Stage 18 of the Trans Swiss trail is 17 km long with 520 m ascent and 80 m descent and goes from Flüeli-Ranft to Stans. On stage 17, I first learned about Nicholas von Flüe (also known as Bruder Klaus), the patron Saint of Switzerland and I wondered what I would learn about on the next stage. As it turns out, I learned more about Nicholas von Flüe. This trail starts by hiking into the valley where he lived as a hermit. In addition, there are signs providing more information about him (plus prayer and meditation tips) all along the way to Stans. This is because, if you hike this trail in the opposite direction (that is, from Stans to Flüeli-Ranft, then continuing to Sachseln), it is the Bruderklausen Trail (Route 571) which follows the path Heimo Amgrund took in 1481 when seeking the advice of Nicholas von Flüe that secured peace among the cantons. There is, of course, more to this path than saints and meditation – there are also wonderful views of Mount Pilatus and of the Stanserhorn peak.
|Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Canton Obwalden and Canton Nidwalden Switzerland
| Zürich HB -> Flüeli-Ranft, Dorf – 1 hr 55 min
Stans -> Zürich HB – 1 hr 20 min
| Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Yellow trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
| Medium – About 4 hrs 35 min
Length 17 km, Ascent 520 m, Descent 780 m
|Stage 1 – Porrentruy to St-Ursanne
Stage 2 – St-Ursanne to Soubey
Stage 3 – Soubey to Saignelégier
Stage 4 – Saignelégier to St-Imier
Stage 5 – St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
Stage 6 – Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel
Stage 7 – Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 8 – Murten to Laupen
Stage 9 – Laupen to Bern
Stage 10 – Bern to Worb
Stage 11 – Worb to Lützelflüh
Stage 12 – Lützelflüh to Langnau i.E.
Stage 13 – Langnau i.E. to Eggiwil
Stage 14 – Eggiwil to Schangnau
Stage 15 – Schangnau to Sörenberg
Stage 16 – Sörenberg to Giswil
Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Stage18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Stage 19 – Stans to Seelisberg
Stage 20 – Seelisberg to Erstfeld
Stage 21 – Erstfeld to Wassen
Stage 22 – Wassen to Andermatt
Stage 23 – Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo
Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 25 – Airolo to Osco
Stage 26 – Osco to Anzonico
Stage 27 – Anzonico to Biasca
Stage 28 – Biasca to Bellinzona
Stage 29 – Bellinzona to Tesserete
Stage 30 – Tesserete to Lugano (Comano)
Stage 31 – Lugano (Paradiso) to Morcote
Stage 32 – Morcote to Mendriso
The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 18 picks right up where stage 17 left off, at the Flüeli-Ranft, Dorf bus stop.
When we were here at the end if stage 17, we took some time to visit the chapel on the top of the hill that you can see behind the bus stop, and we visited the original home of Nicholas von Flüe and his wife, Dorothea Wyss located across the street from the bus stop. Because we had already visited those sights, we simply found our trail sign and were on our way.
The trail almost immediately heads down into the ravine where Nicholas lived as a hermit. Heading into the ravine, we got a lovely view back of the Paxmontana, a gorgeous old hotel built in the Germanic art nouveau style (Jugendstil). And, when we reached the bottom of the ravine, there was a gift shop and chapel to commemorate where he lived. We didn’t go into the chapel as there was a crowded event going on inside when we passed.
After passing the chapel, we crossed the stream and began the hike up out of the ravine, at the top of which was another chapel. This time we went inside.
After leaving the chapel, the trail goes through steep fields with some very lovely views. The pictures don’t really capture the disorienting feeling you get when walking over this type of dipping, rising, and sloping green grass covered terrain.
The trail continued up past another chapel with fantastic views.
When you look on the map, you can see that this trail snakes around the Stanserhorn mountain, the pointy peak in the second picture. Often it was behind a cloud as we hiked, but when we stopped for our picnic lunch on the bench under the tree in the second picture, the peak was visible. And, from our lunch spot, we also had a fantastic view back to the Sarnersee lake.
After lunch, we continued hiking along the trail, almost always with views of Mount Pilatus to our left and a view of the Stanserhorn to our right.
As I mentioned earlier, this path is also the Bruderklausen Weg, a pilgrimage path with information signs about Nicholas von Flüe. One of the interesting things about these signs was that each one gave the reader a task to do to help with prayer or meditation. This one asked the reader to: “Find a stone that reminds you of things you need let go of in life. Carry the stone for a while and then throw it away when the time comes. Experience the freedom!”
As we came around to the other side of the Stanserhorn, we could no longer see the peak of the Stanserhorn, but we now had our destination (Stans) in view.
After a short final descent, we came to the town of Stans.
And after a quick walk through town, we were at the end of our trail.
This stage of the trail did not end exactly at the train station. Instead, it was about a five minute walk from the trail sign in the first picture to the train station. We will retrace our steps back to this spot when we return.
Between the trail access point and the train station was an interesting church adorned with green dragon heads. When we return for the next section, I want to spend some time checking out that church and also, hopefully, getting a good picture or two. Looking forward to stage 19!