Hiking my Hood: Klewenalp – Gitschenen

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.

Central Switzerland abounds with hiking options – and on an incredibly sunny day like this past Sunday, the avid hiker is spoilt for choice. And thanks to SBB’s Tageskarte Plus campaign, day trips also just became a bit more affordable. After much online researching, we finally settled for a hike from Klewenalp that’s advertised as “medium” (we imagined that it’d be no walk in the park, but no alpine excursion either – which is pretty much what happened, although my partner in crime would probably err towards calling it medium-hard). After an easy 2ish hour trip from Basel, we got to Beckenried, where a cable car transports batches of sun-hungry tourists up to Klewenalp. The trip would have been worth it if ended on top of the mountain – the views are gorgeous and the groundhogs cute.

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

After taking in the view and acclimatizing, we started our hike. The first 15 minutes of it are deceivingly easy – you just walk on a broad, slightly downward sloping path, with beautiful vistas wherever you look. Fairly quickly, though, it becomes clear where the hike got its “medium” label – the next 90 minutes are up, up, up – and rather steeply, too. Fortunately, you’re presented with Lake Lucerne and an incredible panorama every time you turn your back and stop for a quick break.

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

The highest point of the hike is Hinter Jochli, after which you’ll have overcome a good 500 meters in height. It’s an ideal spot for a lunch break – the views back as well as the view forward, down to Gitschenen, are simply breath-taking (even after you’ve caught your breath from all the climbing).

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

The second part of the hike is easier, but just as beautiful – you walk on loosely defined paths through rocky and marshy areas, surrounded by majestic and rough mountains.

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

The last hour or so is a steep descent, where you need to keep an eye on where you’re going, or your ankle might come back from the trip sprained at best.

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

After a total of about 3.5 hours, you’ll arrive in Gitschenen, a community of a couple houses and restaurants. A cute little cable car will transport you down to St. Jakob. It’s advisable to get to the cable car station a bit earlier than planned (as there are just 2 cars running up and down, fitting 8 people) as well as check out the bus schedule that awaits you in down St. Jakob (as there’s only about 6 buses a day). The bus then takes you back to the shores of Lake Lucerne, where you can either board a boat to your final destination, or have the bus take you back to a train station for your return trip.

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

Klewenalp to Gitschenen

All in all, a highly enjoyable hike that requires a bit of stamina, but rewards the hiker with gorgeous scenery and vast views. Bonus: the path was not crowded, even though it was a generally really busy day up on Klewenalp. Here‘s a description of the hike along with timetables for the many ways you can transport yourself up and back down the mountains.

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