Hiking the Hohle Gasse Historical Path – Immensee to Küssnacht am Rigi

We were looking for low-key walk that had a bit of interest but wasn’t too strenuous, and this hike was just the thing. This easy trail (just under 5 k) took us from Immensee to Küssnacht am Rigi. Along the way, we walked the narrow passage where legend says Wilhelm Tell shot the Austrian bailiff Gessler (The Hohle Gasse) and we explored the castle ruins at Gesslerberg. We were about a week too early for blossoming trees (they were juuuust starting to bloom), but the mountain and lake views were lovely anyway.

Detail Summary
Where:Immensee to Küssnacht am Rigi,
Canton Schwyz, Switzerland
Train:Zürich HB -> Immensee – 1 hr 10 mins
Küssnacht am Rigi – > Zurich HB – 1 hr 18 min
What:Historical Walk around Hohle Gasse

Yellow trail markers
Immensee -> Hohle Gasse -> Gesslerburg -> Küssnacht
Skill:Easy – About 1 hr 15 min
(Plus extra time to explore the Hohle Gasse and castle ruins at Gesslerberg)
Length 4.2 km, Ascent 133 m, Descent 89 m

Additional Info

Getting There

This is a point-to-point hike, so best done with public transportation. Our plan had been to take the train to Immensee, and start the hike at the train station by following the signs towards Hohle Gasse. Unfortunately, we missed our train. We got the next bus to Immensee, but then got off at the wrong stop and we weren’t near the trail. Looking at the map, it appeared we could join the trail starting at the ferry station, so to get our bearings, we walked down to the lake shore. After enjoying the view over the water by the ferry station, we spotted the yellow trail sign for Hohle Gasse and we were on our way.

The Trail

About ten minutes after leaving the ferry station, we passed the Bahnhoffweg path where we would have joined the trail had we started at the train station. From here, we continued to follow the signs towards Hohle Gasse, up through town.

Just past the Gymnasium (school), we came to the Hohle Gasse. According to the legend, this narrow passage is where Wilhelm Tell shot the Austrian bailiff Gessler. The trail continues to the left here towards Gessler, but as the passage is relatively short (about 100 m), it is worth the detour to walk down it. At the bottom of the passage is a pavilion with a multi-media presentation about the Wilhelm Tell legend (and also bathrooms should you need one.) The presentation is available in a few languages including english at the press of a button. It even plays the Wilhelm Tell overture at the end (of course).

After walking back up the Hohle Gasse, we followed the signs towards Gessler. This pretty walk through fields and orchards offered some lovely views.

As we walked, I noticed the castle ruins on the next hill-top over (The Gesslerberg), but I wasn’t able to get a good picture of it from far away. You can almost make out the ruins in the center of the first picture below. Just after the trail passed a mill house in the valley, rather than continuing on towards Küssnacht, we took a detour and followed the signs up to Gesslerberg and the castle ruins.

When you reach the top, you can walk around (and on) the castle ruins. There are some metal bars up for balance, but be careful, you really are exploring at your own risk. The views from the ruins are quite good and there are a number of fire pits available. Not surprisingly, it was a popular spot for a picnic.

When we were done exploring the castle ruins, we walked back down to the mill house and continued on our way to Küssnacht. Here, the trail basically followed the road through town down to the lake.

When we reached the lake shore, we admired the view before turning right and following the signs to the train station.

Getting Back

We had a bit of a wait for the next train, but lucky for us, the train station has a lovely view.

This was an easy hike and made for a fun afternoon. Had we wanted to extend the day and restaurant dining were possible (someday Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted), there were several interesting options along the lake shore in Küssnacht am Rigi. Good to know should we do this path again.

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