One of my favorite places to go hiking in Nidwalden in one of the many trails up Klewenalp. The views are beautiful, it never feels to crowded, The lift fee’s are reasonable (comparably and especially if you have 1/2 tax card), and it’s very close by for me. If you are coming from Lucerne take the train to Stans and catch a bus to Beckenried. The stop you’ll want to listen for is “Beckenried Post”. Also at this stop is a tourism information office just in case you want to know about more about the area. If you choose to drive there is a large free parking lot at Klewenalp gondola station. You will see large white arrow shaped directional signs pointing you uphill toward the Gondola building.
Tip- if you want to grab a picnic lunch there is a bakery here on the corner or a Volge grocery store just up the street on the way to the lift. If you do not want to picnic there are plenty of restaurants at the top. There are also loads of other recreational activities other than hiking that you can enjoy at Klewenalp, pick up a little brochures at the lift office, every gas station and grocery store and train station and tourism office in the area.
The Cable car leaves every 30 minutes and sometimes on busy days even more often to accommodate the crowds. Tickets for the cable car are purchased at the window and you may choose round trip or one way if you plan to come down the mountains in a different place. Our itinerary included a descent from Niederrikenbach, and we were also able to purchase the lift ticket for that at the same time (half tax cards are recognized at both locations). We began the (terrifying for me) exhilaration ascension up the mountain, if you can bear to peek I hear to views of lake Vierwalderstattersee are breathtaking. For me the cable car experiences are breathtaking enough with out looking!
Once safely at the top we began our “wonder”. We spent the day hiking toward Niederrikenbach and serendipitously hiked all the way up to the Musenalp peak. I was with a friend and my 4 year old daughter and we had perfect weather the whole day.
If you go to Niederrikenbach as directed I think it is an easy walk even for small children. We took breaks along the way for a picnic and photos and to enjoy the peace of the mountain tops. It took us about 4 hours, but the signs would indicate 2-2.5. I suppose if you are a Swiss mountain goat in a hurry you could do it easily, but as a mom in less-than-optimal fitness condition and encouraging a four year old along the trail with snacks, and conversations with the local wildlife (cattle populations are abundant) than I suggest planning for about double the recommended time.
Be warned: a short portion of the hike up to Musenalp peak was challenging for a small child, there was a rocky steep cliff to climb, and while we were able to do it no problem, I just want to warn those parents out there who might want a heads up. If you can conquer the climb (there is a wire rope/railing to help steady yourself) you will be rewarded with soft rolling hills at the top, perfect for those sound of music style photos.
Of course at the peak there is a lovely little farm with a restaurant that looks to serve hearty and delicious food. I saw a meringue dessert that was almost worth the extra 1/2 hour distraction but since we were a little off course I proceeded straight to the private gondola that takes you down another steep and terrifying (others might refer to it as exhilarating) cliff right at the foot of the Niederichenbach gondola station.
The cost of the ticket was an extra 7 chf for adults and my daughter was free. If you love the views from a little container surrounded in glass dangling from a wire – than you will certainly find this hike especially fun, my children love it! Once we were returned to our route and our schedule we waited for the next gondola down to Dallenwill. It also departs every 30 minutes and takes your breath away. At the bottom of the mountain looking up you can safely appreciate the view of the steep decent and the reward of accomplishment for having enjoyed a long afternoon of exercise and fresh air in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From here, walk through the parking lot and follow directional signs to the train. It is across the street and while you wait you can admire the mint green glacier water flowing through the river next to you. The train will take you quickly back to Stans bahnhoff (less than 10 minutes) where you started.