First, let’s lay it all on the table. My boys aren’t as enthused about hiking as I am. It can be quite a challenge to encourage the two of them to pull on some hiking boots and hit the trail. We could try to walk to an Alpine pasture with them, or even scaling peaks together, in theory. In reality, we would not manage that with everyone’s mood relatively intact. Think fussing and meltdowns. How fortunate that Tirol boasts many trails that combine hiking along with fun to create a memorable and growing experience. They have some tricks up their sleeve to get kids excited about hiking so we can enjoy the great outdoors together.
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is called ‘Tirol’s Number One Family Region’ and certainly lives up to this denomination. Whether you are staying for the week, a few nights or just for the day, there are mountains of adventure, literally: Junior visitors can explore children’s book author Thomas Brezina’s three “Mountains of Adventure” Trails.
The Mountains of Adventure are amazing trails that mix up the plain old walking with loads of fun and excitement for kids. There’s no special equipment needed – all trails are perfectly waymarked and have interpretive stops with quizzes to solve. To get the most out of the experience, though, grab a (complimentary) adventure writing pad and rent an adventure rucksack from a local tourist information office. Little ones who have ticked all the right boxes in the writing pad will then be rewarded with a certificate. You can even experience the best of the Mountains of Adventure with their new App, which helps planning the trip and instills a thirst for outdoor adventure in youngsters.
The Pirate’s Trail in Serfaus
Of course, I let my boys be the leader for our first hike. And, of course, they opt for The Pirate’s Trail (after all, the word pirate brings to mind buried treasure, parrots, black eye patches, wooden legs, and Jolly Roger flags). I can only agree, as this is the only of the three trails that is stroller accessible and takes a mere one to two hours to complete, making it the perfect choice for a gentle start into our week of hiking adventures.
Having watched the intro video on the App, my boys just can’t wait to lace up their trekking shoes. They are sitting in the gondola, primed like racehorses and champing at their bits. The trailhead for our first adventure is just a few minutes from the top of Komperdellbahn Gondola—and off they go. What was supposed to be a gentle walk turns out to be a mountain run ;-)
The trail follows a broad forest path with an easy grade as it meanders through forest and meadows, offering uninterrupted panoramic views of the scenic surroundings. The interpretive stops with quizzes to solve are designed with love for attention – and they are bustling with tasks to stimulate curious minds. It ain’t all that easy :-) Undisputed highlight for my boys is the huge pirate ship, and they marvel at the treasure chests. Ahoy, Me Hearties!
Strongly Recommended: Having reached the end of The Pirate’s Trail, two on-mountain adventure worlds await for soaking, sliding, splashing water fun: Murmli Water Park and Hög Adventure Park both are within a 15 minutes’ walk.
- To reach Murmli Water Park, turn left towards Komperdellbahn Gondola. With a variety of water features, gold panning and marmot caves, pre-schoolers and schoolchildren will enjoy this special area—and you can sit back and leave them to it. Better still why not grab a cup of coffee from there and watch the fun and frolics from an elevated seat.
- To get to Hög Adventure Park, turn right and follow the forest road to the breathtaking reservoir that is fun for the whole family. Cool off in this aquatic jewel or check out the collection of boats skimming across the water. Pedal boats, rafts, SUPs (stand up paddle) and kayak are available for rental. For an exciting mountaineering treasure hunt, try geo caching for outdoor thrills and fun challenges. Or, how about hopping on a sled and zooming down the mountain on the “Schneisenfeger” Alpine Coaster?
The Witch’s Trail in Fiss
I love witches! And as the boys opted for The Pirate’s Trail on day one, it’s my turn now. Of course, I choose The Witch’s Trail for our second walking adventure. They are not exactly enthralled (“Witches are for girls!”), yet this is about to change soon!
Just below the mid-mountain terminal of Schönjochbahn Gondola, there’s the mystical entrance to the forest trail, but don’t be afraid as it is by no means as scary and creepy as it sounds! Out of high spirits, kids Fips and Peppina have blown up their home and now they need help in finding the cottage and its fixtures and furniture. The boys have to solve all kinds of tasks, puzzles and fairytale adventures and demonstrate detective skills and resourcefulness. The trail winds down through forest past witches broomsticks, toothbrushes and other mysterious items lying on the ground or hanging in the trees. It takes us some two hours to tackle the 430 meters of elevation loss and as we finally reach the witch’s cottage, the boys are totally exhausted.
Strongly Recommended: Once you have discovered the witch’s cottage, it’s a short gondola ride to the Fiss Summer Fun Park – which you shouldn’t miss out! After all, a thrilling ride on the “Fisser Flitzer” Alpine Coaster is well-earned by the kids after the hiking exertion of the day. And believe me, it’ll be a great post-hike treat for you, too!
The Explorer Route in Ladis
We have saved The Explorer Route for the last as friends told us that the trail was really long and accessing it was steep and demanding. Luckily, this has not kept us from exploring it (only almost), because The Explorer Route turned out to be my favourite among the Mountains of Adventure in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis!
The shortest access follows the Water Trail. This steep yet wonderful trail winds through a fairytale-like forest and takes you directly to the start of the Explorer Route. You’ll find plenty of trailside benches and water features for a welcoming rest.
It takes approximately one hour to reach the trailhead of the Explorer Route. From there, it’s a gentle 30-minute walk through old-growth forest without ups and downs. Little ones have fun searching for the lost explorer while learning about the Alps’ plants and wildlife.
Having eventually discovered the Explorers’ House, the kids have to read tracks and find the other end of a strange telephone. At the end of this route, a dirt road and a road lead down to the base of Sonnenbahn Gondola in Fiss within a 15 minutes’ walk. From there, you can continue your quest for adventure. Or return home.
Strongly Recommended: If you’re still feeling energetic at the end of The Explorer Route, follow the path right towards Berta’s Indian Land (don’t take the road to your left that will take you to Sonnenbahn Gondola). The Indian Land can be seen from afar and is within a 15 minutes’ walk. From there, a broad path with a gentle grade leads to the play and adventure world on the shores of scenic Wolfsee Lake, which is some 800 meters away. This is a great opportunity to experience the great outdoors and appreciate nature at its finest. Or, try the outdoor adventure game of Wo-Bä-Lu Caching, the digital treasure hunt that kids find simply irresistible.
The Bottom Line
What better place to be a kid (and an adult) than in this mountain playground where the opportunities for adventure and fun are endless! The three trails from the “Adventure Mountains of Thomas Brezina” at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Region are definitely worth exploring. I found myself with two little hiking enthusiasts in no time—and I only heard the question of questions once (for parents on a hike with children that is “Are we done yet?!?”). And they were never bored, thanks to the adventure writing pads. We tested the App along The Explorer Route, which was great fun, too. Unfortunately, my mobile ran out of battery (a portable charger might have been a good solution).
Good to Know
All three Mountains of Adventure trails take some one to two hours to complete. The Witch’s Trail and The Explorer Route are a little rocky and steep in sections while the Pirate’s Trail follows a dirt road, so sturdy footwear like trekking shoes is a good bet – hiking boots are not necessarily required. The estimated time is the one needed for hiking and does not include stops. And stop you will. And stop. And stop. So be prepared and pack plenty of drinking water, as well your child’s favourite snacks.
The Pirate’s Trail and The Witch’s Trail both have its trailhead at the top of the gondola. If you are staying in the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Region, you will receive your complimentary Super.Summer.Card from your accommodation, which includes free gondola rides and public transportation along with many more benefits.