Walking Tour: Bürgenstock Felsenweg

  • Start Bürgenstock
  • End Ennetbürgen
  • Length 7.5km; two to 2½ hours

This panoramic walk contours the Bürgenstock, a high limestone ridge that forms a peninsula reaching across Lake Lucerne. The route is gentle and suitable for families. The best available walking map is Nidwaldner Wanderwege’s 1:25,000 Nidwaldner Wanderkarte (Sfr22.50).

Take a ferry to Kehrsiten-Bürgenstock, then ride the funicular to Bürgenstock (874m). Once up top, walk east through the Bürgenstock Hotels resort, then turn left onto a broad gravelled walkway. Frequent breaks in the trees offer views across sparkling Lake Lucerne.

After 30 to 35 minutes, you come to the Hammetschwand-Lift, a skeletal 160m structure built in 1905 that's still the highest free-standing lift in Europe. Decide whether to take the high road or the low road.

For the high-road option, take the minute-long ride (adult/child Sfr10/5) to Hammetschwand and savour the panorama at Hammetschwand Restaurant before walking to the lookout at 1128m, from where a trail leads down through pastures and mixed woodlands to Chänzili (1025m).

Alternatively, forgo the lift and take the awe-inspiring 'low road' along the cliff face through a series of short tunnels blasted into the vertical rock walls. After emerging from the last tunnel, follow the white-red-white marked path (signposted Waldstätterweg) east along the wooded crest of the ridge to Chänzili.

From Chänzili, the trail zigzags steeply down through forest and intermittent exposed rock faces to reach Mattgrat (792m), 25 to 30 minutes on. Pass a series of woodpiles on your left and briefly cross through pastureland before plunging back into forest, bearing left at a signposted fork not far before descending to the historic St Jost Kapelle (20 to 25 minutes from Mattgratt).

A long descent from the chapel leads through pastureland, eventually reaching a signposted path that doubles back briefly left alongside an overgrown fence. After crossing a minor road the route steers right again and sidles along the lightly forested lakeside to meet a sealed street at the edge of Ennetbürgen. Follow this straight down past the ferry dock to arrive at the village centre, 40 to 50 minutes from St Jost.