When I was a child I never really liked hiking. But my family knew just how to encourage me. Lenk, a delightful place in the Bernese Oberland, boasts two animal-themed trails. Here kids of all ages can learn all sorts of facts about the wildlife in the Swiss mountains. The trails are pretty easy to do and kids will have lots of fun. By the end of the day, they'll know the animals by heart.
So my parents enticed me with these trails – which entranced me so much that I was the one begging for us to go on another hike there.
Stretching some 3km, it's impossible to advise how long this trail will take as there are several stops along the way encouraging children to explore for themselves. The trail's organizers have added some lovely details. At one point you can visit a realistic mock-up of a den, as if made by marmots. At another point you can weigh yourself and get the result in a number of marmots. Kids can check out their knowledge by connecting animals to their tracks or specific noises, and lots of other fun stuff. You might even be lucky enough to see real marmots.
Once I was lucky when we were doing the trail. Near to the mock-up den I heard a short but piercing whistle. Looking around, I saw several marmots running into their real dens to hide from danger. That's what the whistle was warning them about.
This trail is approximately 4km long, and again it will take as long as you want. All along the trail there are dummies of lynxes. By the end of the trail you'll find out if you've seen them all – creating a kind of game of "Where's Wally?". The "Luchs-Trail" is full of information, and has playgrounds where kids can learn interesting facts about the habitats of animals residing in the Swiss mountains. Unfortunately as the lynx is much shyer than the marmot, it's unlikely you'll see a real-life one.