Zwärgliweg – Bannalp

Destination: Zwärgliweg, Bannalp, Oberrickenbach, Switzerland

Travel Diary:

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and we were not feeling like staying at home. Instead, we decided to load our stuff and kids into the car and head to our favorite place in the mountains. That would be The Valley of Engelberg, a paradise on earth. Only this time, we didn’t go all the way up to Engelberg but decided to try something else instead.

Let me tell you, I have been trying to find trails that would be suitable for our little family, but this has proven to be a tricky job. We need a trail that is doable with a buggy. Our smallest traveler, at the age of almost two, obviously can’t walk as much as the others. Most of the time, the information you find from websites is either incomplete, false or just lacking important pieces of information. It just happened a couple of times that we hiked a trail NOT designed for a buggy, and all because of false information. We ended up pushing the buggy through the stones, sweating, cursing and pissed off. Somehow the joy of hiking has escaped us these moments.

Anyway, during my never-ending search, I once run into Zwärgliweg, a hiking trail positioned to Bannalp. As usual, the information was incomplete, and the website didn’t work, but with what little information I was able to find, I wanted to try it out. The website told me that it is not a buggy-trail, but the time-estimate was only one hour, and the trail has been designed for kids with an exciting story and seven stations. This Sunday morning, we decided, heck with it, let’s try it without a buggy. We’ll just take turns carrying the little guy if he doesn’t want to walk.

So off we went, and mercifully our little boy decided to fall asleep on the way. What a perfect start! Now we wouldn’t have to worry about his naptime. We drove to the village called Oberrickenbach and took a cableway up to Bannalp. The place was stunningly beautiful, a hiking trail going around a little mountain lake. Our princess was running ahead of us, and the little guy was doing very well. That is until he got hungry. And we had lunch in the shadow of the mountain chapel. After lunch, our princess was running ahead of us again, and the little guy was again doing very well. That is until he got tired. So we carried him, taking turns. And we went through the whole trail without big drama (!), until we arrived at the last station, with the treasure. Yes, there was a treasure, and yes, our princess found it. But it was not designed to be taken with! What a horrible disappointment. And WHAT DRAMA! Well, of course. If the first station tells you that there is a treasure that can be found only by kids and that it’s red and shining. And you RUN through the whole trail to find the treasure… Of course, every kid wants to find a treasure and TAKE IT HOME!

Somehow our princess managed to get through the disappointment. And so, we had a snack and headed back home. It was a peaceful ride since the two tired little travelers were sound asleep on the back seat. Bannalp was a stunningly beautiful place, and it had been a beautiful day in the mountains. We will definitely hike this trail again. Now we know we can survive without a buggy! But speaking of treasures, next time I am going to take one with and hide it for the kids to find. Treasures, they are a serious matter!

A Hiker’s Guide for planning a hike:

Location: Bannalp, Oberrickenbach, the valley of Engelberg (Kanton Nidwalden, Switzerland)

With a car: Navigate to 6387 Oberrickenbach. The gondola station is well-guided and there is enough parking space around it. Or without navigator: Take the exit Stans Süd from A2 towards Engelberg. When you reach Wolfenschiesse, turn left towards Oberrickenbach.

Public Transportation: Your desired destination is Oberrickenbach. Check out the timetables from

Length: 2,7 km

Ascents/Descents: 42 m/133 m

Duration: 1 h (average. With our two year old and all the breaks it took us maybe three hours)

Technical / Fitness Level: Family Friendly / easy. Not accessible to baby strollers.

Cost: gondola + parking. Adults 21 CHF /person (roundtrip), kids 10,50 CHF / person. For more information click here

Open: The gondola is open around the year. Hiking route accessibility due to weather conditions

More Information: click here. The website available in German. English summary available here.


Bookaholic’s distantly related reading tip:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (a classical disney story, suitable for reading together with kids!)


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