Up the Hammetschwand Elevator
With a forecast of overcast conditions for the entire day, I was torn between a rail trip to the Oberalp, a hike to the village of Bauen or a second attempt to visit Burgenstock for the Hammetschwand Elevator. A small blue patch of sky opened up over Burgenstock to help with the decision. We rushed to the elevator with typical Swiss precision on a bus / train / bus ride that took less than an hour.
Hammetschwand Elevator, Burgenstock
The trail to the Hammeschwand elevator is easy to find at the east edge of the Burgenstock Hotel grounds. The cliff side trail and switchbacks are wide and safe with lovely views along the route. The hike to the elevator from the hotel takes about 40 minutes. We were pleased to find out the Hammetschwand Elevator also accepted our Tell Pass. The skies and the lake were a beautiful blue for our ascent up the elevator. The lovely weather and the strangeness of a glass elevator attached to a sheer cliff side made this one of our most memorable experiences of our one week in Beckenried. At the top you catch views not only toward Lucerne but to the Alps, Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus.
Hammetschwand – Back Down
We spent only a few minutes enjoying the views at the top of the elevator before riding down again and retracing our route to the hotel. To catch the Hammetschwand back down, there is a typical elevator call button. When the elevator arrives at the top, there is no attendant. You get in and don’t need to push a down button. The ride begins automatically when the doors close. You meet the cashier at the bottom where you present your ticket.
Hammetschwand Elevator, Felsenweg Trail
On the hike back to the hotel we could see the rain clouds quickly approaching Lucerne. We also crossed paths with the first group of local tourists who had arrived by boat from Lucerne, but they were too late. The lovely views had already faded away in the approaching storm.
Burgenstock to Lucerne
After a bit of a wait at the hotel, we rode the funicular down to Kehrsiten and then immediately caught the boat to Lucerne. On the boat ride, heavy rains poured down on us. When we reached Lucerne, we decided to return to our lakeside hotel at the Niwaldnerhof. The quickest option was a train to Stans and our very familiar Bus #311 from there to our hotel in Beckenried.
After lunch at the local bakery in Beckenried and a short rest, the day had again turned sunny. We rode the Klewenalp gondola up for an afternoon coffee in the sunshine. The views of Lake Lucerne, Beckenried and Brunnen were lovely. We hoped to sit outside for dinner at our hotel that evening, but instead enjoyed thunder, lightning, heavy rain and a magnificent double rainbow from our inside seating.
Lake Lucerne Rainbow
Kelwenalp / Stockhutte Again
Our last day in the Lake Lucerne area was forecasting afternoon clear skies, but the weather was already looking promising at breakfast. The plan was to visit Bauen by boat this day, but we altered plans to start with yet another trip up the gondola near our hotel to Klewenalp. The 80 person gondola was nearly full this weekend morning, as locals were heading up to try the various hiking routes at the top. I showed my wife the trail route we had missed earlier in the week and she decided we should give the 1.5 hour hike a second try. This was a much more enjoyable hike the second time around.
Klewenalp Hike Options
When we reached Emmetten at the bottom of the Stockhutte gondola, we had an hour to get to the Beckenried boat dock including a 45 minute wait for the bus first. In our impatience, we decided to hike down to the boat dock instead of waiting for the bus. What a big mistake! The hike down soon turned from easy into a forested, steep and treacherous switchback descent. After 40 minutes of slippery wooden steps, our legs were shaking and we were sweltering in the mid day heat. We made the steam boat in Beckenried with a few minutes to spare. To add insult to injury, the bus we could have taken arrived a couple minutes before the boat did.
Gallia Steamboat, Lake Lucerne
The first class steamboat ride on the Gallia was a pleasure. We snacked under the open air awning encircled by turquoise waters and sail boats. Our journey took us to Treib, Brunnen, Rutli and Sisikon before we reached Bauen. The weather was perfect in Bauen, but we only had just over 10 minutes to walk to the small village church beside the lake. The church turned out to be a very quick and easy find. A few minutes later we were on another boat back to Beckenried.
Bauen, Lake Lucerne
We finished our visit to Lake Lucerne with an outdoor 3 course dinner at the water’s edge of the Nidwaldnerhof Hotel patio. The evening was the perfect ending to one of the best vacations we have ever had. Living among the locals instead of tourists, the lovely views and exquisite daily cuisine at the Nidwalnderhof Hotel, plus the myriad of easily accessible day trip options in Beckenried made our vacation incredible.