Hiking my Hood is a series of posts that
brag talk about how I’m surrounded by beautiful scenery and endless possibilities for exhausting hikes. “My hood” is loosely defined as Switzerland.
SBB aka Switzerland’s Federal Railways deserve a serious side eye from time to time – but that’s not what I want to highlight today. Instead, let’s talk about their fantastic special trip offers. For example: the so-called 4-lake-hike from Engelberg to Melchsee-Frutt. The cost for all transportation (including train, bus, gondola and chair lift) comes down to 34 CHF – 50% of what you’d usually pay. Not bad at all. (The offer expired on 18 August, but I’d still recommend the hike – it’s definitely worth the standard price, too.)
The train trip from Basel to Engelberg takes pretty much exactly 2 hours. From there, you take a gondola trip up to Trübsee – the first of the four lakes you’ll see on your day’s hike.
From Trübsee, it’s about a 15-minute walk to your next transportation option: a chair lift with great views that will get you up to Jochpass. You could also walk up there (it’d take around 80 minutes). We went for the lift in order to conserve our hiking energy.
At Jochpass, the actual hike starts: Follow the red and white signs for Melchsee-Frutt (the yellow signs take you on an easier, but much more boring path). Your mind will be blown pretty much instantly – the path follows a ridge with constant great views on lake number 2 – Engstlensee and offers lots of good spots for picknicking.
You’ll keep looking down and, later on, back, because Engstlensee is a beaut from all angles.
After passing Engstlensee, the terrain changes ever so slightly and gets a little more wild on several levels: a lot of wild cows lounging on the grass (beware, as they are not as peaceful as they might look), more rocks as well as narrow and steep paths.
Before it gets even rougher, though, you pass Tannsee, lake number 3, along with a few signs of civilization (houses, a restaurant, a small tourist train transporting people along the easy route).
After Tannsee (you’ll see it in a second), you climb again, up to a very rocky ridge with great views. When we did the hike, the weather started getting worse at this point – fitting for the dramatic environment.
At the end of the ridge, you arrive at a small mountain restaurant, where you should have a well-deserved beer (not pictured, but it did happen).
The last part down to your final destination, Melchsee-Frutt, is a steep descent with lovely views on lake number 4, Melchsee, as well as a nice little church in the water.
From Melchsee-Frutt, you hop on the gondola down to Stöckalp, where a bus takes you to Sarnen’s train station. 4 lake hike – A++, would do business again!
Fitbit stats of the day: 27’000 steps, 145 floors, 20km, hike takes around 4 hours (but plan for many scenic picnic brakes)
Signage help: Engelberg: gondola -> Trübsee: chair lift -> Jochpass: hike -> Melchsee-Frutt (red/white signs, not yellow!) -> gondola from Melchsee-Frutt to Stöckalp -> bus to Sarnen -> train to your final destination