Map

Thumbnail for the map of the modified Schweizmobil 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' (590) hiking trail, opens link to interactive web map.
Source1: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

Elevation Profile

Elevation profile of the modified Schweizmobil 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' (590) hiking trail.
Source1

Useful Links

Original Route
Bus Stop
Free Parking
Weather
Cable Car

Short Description

Höhenweg Maderanertal (losely: “Panoramic route of Madera Valley”), in its official form, leads from Golzeren mountain station to Golzeren lake, up to Windgällen hut, along a panoramic trail overlooking the valley, then back to the start through said valley, following Chärstelen Creek.

In my version I skipped the cable car (as usual), adding a bit of an initial ascent and completing the circuit.

Maderanertal itself is famous among other things for its alpine views and rich mineral deposits, the latter manifesting in the shape of ubiquitous little self service kiosks selling mountain crystals along the way.


Impressions

In part to train myself a bit for some hopefully upcoming multi-day hikes, I decided to add a decently long hike after the nice but rather short ‘Urwaldweg Bödmeren’ tour the day before.

View of Chärstelenbach from the 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' hiking route in Uri, Switzerland.
Chärstelenbach

Running a calorie deficit (as part of a workout regime) while hiking was a new situation for me and so the typical lunch and snack portion sizes I brought along for a hike of this length would prove to be a mistake. But more on that later.

A(n almost) secret forest for the ascent-aficionados.

Taking the cable car means saving oneself a chunk of the ascent of course, but it also means skipping a lovely natural stone forest path that may be enjoyed (almost) in solitude, thanks to the existence of the aforementioned cable car.

It also only took me an hour flat instead of the estimated two. I was still feleling fresh at this point.

View of the Swiss Alps along the 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' hiking route in Uri, Switzerland.
Swiss alpine hiking postcard #42.

I soon joined the official path, which for a brief moment between the cable car station and Golzern lake resembled more of a highway, and enjoyed the scenerey during the ascent to Windgällen hut, where I was planning to have the lunch I brought with me along with an apple spritzer, an ideal isotonic beverage. At least the kind I had in mind.

Now the calorie deficit in combination with already having somewhat depleted my glycogen stores on yesterday’s hike started to make itself known though. For the first time ever, I started feeling weak and at times almost dizzy during a hike. So I sat down and had a snack I planned on having later.

That helped a bit, but the way up to the hut was marked by an interesting combination of frequent stops to catch my breath one minute, and weirdly light legs, energy, and clear-headedness the next. Had this trail been any kind of technical or the least bit dangerous, I would have sat down, had my lunch, and then perhaps turned around. But with things as they were, I decided to push on to the hut and have a long break there, then see how I feel.

Windegällenhütte, as seen from the 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' hiking route in Uri, Switzerland.
Windgällen Hütte: A welcome sight.

Well, what I hoped would be something along the lines of Möhl, or another unfiltered sweet cider turned out to be Ramseier, a decidedly chemical tasting and entirely too sweet “apple drink”, but I still enjoyed my lunch and the view from the hut before getting back on the trail.

What I did not enjoy, however, was the air bubble left in my stomach by the lightly carbonated drink that for the life of me I could not seem to get rid of.

The panoramic trail and its views.

Surrounded by magnificent mountain views and perfect weather, I was finding it hard to appreciate the scenery while dealing with weakness, cold sweats, and general queasiness. Not ideal. Nor was the lack of any mobile reception all day, in case of emergency.

I also wasn’t sure how much of this was due to the calorie deficit, how much due to this air bubble (I felt worse after lunch instead of better) or whether the lentils I had for lunch had sat in the fridge for a day too long.

I was straight up not having a good time.

Anyway, once I had left all the best views, glacial creeks and waterfalls behind me, I found a good spot to sit down and have all the rest of the food originally intended for later, and then a miracle happened: I managed to produce a burp, and instantly felt completely fine again.

Lovely spot for a second lunch out of the sun.

Oh well. Mental notes: Bring more food than you think you need if you haven’t been eating at maintenance or above before the hike, and stay away from (lightly) carbonated beverages.

The rest of the route was then a breeze, and I was enjoying myself thoroughly again. From finally crossing sturdy wooden bridges instead of rickety metal planks again, basking in the cool glacial breeze of the various crossed thundering creeks and waterfalls, to the forests in golden evening light, I was having a grand old time and glad I pushed through.

Berghotel Maderanertal, as seen on the 'Höhenweg Maderanertal' hiking route in Uri, Switzerland.
Berghotel Maderanertal, looking almost deserted if it weren’t for the cars, and more than a bit creepy.

One oddity worth mentioning along the road: Berghotel Maderantertal. Looking completely desolate and more than a bit run down from one side, it turned out to be obviously well patronized once having crossed the creepy courtyard and catching a glimpse of its restaurant terrace in the sunlight. Still, a gloomy place I wouldn’t want to spend a night at. All that was missing was fog and howling wolves.

I love golden hour in the forest.

By contrast, the already mentioned forests in golden hour lent a wholesome fairytale atmosphere to much of the way back and I got to enjoy the mountain and valley scenery plenty.

Gross Düssi, probably.

Some more local oddities and points of interest later (see full gallery below) and after having almost been run over by a teen on a silent running mountainbike, I was back where I started; Exhausted, but happy, and richer in experiences and lessons learned.

Chärstelenbach, providing a very welcome, still almost glacier-cool breeze.

When well prepared and when being less dramatic about everything, this is a fantastically interesting day hike definitely worth doing.

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.

NEWSLETTER

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Basic Data

Date of Hike:2022-07-03
Participants:Roman (Solo)
Technical Difficulty:T2: Mountain Trail

Stats

Roman’s Version

Km18.6
Net Hours (Est.)7.5
Net Hours (Act.)6
Ascent (m)1400
Descent (m)1400
Max. Alt. (m)2033
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?No

“Official” Version

Km16
Net Hours (Est.)5.5
Ascent (m)840
Descent (m)1400
Max. Alt. (m)2033
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?Yes
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