Hiking the Sihlsee-Winterwanderweg in Einsiedeln

We had a lovely bit of snow on Christmas this year – not enough to stick but enough to have some pretty white flurries. The day after Christmas, we decided to go for a winter hike in Einsiedeln, where there was a lot more snow! The route we hiked was the Sihlsee-Winterwanderweg – route 555. Marked by pink signs, this groomed snow path, is a 9km loop that starts and ends at the historic Einsiedeln Abbey.

Detail Summary
Where:Einsiedeln, Parkhaus Brüel,
Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland
Train:Zürich HB -> Einsiedeln, Parkhaus Brüel – 55 min
Car:Zürich -> Einsiedeln, Parkhaus Brüel – 35 min
Pink trail markers – Route 555
Skill:Easy – About 2 hrs 15 min
Length 9 km, Ascent 130 m, Descent 130 m

Additional Info

Getting There

The Sihlsee-Winterwanderweg trail is a loop that starts in the field next to Einsiedeln Abbey. Although we did not go inside this time, public tours – guided (german) and self-guided – are available. One of the interesting features of this abbey is its Black Madonna (german). We went in to see it another time, and while it was smaller than I expected it was still interesting, and the abbey itself is very pretty, outside and in.

You can reach the abbey using public transportation or if you are driving there are several parking areas nearby. We drove and parked in the lot across the street from the abbey. This lot is limited to 3 hour parking, but as the trail takes a just over two hours to complete it worked out well.

The Trail

The start of the trail goes through the field next to the abbey. Here there is a cross-country ski rental place and track. There is also a sledding hill close by. As it was the day after Christmas and the weather was great, this area was quite crowded. However, after finding the pink trail marker, we were soon on our way leaving the crowds behind.

After passing through the fields, the trail heads down to the shore of the Shilsee. Here, it follows along the lake, providing many pretty views over the water.

After nearly reaching the opposite end of the lake, the trail turns left and heads up into the fields overlooking the lake. With loads of unspoiled snow, the winter landscape was truly a wonderland.

When the trail turned back towards Einsiedeln, we saw some magnificent views of the Sihlsee from above.

Getting Back

With about a kilometer or so left to go, the trail heads into town. When we got back to the abbey, we were at our car and the end of the hike.

This trail was a lovely way to enjoy the winter snow and perfect for an after-Christmas wander.

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