Winter William Tell Swiss Path Hike & Cruise – Itinerary
The walk’s starting point is the village of Seelisberg which is reached by train and post bus, a journey through farmland alongside the lake before climbing up the cliffs. At Seelisberg you have an early lunch at a typical small village restaurant as it will be too cold for an outdoors picnic!
Start the walk itself with a super panoramic view of the surrounding Alps and Lake Uri directly down below. Cheese-lovers can make an optional quick stop at the family-run Aschwanden Cheese Dairy. Here the cheesemaker will tell you about the award-winning cheeses they make and it is a great place to buy locally made “Alp” cheese; they will even double-vacuum pack the cheese should you wish to take it home.
The walk continues past the Maharishi European Research University in a former grand hotel of the Belle-Epoque era. The MERU was founded in the 1970s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (spiritual guide to the Beatles) and if the entrance is open, enter and ring the Bell of Enlightenment.
You now enter the “Tannwald” pine forest and reach one of the most picturesque viewing spots over Lake Uri and the Rütli meadow, the legendary “place of birth” of Switzerland in 1291. The trail is level on hard packed dirt with protruding rocks and roots yet very pristine with a special spiritual feeling.
Continue walking on up an incline with steps leading to the 16th century “boutique castle” of Beroldingen, past farm houses and meadows, all the time with views of Lake Uri and the surrounding Alps with the entrance to famous Gotthard valley for company.
During the next 45 minutes descend 350 m / 1150 ft via 850 stone steps to the picturesque village of Bauen, nestled on the lake shore. There are many benches for great vista rest stops along the way.
Depending on remaining time and the weather, explore Bauen before catching the boat at 16:21 (4:21 pm) for a well-earned 2 hour lake cruise all the way back to the starting point in Lucerne. As you cruise along Lake Uri, look up at the sheer cliffs along the top of which you walked, and see the Rütli meadow from lake level.
The Swiss Path was created in 1991 to commemorate Switzerland’s 700-year anniversary. The rationale to why and how it was built provides an interesting snapshot into Swiss life.
The 35 km trail recognizes each of the cantons making up Switzerland with markers announcing each canton along the route. The length of route for each canton is proportional to the population at the time of building and the order is determined by the order in which the cantons joined the Swiss federation.
The Swiss Path is built so that every 5 millimeters represents one Swiss citizen and also shows the 26 different cantons in chronological order. One literally walks through the history of the country.
On our hike we will see the stone plaque of the Canton of Zurich with the 1351 date when it joined the Swiss confederation. Also you will hear the 13th century historical context of how the opening of the Gotthard Pass, then and still today, the shortest North-South European trade route affected the local farmers in the valley and the relationship with the then Holy Roman Emperor, The Habsburg monarchy.