This short snowshoe trail in central Switzerland leads from the small village of Niederrickenbach (a.k.a. Maria-Rickenbach) to Ahorn along meadows and forests, where it does a minor loop through forests and hills before leading back to the village on the same trail.
The main attraction of Maria-Rickenbach is the Benedictine Monastery of the same name, where some sisters remain today, selling teas, salves and some such. Until 1986 they took in up to ten underprivileged children from the valley per year.
- Snowshoes can be rented at the Wirzweli cable car station for 25 CHF a day. (Not “our” cable car station.)
Impressions / Report
When we picked this trail for our first ever snowshoe hike, we did so principally because it is relatively short and easy, and promised some great views of the central Swiss Alps.
The weather forecast promised sunshine and the snow report for the region declared all snowshoe trails “open” (unfortunately I couldn’t find more precise information, such as snow depth in cm.) All systems were go.
On the way to Dallenwil where we would take the cable car up to Niederrickenbach, we soon dove into a thick foggy soup. This wasn’t in the weather forecast, but we were all but sure that our trail at 1100-1300 m.a.s.l. would offer us great views of the sea of fog below.
Well, we were right about that part, as the cable car quickly left the fog behind.
Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky in the snow department. I mean yes, there was snow, and technically the trail was “open”, but snow shoes weren’t exactly required for most of it.
Granted, the metal prongs of the snowshoes did provide more traction than our hiking shoes, but we felt a bit stupid wearing them on the thin and compacted layer of snow most of the trail offered.
At least we were far from the only ones having suffered from such a lapse of judgement (or lack of publicly available and detailed information.)
Now when I say “suffered”, that paints a wholly inaccurate picture of the day we had, because superfluous snowshoes or no, we enjoyed a wonderful day and fantastic views in great weather.
At the highest point of the trail, there was even a bit of deep snow to try out what snowshoe hiking would usually feel like (the main point of today, apart from enjoyment).
And then there were the views… did I mention the views? Stanserhorn and Pilatus, as well as the central Swiss Alps in the back presented themselves in all their glory that day, with the sea of fog adding a bit of drama.
Finally, getting back to Maria-Rickenbach – now presenting itself from its best side against that gorgeous backdrop – we were far from exhausted and full of vigor for our next, more ambitious (and higher altitude) snowshoe adventure.
I’d love to revisit this trail in deeper snow, and would definitely recommend it to other beginners (or as a short tour in general). Just call the station first and get a snow depth figure…
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
Don’t miss a hike 🙂
|Date of Hike:||2022-01-15|
|Technical Difficulty:||T1: Easy|
|Net Hours (Est.)||2.3|
|Net Hours (Act.)||2.3|
|Max. Alt. (m)||1367|