Map

Thumbnail for the map of the modified Schweizmobil 'Benediktusweg' (569) hiking trail. Opens link to interacive web map.
Source1

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile of the modified Schweizmobil 'Benediktusweg' (569) hiking trail.
Source1: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

Useful Links

Original Route
Train Station
Paid Parking
Weather

Short Description

“Benediktusweg” is a long, one way hiking trail leading from the monastery of Engelberg to the monastery of Niederrickenbach (a.k.a. Maria-Rickenbach). From there, the original version of the route has the hiker taking the cable car down to Dallenwil, while my version concludes the hike by foot.

The trail mostly alternates between forest and alpine pastures with a speck of highlands, offering views of the Engelberg valley and the Nidwald Alps along the way.

Notes

  • The descent following Walenap (before Oberrickenbach) is not possible as marked on the original map (farmer closed the trail halfway through with barbed wire fences.) Refer to my map instead, until it is fixed on the official map.

Impressions

Having learned from my mistakes during last week’s Höhenweg Maderanertal hike, I brought plenty of easily portionable food this time around to minimize the impact of the calorie deficit I’m still running. The plan was to have a small and break every two hours.

Engelberg

Apart from having wanted to do this hike for quite a while, it should also serve to gauge my current fitness level and whether ten (estimated) hours of hiking per day would be feasible for the first multi-day hike I’m planning on doing this summer as a conclusion to my first cut, hopefully helping with shaving off those stubborn last few pounds. Stay tuned.

View during the ascent.

The first, steeper and longer of the two ascents led mostly though meadows interspersed with a few forest patches and went rather swimmingly.

The paragliders seemed to be out in force today. Or maybe this is always a preferred location, especially during nice weather like this of course.

Having apparently stumbled upon a nest of them about halfway up, I wondered what you might call a group of paragliders. I know it’s a murder of crows, a glaring of cats, a superfluidity of nuns, a sloth of bears, but what shall we dub this kind of swarm? I eventually settled on a “privilege of paragliders”.

Lots and lots of paragliders in the sky.
A privilege of paragliders.

The rest of the ascent was a continuation of the usual meadow and forest paths, with an increase in (bipedal) foot traffic a few hundred meters around the odd cable car station.

View during the ascent.

Inbetween these human hotspots, one is able to enjoy some solitude. And kill some horseflies just as- or just after they land and start sucking blood every few meters.

View during the ascent.

The highest point of the route was reached after a satisfyingly timed two hours, meaning it was time for the first small meal consisting of half a thermos of leftover lentil soup. Not the worst idea for hiking, by the way.

View during the ascent.

Having enjoyed the view for a bit, it was time to move on. Unusually for me, I had a train to catch (to get back to the parked car).

This one is a model.

This highland portion of the route was my personal highlight of the hike. I love this type of landscape, I met some friendly people along the way, one of which was sporting a butterfly that mistook her for a flower, and I have a weakness for cows.

Butterfly, not my finger.

This first descent featured mostly forest roads, some of which were downright lovely.

View during the first descent.

The other highlight of the day was this awesome view of the surrounding mountains once emerging from those forests.

Walenstöcke and Rigidalstock peaks (probably). Astonishing view in person.

The low point of the day, and not only because it’s the lowest point of the original route was Oberrickenbach. I was planning on having my lunch here, but as it turns out, there doesn’t seem to be a single bench in the whole village, not counting the bus station.

I guess my imagination ran wild with that romantic idea of a cobbled town square with a fountain surrounded by benches (I also wanted to refill my water since the soup turned out to be a bit too salty to count as a beverage.)

Incidentally, why is Oberrickenbach (Upper Rickenbach) the one at lower altitude than- and south of Niederrickenbach (Lower Rickenbach)? Stupid, misnamed, benchless village.

The Bench. It’s perfect.

Oh well, on I went back up the hill, stomach rumbling, until I did eventually find a bench. It even came with a view and good company.

I know that farm! (See: Schneeschuhtrail Maria-Rickenbach).
Stanserhorn and Pilatus Mountains rising from the fog in winter, with a farm house on a hill in the foreground, as seen on the maria-rickenbach snowshoe trail in Nidwalden, Switzerland.
Stanserhorn and Pilatus rising from the fog, with a farm on a hill, the view of which I fell in love with.

Near the second “peak” of the route, it was cool to see the subject of one of my favorite photographs from a different angle and during a different season.

Niederrickenbach / Maria-Rickenbach as seen from a distance through the trees.
Niederrickenbach / Maria-Rickenbach

Another roughly two hours after The Bench ™, I was on the lookout for the next opportunity to sit, preferably with a view.

I know what you’re going to say: “Why this obsession with benches? Just sit down and eat, city slicker.” Well, it just so happens that the only options to sit on these kinds of roads are often either the road itself, or the bushes and tall grass by the roadside, a.k.a. tick central. The farmers usually also don’t really like seeing you picnicking on their meadows.

The Bench. Part Deux.

Ah yes, a bench. So I had my third meal near Maria-Rickenbach, as the roughly hundred people I overtook between that strangely crowded mountain restaurant and here passed me by. Once again enjoying the view.

The official route would be over in a couple of minutes, but as usual, I opted for the longer version without the cable car, so after Niederrickenbach, I began my final descent.

It’s a pilgrimage thing, I guess.

The first part was rather nice, with some interesting scenery pieces, but I have to admit the forest portion of the route I chose was rather dull and not exactly attractive. This is one instance where I might take the cable car down if I do it again. Also because I didn’t enjoy being swarmed by horseflies near the river at the end.

So, conclusion?

  • Can currently do 10 theoretical hours without being exhausted at the end? Check.
  • Can get those done in 7 hours net? Check.
  • Can do long hikes on a calorie deficit by having small meals frequently? Check.
  • Enjoyed Benediktusweg? Check.

Seems I passed the first of my tests for that longer hike I’m planning. Fingers crossed the rest works out as well.

Epilogue

In sadder news, this hike also served as the swan song to my beloved Ecco Biom C-Trail trail runners, the perfect shoe for (dry, rocky) alpine hikes (for me). Their treads were completely worn out and I was already not using them for any serious, even slightly technical terrain anymore since last year’s Fürstin Gina Weg hike. I will continue to use them for things like biking. Waste not, want not.

In even sadder news, they stopped making this model and the successor model seems completely unsuitable for hiking. As such, I had been using my winter shoes far longer than planned this year, as I was unable to find a good replacement so far.

Baby’s first bath

Imagine “I will remember you” playing, as you somberly swipe though the gallery, paying respects to my beloved shoes. They lived a full life.


Out with the old, in with the new. Drumroll for my new summer hiking shoes:

It’s Ecco Biom C-Trails!

I found a third party seller on Amazon who still had a pair in my size, delaying the inevitable quest for an acceptable replacement by another two years, hopefully.


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

Don’t miss a hike 🙂

Basic Data

Date of Hike:2022-07-16
Participants:Roman (Solo)
Technical Difficulty:T1-T2

Stats

Roman’s Version

Km26.55
Net Hours (Est.)9.5
Net Hours (Act.)7
Ascent (m)1633
Descent (m)2147
Max. Alt. (m)1878
Loop?No
Cable Car?No

“Official” Version

Km22
Net Hours (Est.)8.25
Ascent (m)1900
Descent (m)1450
Max. Alt. (m)1878
Loop?No
Cable Car?Yes
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