Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 17 Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft

Stage 17 of the Trans Swiss trail is 10 km long with 340 m ascent and 100 m descent and goes from Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft. This section is a pleasant lake-side stroll followed by a climb into the hills on the pilgrimage path of Nicholas von Flüe, the patron Saint of Switzerland.

Detail Summary
Where:Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Canton Obwalden , Switzerland
Train/Bus: Zürich HB -> Giswil, Bahnhof – 1 hr 29 min

Flüeli-Ranft, Dorf -> Zürich HB – 1 hr 55 min
What: Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Yellow trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
Skill: Easy – About 2 hrs 45 min
Length 10 km, Ascent 340 m, Descent 100 m

Additional Information

Photo Stories for Other Stages
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

Getting There

The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 17 picks right up where stage 16 left off, at the Giswil train station.

After a short stroll through Giswil, the path follows the main road out of town.

The Trail

Shortly after leaving town, the path leaves the main road and follows a stream down to the shore of the Sarnersee lake. For the next 5 kilometers or so, the trail stays along the lake shore, often sandwiched by the train tracks.

The views across the Sarnersee were very pretty. The water was also very clear and we saw a lot of fish.

Much of the shore line was private property, but there were a few public areas for swimming including the Badi Beizli where we stopped to have our picnic. Shortly afterwards, we came to the Sachseln train station. Here, the trail leaves the lake shore and heads towards the hills.

As we were walking through Sachseln, we passed the church dedicated to the memory of Saint Nicholas von Flüe. The mosaics on the outside of the church were quite nice and so we decided to step inside. There, I looked at a brochure about Nicholas von Flüe and learned that he was and I quote “an irritating Saint.” After seeing visions, he decided to leave his wife (Dorothea Wyss) and 10 children to become a hermit. I’m not sure that irritating is the word they wanted to use, but it is possible that they did, as the story says his wife happily gave him her blessing to go and be a hermit. He was, by most accounts, a very popular hermit and many people came to visit him and seek his advice. His advice was said to be very good and in fact, advice he gave in 1481 is credited with preventing a war between the Swiss cantons.

After leaving the church, the trail continues up the hill towards the town of Flüeli-Ranft, the birth place and home of Nicholas von Flüe. This is a pilgrimage path and along the way are sculptures and messages to inspire prayer and contemplation.

When we reached Flüeli-Ranft, we were at the end of our hike and at several of the main Nicholas von Flüe historical sites. We took some time to walk past the statue of Nicholas von Flüe and to explore the chapel dedicated to his birthplace. The view of the town from the chapel was very pretty.

After getting some gelato (there a couple of restaurants in town here), we still had some time until our bus and so we went into the original home of Nicholas and his wife Dorthea. One of the items displayed was a picture from when the pope visited this site.

After we exited the house, it was time to get our bus home.

Getting Back

The Flueli-Ranft, Dorf bus stop is across the street from the historical home of Nicholas and Dorthea, so we were there in plenty of time after our sight seeing.

While this wasn’t my favorite stage of the the Trans Swiss hike, I did learn something new about Swiss history as I had never heard of Nicholas von Flüe before this hike. Makes me wonder what we will discover on the next stage.

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