Map

Thumbnail for the map of the 'Fürstin Gina Weg' trail, opens link to interactive web map.
Source1

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile for the map of the 'Fürstin Gina Weg' trail.
Source1: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

Useful Links

Original Route
Bus Stop
Free Parking
Weather
Cable Car

Short Description

Fürstin Gina Weg (“Princess Gina’s Trail), so named after the current regent’s late mother, is a medium length, medium intensity hike in the beautiful Lichtenstein alps, from Malbun to Augstenberg peak and back to Malbun via Pfälzerhütte.

The initial ascent may be replaced by a cable car ride.

My route includes a detour to Naafkopf peak.

Notes

  • Schweizmobil says the detour to Naafkopf and back requires 1.5h extra, but that is highly misleading. It takes approximately 1.5h each way, so around 3 hours at an average speed of 4km/h. The local sign has it at 2h for the way up.
  • The main trail is secured in exposed areas but you should have a good head for heights, and good shoes for loose gravel paths. This goes doubly if you include Naafkopf like I did, as there are some unsecured exposed areas during the final ascent.

Impressions

At the end of a summer that never really started (in Switzerland) I wanted to do at least one “real” hike this year, so I consulted my master spreadsheet of hikes, picked the most mountainous route with the highest point that should still be under the snow line, and set off to do Fürstin Gina Weg with the optional Naafkopf peak at 2569 meters (that’s 8428.478 feet, or 8207.6518764 GTX 3090 graphics cards lined up) above sea level.

I did of course not opt to take the optional cable car, as always, if possible.

I was reminded early on of the importance of being attentive to signs while hiking, as I missed the trail and continued on the regular road for a bit longer than I should have. But that’s a lesson that just doesn’t stick with me, as you can see in the gallery and later on.

The trail got slightly technical soon, and on the loose fine gravel paths I became very aware that my trail runners’ soles had reached the end of their lifetime, so I was extra careful. The truly dangerous spots are secured by ropes, yes, but slipping on a steep mountain trail is never a good feeling.

Along the way I was bombarded with a barrage of gorgeous views of both the Austrian and Swiss alps on either side of the trail, and may have taken more pictures than necessary. Either way, I had a fantastic time.

View of Gorfion peak with Panüler Kopf peak in the background. The scene is set in such a way that Gorfion looks like a David standing up to Goliath.
Gorfion in the foreground, towering Panüler Kopf in the background – I call it ‘Defiance’.

Augstenberg peak was soon reached and swiftly left behind, as it was not really the main attraction of my route and I had a bit of a late start (as usual) and was aiming to get back to the car by or before sunset (as usual).

After the enjoyable ridge walk to Pfälzerhütte (an alpine hut / restaurant), I changed clothes to something warmer (and drier), took note of the sign that claimed it would take me two hours to reach the peak (unacceptable) and set off.

I did see the snow near the peak from the bottom, so it didn’t come as a surprise that a shady portion of the path was snowed and iced over, but I had hoped it would only be wet.

Well, it was either turn back (the smart choice, given my shoes’ condition and the fact that I was alone) or press on (the stubborn and stupid choice), so on I pressed.

Funny side note: An app that monitors your progress and a dead man switch that notifies emergency contacts with your last location if you fail to check in within a given time frame so they can call Rega (alpine rescue) sounds great on paper; until your phone doesn’t have any reception for a hour or so (because you’re in the mountains, duh) and you can’t transmit the “OK” signal, causing your wife a fair bit of panic and almost sending a helicopter your way if you had been without reception for a few minutes longer.

Well, I made it to the top and enjoyed the amazing views in all directions, had a quick bite to eat, and made my way back down.

Another Lesson: The way down is always worse than the way up, so if a spot seems dangerous on the way up, consider turning back.

I obviously survived (didn’t even slip, just almost), but I wasn’t very happy with my earlier decision while crossing that snow patch on the way down. Nevertheless, the views and experience were worth it.

View of the Churfirsten mountain range (probably) and the Glarus alps (probably) from around Tälihöhi near Malbun. It's evening and the mountains are mainly visible as silhouettes while the cloudy sky is beautifully lit.
View of the Churfirsten mountain range (probably) and the Glarus alps (probably) from around Tälihöhi on the way back to Malbun.

Almost back at Pfälzerhütte, I was immersed in my thoughts and just didn’t notice the marmot sitting on its stone not ten meters directly in front of me. Not until it whistled at me and ran off, that is. I’ve never been so close to one and that would have been a great picture… so open your eyes, people! ^^

From here on it was just a relaxing way back to Malbun, getting to enjoy the earlier views of the Churfirsten range and Glarus alps now bathed in warm evening light. Just marvelous.

Definitely recommended, but maybe do it in summer 😉

Would you like to share your own experiences with this hike? Do you have any questions? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂


Route Report / Gallery

Full size images without watermarks are available for licensing to interested parties. Check romans.pictures for a selection of my favorites, or contact me for details.

  • View of Panüler Kopf
  • West view of Panüler Kopf
  • North view of Spitz Peak
  • West view of Panüler Kopf
  • Sign reading "You should only proceed if hiker, shoes, and clothes can be called mountain-ready"
  • small rockface climb secured by steel wire ropes
  • South view of Gorfion to the left and Augstenberg peak to the right
  • Spitz peak - with a man standing at the top.
  • View of Panüler Kopf from the West
  • View of Panüler Kopf from the West
  • North-West facing view from Augstenberg peak, Vaduz and Alpstein mountain range in the distance.
  • North facing view from Augstenberg peak: Malbun
  • North-West facing view from Augstenberg peak, Vaduz and Alpstein mountain range with Säntis in the distance.
  • South view from Augstenberg peakwith Naafkopf peak in the distance to the right (our goal).
  • Austrian alps as seen from Lichtenstein
  • Pfälzerhütte
  • Naafkopf forming a line with a rock in the foreground, looks cool.
  • Pfälzerhütte
  • Past Pfälzerhütte, the ascent to Naafkopf begins
  • Ecotanka Bottle and Deuter Backpack set down for a break at Naafkopf peak with the Austrian alps in the background.
  • North view from Naafkopf peak.
  • East view from Naafkopf peak.
  • South-East view from Naafkopf peak.
  • South view from Naafkopf peak.
  • West view from Naafkopf peak.
  • South view from Naafkopf peak: Balmen Alp and high plateau
  • North-West view from Naafkopf peak: Höttatal in front, Steg village in the back left. it's got a peculiar shape with the houses in two rings around two meadows. I've been meaning to look up the history behind that.
  • North view from Naafkopf peak: Pfälzerhütte
  • North view from Naafkopf peak: Augstenberg
  • View of Naafkopf on the way back down
  • View of Naafkopf from Pfälzerhütte, now back on the original path and on the way back to Malbun.
  • View of Naafkopf from the path back to Malbun
  • View of Naafkopf from the path back to Malbun
  • "Hötta" farm in "Höttatal" ("hut valley")
  • "Hötta" farm in "Höttatal" ("hut valley")
  • A marmot.
  • A marmot.
  • View of the Churfirsten mountain range (probably) and the Glarus alps (probably) from around Tälihöhi near Malbun. It's evening and the mountains are mainly visible as silhouettes while the cloudy sky is beautifully lit.
  • Malbun

NEWSLETTER

Don’t miss a hike 🙂

Basic Data

Date of Hike:2021-10-01
Participants:Roman (Solo)
Technical Difficulty:T3+: Difficult Mountain trail

Stats

Roman’s Version

Km17.17
Net Hours (Est.)7
Net Hours (Act.)5
Ascent (m)1494
Descent (m)1494
Max. Alt. (m)2569
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?No

“Official” Version

Km12
Net Hours (Est.)4.75
Ascent (m)950
Descent (m)950
Max. Alt. (m)2356
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?No
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