MUTTSEE HUT HIKE VIA LIMERENSEE LAKE
The hike to the Muttsee Hut (Muttseehutte) is one of the stranger journeys I’ve made in Switzerland but the end result is incredible. The adventure begins in Linthal where you need to walk 6.7km’s to the Tierfehd cable car and then 3-kilometers through a dark, wet tunnel before emerging at the Limerensee. The trail then winds up a very steep mountain until you reach some epic viewpoints of the Limerensee and, of course, the Muttsee Hut.
MUTTSEE HUT & LIMERENSEE LAKE HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The hike distance from the top of the Tierfehd Cable car through the tunnel and to the Muttsee Hut is 5.8 kilometers. However, if you are using public transport, you will need to walk from the Linthal train station to Tierfehd cable car station, which is an extra 6.7km and a total of 12.5 kilometers. As of 2019, there is no bus or transport service just one taxi available in the town. If you have a car you can park at the cable car station. The hike is a round-trip hike so you will need to make the entire 10.6 kilometers without the walk from Linthal or 25 kilometers including the journey to and from Linthal.
Hike Duration: As mentioned above, it depends on whether you have to make the journey from Linthal or you are starting at the Tierfehd cable car station. If you begin at Linthal, you can expect the entire journey to take about 4-5 hours. If you begin at Tierfehd the journey will take 2-3 hours.
Hike Difficulty: The hike is a red and white marked trail and quite simple. I did the hike in October on the last week of opening for Muttsee Hut and even with a bit of snow around it was quite simple. The areas of difficulty are a few narrow paths with exposure on one side but these narrow paths are still at least one meter wide and there are chains in these sections.
The incline is challenging from the end of the tunnel to the Muttsee Hut and is non-stop ascent although it is only 5-600m of incline so if you are prepared to take a few breaks you will make it eventually, no matter your physical ability.
Hike Incline: From Linthal the total incline is 900-1000m but from the Tierfehd cable car station the total hiking incline (once getting off the cable car at the start of the tunnel) is 600m.
HOW TO GET TO MUTTSEE HUT
The journey to Muttsee Hut wasn’t the easiest for me to figure out. When you put the cable car station ‘Tierfehd’ into google maps it says not possible via public transport. I thought this was never the case in Switzerland but it’s true. I’ll tell you how to go about getting there with or without a car in this section of the blog post.
- With a car: Drive to Luftseilbahn Tierfehd – Kalktrittli (the cable car station). There is a parking lot here so you can leave your car overnight. I’ll continue the directions below as they are the same from this point on whether you come by car or train.
- By train: You will need to take the train to the ‘Linthal Train Station’. At this point, you are 6.7km’s away from the Luftseilbahn Tierfehd – Kalktrittli (the cable car station). You can either call a taxi or start walking. We began the walk and it was slightly uphill but not a major incline. Our hope was to hitchhike as it was a quiet road in a country town. We walked the first 3-kilometers before a man who worked at the hydro-electric dam picked us up. On the way back another hiker picked us up after a few hundred meters. You need to be prepared to walk the 6.7kms but it is likely a friendly local, hiker or worker will take pity on you and give you a ride!
Once you reach the cable car station, the cable car is self-service so you can buy your ticket ($15 return) and then catch the cable car up to the start of the tunnel. At the tunnel you need to put on an orange vest from the box next to the door and then walk the 2,750m through the tunnel, which is part of the hydro-electricity plant. You will emerge at the other end where the real trail begins up the mountain. Follow the red and white trail markers all the way to the Muttsee Hut.
*It’s important to know that the cable car station closes for lunch at 12:00 -1:30 pm so you cannot ride up during those hours. To check the timetable you can click here.
On the map below you can see Linthal Train Station and I have pinned the location of the Luftseilbahn Tierfehd – Kalktrittli (the cable car station). Muttsee Hut is also visible on the map.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO LIMERENSEE LAKE AND MUTTSEE HUT
The train stopped at the Linthal Train Station and off we hopped, hoping to find a local bus or transport service to Tierfehd Cable Car Station. I’d read you needed to walk but didn’t quite believe it as that wasn’t the Swiss efficiency I’d come to know. However, it was indeed the case. From Linthal Train Station we had to walk 6.7 kilometers through the town to the cable car station.
We set off at a cruisy pace and luckily after 3 kilometers, our outstretched thumbs finally paid dividends as a worker from the hydro-electricity plant picked us up and dropped us at the cable car station. We bought and ticket and rode up to the start of the tunnel.
Here there were the regular yellow hiking signs pointing in towards a door. Before we entered we had to put on an orange safety vest. It was quite a strange experience as no-one else was there and it was all a bit eerie.
Once inside the tunnel it was very cold, dripping wet with puddles all over the floor. It seemed like the scene out of a horror movie and was incredibly creepy. Machinery and gear were scattered throughout the tunnel and we hopped from side to side trying to avoid the deep puddles of water as we made our way through the 2.75-kilometer-long tunnel.
The tunnel seemed to go on forever and three kilometers in a straight line felt like 10 kilometers. It seemed to drag on forever. Finally, we made it out the other side, took off our orange vests and began the ‘real’ hike on the other side.
The hike begins right at the level of the Limmerensee, which is a lake built up by the dam, which powers the hydro-electricity plant. It’s a stunning shade of blue when in the shade and jade-green when the sun shines down onto it. If you want to get a closer view you can take an earlier exit out of the tunnel and walk along the dam wall. We decided to exit the regular route and have a look before we started the hike.
The hike begins to the left when you come out of the tunnel and is very well signed and marked with the red and white trail markers the whole way. It is a pretty intimidating climb and just goes straight up from the get-go without much of a break in the incline. The photo below shows the cliff-side the trail is located on, right next to the Limerensee.
The first part of the trail is a series of switchbacks up the hill. I kept looking back as the view got better and better with every step higher up the mountain. One thing to keep an eye out for from the wildlife in this region. We spotted more than thirty Chamoisand several Ibex. They may not be right on the trail but keep an eye and an ear out on the surrounding cliffs.
You will come across one small section of the hike that is quite steep and made of rocky stairs. There are chains to help you in this section but they are quite unnecessary unless it is slippery from the rain. Overall it was quite a simple hike except for the incline.
In the final stages of the hike, this is where we came across the most Chamois on the entire route as they took cover underneath the huge cliff walls. One family was nervous but didn’t run away as we made our way up the trail and it was possible for me to take some photos on my 24-105mm that turned out quite well considering I don’t hike with a big zoom lens.
Before we made it all the way to the hut, we decided to head over to the viewpoint of Limerensee Lake, which is just a few minutes away from the hut. The lighting was perfect and we didn’t know if the conditions would be nice again in the morning. The lighting got better and better as the sun lit up one little plateau while the rest of the lake and surrounding cliffs stayed in the shadow of the mountains. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Hanging out at the viewpoint and taking in the lake, the moving clouds and the hut in the distance was beautiful but also freezing. These are the photos I took before we had to retreat to the hut as it became freezing cold very quickly.
Just as the blue-hour was in full swing we made it to the Muttsee Hut and found out that we were the only visitors for that night, which is quite strange. However, it was the last week the hut was open before closing during the winter so it was understandable. During the peak of summer, there are huge groups of people staying up at the cabin.
The couple who warden the hut cooked a beautiful soup, pasta, and dessert, which had us satisfied and ready for a good night of sleep in the dormitory, which was now a private room rather than shared with ten other hikers as per normal.
Behind the Muttsee Hut is, of course, the Muttsee Lake. It is a really scenic cabin and a good base for other hikes in the area. Because the weather was stormy in the morning, we just made our way back down the same way we had come and continued on back to Linthal (another friendly local gave us a lift). It’s a bit of a strange adventure with the walking through Linthal and tunnel sections but once you emerge from the tunnel it is very, very epic and a great hike!
HOW TO BOOK A NIGHT AT MUTTSEE HUT
In order to book a night (or more) at Muttsee Hut you will need to send an email, make a phone call or fill out the form on their website. They are not on other booking platforms, this is how the hut is booked.
To email Muttsee Hut you can contact them here: [email protected]
To visit the website to make a booking you can do so here: muttseehuette.ch
To make a booking via phone you can do so with this number: +41 55 643 32 12
WHAT IS INCLUDED WHEN YOU STAY AT MUTTSEE HUT
The way mountain huts generally work is that you reserve a bed and also your half-board is included, which means you get a great dinner and breakfast service. Depending on the hut you can also get tea and drinking water but some do charge for this pending availability. You can choose to stay overnight without half-board but understand that there is no ‘cafe’ around the corner. I think the only reason you would choose not to have half-board is if you arrived very late and left very early missing dinner and breakfast.
The price of one night at Muttsee Hut with half-board (two meals) is: $80
If you are a Swiss Alpine Club member (SAC) your price will be: $65