Winter Hiking at Melchsee-Frutt – The Tannalp Loop

The Tannalp winter hiking trail is 9 km long and makes a loop from Frutt Dorfli through the upland plateau past the Tannalp reservoir to the small village of Tannalp and back. With only 220 m of ascent and descent, this is fairly easy hike is a great way to enjoy the winter wonderland landscape.

We had originally planned to go sledding, but shortly after we arrived the sledding trail was closed, due to unsafe conditions caused by unseasonably warm weather. To make the best of it, we decided to do the Tannalp loop winter hike. I’m glad we did, as it ended up being a very lovely day out.

Detail Summary
What: Winter Hiking at Melchsee-Frutt – Tannalp Loop
Melchsee‐Frutt –> Tannalp –> Melchsee‐Frutt
Where: Melchsee-Frutt, Canton  Obwalden, Switzerland
Skill: Easy
9 km, 220 m ascent and descent
Condition: Groomed snow winter hiking path
Trail marked with pink poles along the way and pink signs labeled Route 540.
Open:Winter Season
Getting there: Train: Zürich HB  -> Stöckalp – 2 hr 15  min
Car: Zürich -> Stöckalp – 1 hr 20 min
Large metered parking lot at Stöckalp.
Cost 2024:Gondola roundtrip Stöckalp to Melchsee-Frutt
Adult: 37.00 CHF
With GA/Halbtax: 18.50 CHF

Additional Info

Getting There

Although we usually prefer to drive to Melchsee-Frutt, this time we took public transportation as there was a warning on the Melchsee-Frutt website saying that parking was limited. A reason was not listed, but when we got there it looked like the reason was mud. (I didn’t take any pictures of this part of the trip, but if you want to know what the parking area and gondola station look like, see my post on sledding at Melchsee-Frutt.)

Anyway, after getting off the bus at Stöckalp, we saw that the sledding route which we had intended to do, was now closed. We were disappointed. But, wanting to make best of it, we decided to do one of the winter hiking routes that were listed as open. We then took the gondola up to Melchsee-Frutt Dorf and followed some signs for winter hiking through a brief walk through town past the Frutt Resort hotel.

After taking the panorama elevator (picture 2), we continued on the path towards Distelboden. After about 500 m we came to the sign in the third picture which indicated the start of the Tannalp loop. We chose to go clockwise around the loop and were happy with our choice. You can hike the loop in either direction and I don’t think it matters much which direction you choose. Either way would be nice.

The Trail

The trail is well groomed and easy walking. As we headed up the trail towards Tannalp, we had beautiful snowscape views and marvelous blue skies.

Along the way, the trail crosses and parallels the cross-country ski trail. I’ve never tried cross-country skiing, but maybe I should? It looks difficult but fun. Anyway, soon enough, the village of Tannalp, the far end of the loop, was in view.

If we hadn’t already had lunch, it would have been nice to stop at the restaurant in Tannalp. We ate there when we hiked the Bonistock ridge trail in the summer and enjoyed it.

At Tannalp, the trail takes a sharp turn and begins the loop back to Frutt (marked here with only the 790 snowshoe trail marker, but still our hiking trail.) This section of the hike had some wonderful views over the frozen Tannensee reservoir.

As we hiked back towards Frutt, we paused to take some pictures of ourselves enjoying the trail. It didn’t take long before the end of the hike was in view.

While it was only about 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun had already gone behind the ridge, and the valley was now mostly in shadow.

When we reached the panorama lift, we were at the end of the hike. As there was a long line to take the lift up (many skiers were done for the day), we just walked back up to Frutt Dorf. I took one last picture before heading to the gondola to go home.

Despite our disappointment at not being able to sled, we still had a great day out on this hike. A perfect way to enjoy the winter snow!

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