A year ago I was invited by the tourism agency of the canton of Schwyz to try out their new hiking route to review it for the newspaper I worked for. The itinerary was to hike some 120 kilometres in six days, covering an average of 1000 meters of altitude up and down daily. They called it the “Tour of the Kings” and when I was asked to take on the challenge, I immediately was game. It was a strenuous six-days-trip — but well worth it!
The hike was a loop starting and ending in Goldau via the Mythen, the Muotathal, the Klingenstock and the Rigi (a detailed itinerary is provided here). There would have been the option of shortcutting some of the peaks and descents with cableways, yet that would have felt like cheating, so my hiking companion and me hiked all the way. (We did take one tiny short-cut tough, so we’d have time to visit and cuddle with the Huskys at the Muotathaler Huskylodge). We were nevertheless humble enough to take the tourist office up on their offer to transport our luggage from hotel to hotel, so we could hike only with tiny daypacks and still have clean and non-outdoorsy clothes for the evenings at the hotels. And also we didn’t say no to being invited to stay in some of the nicest hotels of the region (think spa at the end of the day).
But apart from these amenities, hiking was hiking nevertheless and starting our trek at the beginning of October it was also mainly hiking in the rain. And in the fog. And in the rain and the fog. The trail descriptions kept referring to spectacular views that we were supposed to see, yet most of the time we could barely see the next trail mark.
It was an extraordinarily beautiful hike nevertheless. The trail was fairly easy, though strenuous. Most of the times it made its way trough leafy forests and across alpine pastures, where you would navigate your way around overly eager mother cows and slippery stones hidden in the wet grass. Autumn turned the forests into seas of colours of reds and oranges and yellows that appeared extra radiant in the rain-clear air. The fog made every path and every valley seem super remote, and we felt at times as if we were the last people on earth.
And when at some points we emerged from the thick cloud cover, then the views were just stunningly beautiful. There they were, the Swiss alps with their countless peaks glowing in the sun, covered in snow, while all the valleys were still hidden below the clouds. Most impressive was the view from the Klingenstock, where after what seemed like countless switchbacks (accompanied by the steady and mocking humming of the nearby-tough-hidden-in the fog cableway), we were rewarded with a most amazing and fun trail along the ridge and with some extra spectacular views. Kanton Schwyz, we will be back!
Treats off the trail:
• Wellness at “Seminar- and Wellnesshotel Stoos”. Their wellness-area is tiny but super nice including a herbal sauna, a finish sauna and kneipp basin. What else could you ask for after a seven-hours hike.
• Dining at the Restaurant Bergsonne in Rigi Kaltbad. A lushly decorated dining room and a creative and tasty menu made this cosy restaurant one of our favourite places of the hike.
• Visit the Huskys at the Muothathaler Husky Lodge. They offer snowshoe-tours with the Huskies in winter and walks during the summer months. The lodge offers accommodation as well: in modern and stylish wooden rooms, some including their own private sauna.
• Swim and lounge in the spa in Rigi Kaltbad, which was designed by star architect Mario Botta. The outer basin with its view of the alps is especially nice.
The hike can be suited to hikers of all levels, since it can easily be cut short with cableways and public transport. Luggage transport from accommodation to accommodation can be arranged. There are many hotels, guesthouses and restaurants along the route. The whole trip can be booked online on Schwyz Tourismus’ website.
This trip was supported by Schwyz Tourismus.