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Hike in Switzerland: Riesenwald Elm "Giant Forest"

Updated: May 30

Easy giant themed circular hike (2.6km, 50 m ascent / descent), stroller friendly with 17 fun stations along the way. Elm, Canton Glarus, Switzerland.

The it factor

What makes it special:

What needs to be considered:

  • The hike is almost entirely stroller friendly - there is just the last part that is not but with a small detour, it can be done

Don't want to read? Watch a video instead!

The fun factor

Meet the giants! The Giants Forest (Riesenwald) hike takes you on an adventure to discover the life of giants, especially Martin (named after the Martins hole) and Sardona (named after the mountain). You get to learn what they eat (spoiler: dinosaurs or cream cheese sandwiches), what school they go to, which instruments they play and more! Tip: pick up the hiking map at the gondola station. It is very nicely done and our 4 year-old was excited to monitor our progress and looked forward to the next station.

After a short gondola ride up, the hike starts with a Bergrestaurant Ämpächli, which has trikes kids can use for free, trampolines, a giant swing and a bowling lane. A chance to get a coffee and a snack in peace whilst your young ones are kept occupied.

Throughout the hike every few hundred meters are different giant themed play stations. Tip (optional): check out the stories behind each station to add a bit of storytelling to your hike.

First we get to discover Sardona's house that Martin turned upside-down and climb the "ear tree" to listen to nature. We also go through a herbs garden that giants go to when they want to prepare some sandwiches. Our little one was having a lot of fun exploring each station and we had a lot of opportunities to chill.

You then arrive at a lovely barbecue spot with some other giant activities - chalk board, school class room, xylophone and an obstacle course which apparently you need to practice if you want to master dinosaur hunting :) . We highly recommend bringing some sausages with as it is a great place to barbecue whilst your kids are exploring the area.

After this break another adventure awaits! You get to visit the "little giants" school, see grandma Martina's kitchen and a giant's hammock (AKA hanging bridge) and measure yourself (to check if you are also a giant). Each station is fun and engaging and the promise of discovering a new activity was an excellent motivator for our toddler to hike all the way.

When the hike is finished, instead of taking the gondola down, you have the option of going down with mountain carts (available from 12 years old) and scooters (available from 9 years old). As 3.5 year-olds were not allowed to ride (for understandable reasons) so we had to skip it this time. Looked fun though and we hope to do it at some point in the future!

The views factor

The Riesenwald Elm hike views vary between mountains and forests. The altitude is approx. 1'500m which means when you're outside of the forest the views on the surrounding mountains are spectacular. That includes Sardona, after which our Giant's girlfriend was named.

The fitness factor

The hike is flat, on a gravel road and relatively short (2.6 km), requiring a low fitness level only. It is a great hike for kids who are just getting started or a hike to take grandparents with. It is also off-road stroller friendly (with a bit of a detour).

There are benches next to each play station, giving you plenty of opportunities to rest.

The food factor

The Bergrestaurant Ämpächli at the beginning and end of the hike is self-service, with a large salat buffet and your "usual suspects" served over-the-counter. You also have Älpli Bergbeizli, which is a smaller one towards the end of the hike and table-served. We had coffee in both - food choices looked good and they also offer special kids menus.

There are some great spots for picnics and barbecues with plenty of wood billets up for grabs. We regretted not bringing some sausages with us - definitely a must next time for this hike.

The value factor

In comparison with other gondolas, we found this one quite decently priced. In 2024 Adults pay 12 CHF for a single ride and 19 CHF both ways. Kids pay 8 CHF one way and 11 CHF both ways. Renting mountain carts will set you back 15 CHF for an adult and 10 CHF for a kid.

Riesenwald Elm Giant Forest hike: Practical info

  • Park at Obmoos

  • Take the gondola to Ampächli

  • Start & End: Ampächli 1'485m

  • Ascent & decent: 50 m

  • Length: ca. 2.6 km

  • Duration: 1 hr 30 min walking plus c. 2 hrs at the play stations

  • #10 route on the map

  • Almost all is stroller friendly. If you come with a stroller, you need to continue straight pass the Älpli Bergbeizli restaurant and follow the signs towards the Ämpächli

  • Tip: Bring food for barbecue

  • More info here

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