A Ride on the Schauinsland Cable Car
The Schauinsland, which translates literally to “look-into-the-country”, is a mountain in the Black Forest, near Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. The mountain is located roughly ten kilometres south-east of Freiburg’s city centre, so we stopped while we were exploring Freiburg. It is a popular destination for day trips – which exactly what we were on! Our day trip was actually a little different because we had woke up early, left one location, stopped to explore another on the way, and then would sleep in a third. Quite the adventure – full of sights, sounds and many stories! This particular day was just that: FULL!
“Leave your daily life in the valley and come to discover the life at 1284 m above sea level. With the longest loop cable car in Germany, you will reach the peak of Freiburg and its stunning panorama in 20 minutes.” – Schauinslandbahn Website
From Freiburg, the Schauinsland can be reached by Germany’s longest cable car. The Schauinslandbahn is a gondola lift in the Black Forest area. It ascends a height of 746 m and is 3600 m long. There are 37 cabins that are able to transport up to 700 people per hour, which is about 240,000 passengers per year. Amazing! The Schauinslandbahn came into operation in 1930 as the world’s very first cable railway according to the circulation principle.
The lower station of the Schauinslandbahn can be reached by bus route 21 from the terminus of Freiburg city tram route 2 at Günterstal. very convenient for those exploring the country via train, or even on foot. We were blessed with the ability to drive right up the the lower station in our rental car. We parked our park, bought our gondola tickets, and then hopped in the next cabin that came by.
It was almost midday, and we had woken up early, so little man fell asleep once we put him into the stroller. He slept the whole way up the Schauinslandbahn. We felt like we were on a date – you know us, we are always stealing little date moments when we can. The view from the gondola cabin was simply breathtaking!
During the Winter
During the winter time, every couple of years, the Schauinsland cable car can be used as a ski lift when ideal snow conditions permit. About 300 metres from the carpark “Rotlache” and under the mountain station, the “cold water run” begins. Known as the “wild run”, it is highly treacherous, being over 8 km away from the valley station, thus making it the longest ski-run in the Black Forest.
I can only imagine how amazing this area of Germany looks during the winter – all covered in white!
The Upper Station
There is a Cafe & Restaurant at the upper station of the cable car. Surprisingly enough, even though there hadn’t been too many people waiting to jump on the gondolas, the restaurant was quite full. We went inside to look around, and thought about maybe stopping to eat, but we had a full day ahead of us so we kept moving. The views from the restaurant definitely made it a worthy place to stop and enjoy a relaxing meal.
Instead of sitting down, we combined our visit to the upper station with a hike up to the Schauinsland tower.
Erzkasten Circular Route
There are a number of hiking options from the summit point of the mountain. We decided to do the Erzkasten circular route. After your Schauinsland cable car ride up to Freiburg’s landmark mountain, you start at the upper station. The Erzkasten Circular Route is 5.5 km long and, with the difficulty level “easy”, also appropriate for children’s push chairs.
Route: Upper station of the Schauinsland cable car – Schauinsland summit with Schauinsland Tower – Sun Observatory – Engländerdenkmal (Monument to English Schoolchildren) – Schniederlihof Farmhouse Museum – Mine Museum – upper station of the Schauinsland cable car
We definitely took a couple of shortcuts – but we were still slow to get to the top. The path wasn’t very steep, but it was still an uphill push of the stroller for about 30 minutes.
This tower, built with wooden timber frame, really had quite a special construction. The triangular platform is supported by three Douglas firs, cut in the Freiburg forest on the Schauinsland. 85 steps of open steel staircase lead you up to the roofed platform. From the viewing platform, roughly 20 metres high, Mont Blanc can also be seen, which is not possible at the base of the tower due to the ski resort “Haldenköpfle” just in front. You also get a great view of the city of Freiburg and the Rhine valley.
Since we had the stroller, and didn’t want to make Eli climb all of those stairs, we took turns going up to the top.
Down below, with his daddy, Eli enjoyed a snack and some water.
Next up it was Justin’s turn to go to the top.
We each took some time at the top to enjoy the panoramic views.
As Justin was leaving the tower, and walking back over to Eli and I, he saw a €100 note lying on the ground. He asked a few people nearby if they had dropped any money, but it appeared to belong to no one. We waited for a few minutes, so see if anyone came running back looking of it, but no one did. What a find!
The Schauinsland is a very popular area for Freiburg. This region is suitable for a number of outdoor adventurous activities including hiking, skiingand mountain biking. In the winter, sledging is possible on the Holzschlägermatte or on the higher areas of the mountain where a sledge-lift operates. Cyclists can visit the Schauinsland for both challenging and leisurely trails. They often use the Schauinslandbahn to help them ascend the mountain.
From May to November, it is possible to go down the mountain using a hired scooter, which takes about an hour. The area right below the top station is a popular starting position for paragliders.
A Great Family Day Trip
We highly enjoyed both the Schauinslandbahn, and the hike to the Schauinsland Tower. This was definitely a good stop, and a nice way to connect with the nature that surrounds the Black Forest area. Once back in our car, we made out way to the city center of Freiburg to explore yet another gorgeous city in Germany.