Kleine Melchaa gorge winter path

Winter Hiking
13.4 km
Travel time
approx. 4 ½ h
Tour details
Tour details
Kleine Melchaa gorge winter path
Eiszapfen in der Melchaaschlucht
Photo: Obwalden Tourismus, Obwalden Tourismus
Kleine Melchaa gorge winter path
kleine Melchaa
Photo: Obwalden Tourismus, Obwalden Tourismus
The Melchaatobel - a forest gorge and popular hiking area in summer and winter - leads into the Kleine Melch valley. In winter, water transforms the narrow rock faces into a giant ice sculpture landscape. Storms repeatedly alter the gorge; each time, the footpath is restored with great effort.
From Giswil railway station, the path leads to the northern end of the village and on to the Gasthof Zollhaus.

You reach the little gorge road via the southern portal of the motorway tunnel. Follow it upwards until it turns into the narrow gorge. Deep down, the water of the Kleine Melchaa river rushes through narrow rocky basins. At the Cholplatz, there is a shelter, and a panel describes the places and their stories, which you pass one after the other in the gorge: Bettlernest, Dom, Giswiler Hüttli Lochcheller, Tuffgräben, Lengbrügg to end point 977 of the winter path at Rindenhüttli.

Here the path branches off and in summer continues up to the geographical centre of Switzerland at Älggi. The winter path takes the same route back out to the gorge and down through the Grossmattwald forest - also a popular sledge run - to the Zollhaus and under the road to the lakeside path. Heading south, you return to Giswil along the Kleine Melchaa, which was diverted into Lake Sarnen in 2015. As a variant, you can also walk northwards on the lakeside path to Ewil Maxon railway station or on to Sachseln.

Technical details

Tour type
Winter Hiking
Starting point
Giswil station
Point of arrival
Giswil station
3 / 6
511 m
511 m
Best Time of Year
January, February, November, December
Safety information
For the latest information on closures, e.g. due to forestry work, visit www.ow-wanderwege.ch

The path is not secured against dangers such as falling icicles. You use the path at your own risk!

This hike is not signposted with pink signs and is not groomed. 

GPX Download

Good to know

Arrival / Return journey

Auf der A2 von Luzern her im Tunnel auf die A8 Richtung Interlaken, Sarnen wechseln und der Strasse bis zur Ausfahrt Giswil folgen. 

Von Interlaken via Brünig auf der A8 bis zur Ausfahrt Giswil.

Accessible by bus and train
Public transport
Giswil ist ab Luzern oder Interlaken bequem mit der Zentralbahn zu erreichen. Für die Rückfahrt kann auch die Station Ewil Maxon am Seeweg nördlich des Zollhauses benutzt werden.