Walenpfad Ristis–Bannalp

Hiking Trail
11.4 km
Travel time
approx. 4 ½ h
Tour details
Tour details
Walenpfad Ristis–Bannalp
Photo: Engelberg - Titlis Tourismus, Engelberg-Titlis Tourismus
Walenpfad Ristis–Bannalp
Photo: Engelberg - Titlis Tourismus, Engelberg-Titlis Tourismus
Walenpfad Ristis–Bannalp
Photo: Engelberg - Titlis Tourismus, Engelberg-Titlis Tourismus
A magnificent high-altitude hike linking the Brunni and Bannalp regions. Your backdrop: the mountain world of the Walenstöcke massif, with sweeping vistas of the Mittelland. The path begins in meadowland and then gradually becomes more Alpine as you pass idyllic Lake Bannalp.

The route starts at Ristis, which you reach by cable car from Engelberg. You can stop for a bite to eat here before you set out: there is a toboggan run as well as a large children's playground for families. The first section climbs to Lake Härzli near the Brunni hut. You can see medicinal plants in their natural habitat on two medicinal herb trails around Lake Härzli, which is also circled by the "Tickle Path" (Kitzelpfad) – a beautifully designed barefoot trail. With shoes and socks off, you can feel sand, gravel, water or wood chips under your feet.

After an almost flat section across lush Alpine meadows and forests, a short descent followed by a climb bring you to Walenalp settlement. A barbecue grill with views into the Mittelland invites you to linger. Then comes the longest climb of this tour, up to the Walegg. Your reward: a fabulous view of Lake Bannalp and the surrounding mountains beyond Engelberg Valley. Prominent peaks include Mount Brisen and Buochser Horn. Now your surroundings change dramatically: you hike through wilder scenery with rugged rock faces, scree and craggy peaks. You are about to tackle the precipitous passage through the Walengräben rifts. The path is narrow and you need to be sure-footed, but it is well secured. All that effort makes the view of Lake Bannalp even more stunning!

Continue downhill to the goat pastures at Oberdorf, another highlight of the tour: sample home-grown products such as goat cheese, meat and yoghurt here. The closing stages are equally pleasant: pass through Oberfeld and Unterstafel, and enjoy stunning views of idyllic Lake Bannalp as you head for Chrüzhütte cable car station. If there's time, pause again at the Bannalp – a real gem of Nidwalden Canton. This pre-Alpine high valley is encircled by mighty peaks. Barbecue grills stocked with wood will tempt you to tarry.

Technical details

Tour type
Hiking Trail
Starting point
Point of arrival
3 / 6
679 m
557 m
Best Time of Year
June, July, August, September, October
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Good to know

Accessible by bus and train
Further information & links