Linthal (Urnerboden) to Altdorf (Attinghausen)
Distance: 32 km, 10 hrs (fron Linthal)
25 km, 7-8 hrs (from Urnerboden)
Walking from Linthal to Altdorf in one day is a formidable challenge covering a distance of 32 km climbing up steep terrain and descending the Klausenpass. We suggest taking the post bus from Linthal to Urnerboden (16 Swiss Francs per person in 2013) where you can start your trek to Altdorf or Attinghausen. You can also access Urnerboden from the resort town of Braunwald, which follows a ridge free of traffic. Braunwald is accessible via a tram from Matt, in the lower part of Linthal.
Linthal (648 meters) is a sprawling town with several facilities where we stayed in 2007 but skipped over in 2013. If hiking from Linthal take the path following the Klausen road and after the first sharp turn you will find a path next to a stream climbing up a forested section essentially following the contour along a zig zaging road where you can look back to find exceptional views of the valley below. If you get tired on this section there are post bus stops along the road. Keep hiking up the steep path until you enter the Urnerboden valley & about 30-45 minutes later the tiny village of Urnerboden (1373 meters). The village and surrounding glacial valley is beautiful & breathtaking. The Urnerboden valley, with steep mountain walls on both sides, was carved out by an ancient glacier thousands of years ago. The tiny village has a few hotels/lodges, a church, and restaurants that are located inside lodges/hotels. We stayed at the Klause Ranch Lodge, a few hundred yards (on the left) before the town center which caters to motorcyclists and is run by a friendly guy who cooks great burgers. The first picture in the slide show is the lodges parking lot and big red swiss cow. This is an excellent base for day walks around the valley and surrounding area.
Leaving from Urnerboden you have two options. The first, and the recommended route follows a path along the river behind the Klause Ranch Lodge walking up the valley with Urnerboden on your right. Continue walking through tracks of small forest passing farms and pasture land. After about 1 hour the path turns uphill to your right meeting the APR trail across the road. You can also follow the road to the trail junction, however it's not as peaceful. Continue walking through small wooded sections, traversing up a steep hill, at times walking beside the zig zagging road which eventually brings you to the Klausenpass (1948 meters) with a snack stand and small chapel. Follow the path down and after a few minutes you have the option to take the left or right path (closer to the road). Take the right path closer to the road following a dirt trail down about 30 minutes. Crossing a few streams you will eventually see a group of small houses and farm buildings of Unter Balm on your left. Take a sharp left turn towards these buildings following the path that leads you to one of the coolest moments on the APR, a steep often misty traversing path dropping below to a row of pine trees, a stream on your right, and the hamlet of Asch. Take the path down making sure to turn at the intersection to the right downhill towards Asch. Once you arrive, take a moment to sit on one of the benches, take a break, and bask at the stunning waterfall bursting from the mountain. Continue down the path through the hamlet that eventually joins a gently descending winding road that eventually follows a stream to the village of Unterschachen, about a 1 - 1 1/2 hour walk from Asch. If continuing the hike remember to fill up your water bottles in Unterschachen. You have a few options, either stay in Unterschachen, take the post but to Altdorf or Attinghausen, or continue along the trail out of Unterschachen. If continuing on the APR trail, about five minutes out of town you rejoin the path with red/white blazes that turns to the right climbing up through various fields, pasture land, and small roads, sometimes quite steeply in sections for about 45 minutes until you come to a large Gasthof with accommodation and a restaurant. You then immediately drop following the path across from the Gasthof, always following the left trail option (trail not well marked) until you come back to the road (30-45 minutes below). You can either take a post bus from here or continue walking on a path near the road to the large town of Altdorf (447 meters). If you intend to go to Attinghausen (469 meters) you can catch a 10 minute bus ride across from the Willem Tell statue in town. We recommend starting the next day from Attinghausen where you can either walk up a steep and forested slope about 2-3 hours or take a funicular to Brusti to start your trek to Engelberg.