Hiking the Tüfelschilen–Schauenberg Trail – Kollbrunn to Elgg

The Tüfelschilen–Schauenberg Trail (16 km, 640 m ascent and descent ) goes from Kollbrunn to Elgg passing through a mossy abandoned quarry, ancient guardhouse ruins, and a pretty ravine with a babbling brook and little waterfalls. The mossy abandoned quarry (the Tüfelschilen) and its unusual waterfall was particularly striking. The views from the guardhouse ruins at Shauenberg provided the perfect backdrop for our picnic lunch. And, walking along to the sound of the running water through the Farenbach ravine was a great way to wind down the hike. I loved the variety on this hike!

Detail Summary
Where:Tüfelschilen–Schauenberg Trail – Kollbrunn to Elgg
Canton Zürich, Switzerland
Train:Zürich HB -> Kollbrunn – 42 mins
Elgg – > Zurich HB – 38 min
What:Tüfelschilen–Schauenberg Trail – Kollbrunn to Elgg

On the SwissMobility map this trail is labeled 872 and it says to follow the trail signs for 872, but we didn’t see a marker for 872 when we were hiking. However, as this trail follows the first stage of the Züri-Oberland – Höhenweg (trail 69) from Kollbrunn to Shauenberg, it was easy to find our way. At Schauenberg the trail branches from 69, and from there we simple followed the yellow trail markers to Elgg.

From the train station, in Kollbrunn, follow:
– Yellow trail markers with green number 69 (Züri-Oberland -Höhenweg) going in the direction of Tüfelschilen and Shauenberg.
At Shauenberg the trail branches. From there, follow:
– Yellow trail markers towards Elgg. At one point the trail branches and both directions point to Elgg. Be sure to stay on the trail that follows alongside the stream.
Skill:Medium – About 4 hr 10 min

Length 16 km, Ascent 640 m, Descent 640 m
Cost 2022:
No costs other than public transport.

Additional Info

Getting There

This is a point-to-point hike, so best done with public transportation. The trail starts at the Kollbrunn train station. On the SwissMobility map this trail is labeled 872 and it says to follow the trail signs for 872. However, when we arrived, we didn’t see any signs for 872. After consulting the map, we saw that 872 follows stage one of the Züri-Oberland – Höhenweg (trail 69) from Kollbrunn to Shauenberg, passing the Tüfelschilen along the way. At the train station, we found the marker for trail 69 and a pointer in the direction of the Tüfelschilen, and we were on our way.

The Trail – Kollbrunn to Tüfelschilen

The first three kilometers of the trail took us through a bit of suburbia and then into the forest along the top of a ridge. If you looked closely at the trail sign, you can see that “Gratweg” (ridge walk) is written beneath the pointer to Tüfelschilen. Nothing as steep as the Lägern Ridge but not flat either.

After leaving the ridge, the trail descends into the valley and meets up with the Bäntalbach stream, which it then follows until reaching the Tüfelschilen, an abandon overgrown quarry.

According to Wikipedia, Tüfelschilen means “Church of the Devil” and it is the name of the grotto that once existed here and that was, perhaps, used as a pagan sanctuary. In the 1800s the tuff stone here was quarried, some of which was used to build the town church in Winterthur. After the quarry was abandoned in the late 1800s, nature took its course. What makes this waterfall so striking is that the water flows across the top of a jutting triangle, spilling off the tip and then meandering down the mossy steps. It is definitely something worth seeing in person as the pictures don’t quite capture it.

The trail climbs out of the valley and past the source of the Bäntalbach stream. In the last picture above you can see how the water flows across the center of the triangular boulder.

The Trail – Tüfelschilen to Schauenberg

The next seven or so kilometers took us from Tüfelschilen to Schauenberg. This section of the path meandered through the forest and fields. While not a a steady or steep climb, we were hoping we’d get some views from the elevation gains we were clearly making.

And when we reached Schauenberg, we were most definitely rewarded with some fantastic views. Also here are the remains of a 17th century guardhouse. The trail description on SwissMobility said this was the “ideal spot for a picnic break.” We agreed. The old guardhouse foundation walls were the perfect place to sit, have our sandwiches and enjoy the view. (Lots of people agreed, and this part of the trail was rather crowded.)

The Trail – Schauenberg to Elgg via the Farenbach Ravine

At Schauenberg is where our trail branched away from trail number 69. Here, we began following the yellow trail markers towards Elgg. As we headed towards Elgg, the trail was all down hill. Again nothing too steep, it was still a fairly easy walk.

When we reached the intersection in the road just before the restaurant in picture two, we saw that there were two markers pointing to Elgg going in different directions. One, pointing in the direction of the stream and the restaurant, and the other pointing uphill towards a field. We wanted to stay alongside the stream, so we continued on the path past the restaurant. Once past the restaurant, we reentered the forest and we were in the Farenbach Ravine.

Not soon after, we were treated to the sight of this pretty waterfall.

As we continued our hike through the Farenbach Ravine, I lost count of how many little bridges we crossed. It was so relaxing just to hear the water gurgling alongside as we hiked. Towards the end of the ravine, there was a small pond. We smiled when we saw the huge masses of frog eggs – a sure sign of spring.

After we left the ravine, it was just another kilometer or so through fields and forest.

Getting Back

When we reached Elgg, the trail left the forest and headed through town and to the train station where we caught the next train home.

We really enjoyed this hike especially seeing the Tüfelschilen. It was was such an interesting looking area.

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