a ride on the nostalgic rack railroad

A panoramic hiking trail is very easy to walk. It starts and ends at the mountain restaurant. The hike leads to the Oberberghorn and back and is marked as trail no. 60.

Those who absolutely want to climb a peak can also do so here

However, the summit of the 2,100-meter-high mountain Gumihorn is not easy to climb. In the immediate vicinity, however, there are two other peaks that are only slightly lower. They are located on the two sides of the actual summit and can be easily reached from the Schynige Platte train station

Tuba or Daube is the name of the 2,076-meter peak to the north, and Geiss is the name of the 2,067-meter peak above the station. Below the station there are three barbecue sites. The wood for them is provided by the railroad.

A hike from Schynigen Platte to the First above Grindelwald takes six hours and ten minutes on average. The moderately difficult hike is marked as hiking trail no. 62.

Paragliding at Schynigen Platte

Paragliding begins with the ride up the mountain on the rack railroad. On the way there is enough time to instruct the tandem pilots in detail. Once at the top, another walk of up to just under half an hour is required

The flight with a view of Lakes Thun and Brienz as well as the Bernese Oberland is considered spectacular. Evening flights are particularly popular.

Coordinates of various launch sites on the Schynigen Platte:

  • N 46°39'29.61" E 7°54'10.54" (1,750 m altitude, takeoff to the NW)
  • N 46°39'45.40" E 7°54'03.88" (1,574 m altitude, takeoff to W-NW)

Coordinates of various landing sites

  • N 46°40'51.44" E 7°49'25.90" (565 m altitude, Interlaken
  • N 46°41'10.02" E 7°51'31.39" (569 m altitude, Interlaken)

Take-off and landing sites are subject to change. For tandem flights, the organizers will inform you in advance about the exact take-off and landing sites. Several organizers offer tandem paragliding flights from the Schynigen Platte.

Mountain hotel Schynige Platte with restaurant and accommodation

The Berghotel Schynige Platte dates back to 1899 and is located one kilometer from the Schynige Platte train station. Overnight stays between or after long hikes are rewarded with beautiful sunrises on the mountain with the backdrop of the four-thousand-meter peaks.

From the terraces, the Bernese Alps and the lakes of Thun and Brienz are clearly visible. The group of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau is unmistakable in the south, Pilatus stands out in the northeast.

The hotel offers single, double, triple and family rooms. Special rates are offered at full moon times. The restaurant also offers a self-service buffet on the terrace. The alpine hut, which also belongs to the hotel, is located on the path to the alpine garden. The hotel and restaurant are open during the operating months of the cog railroad.