Time: 7.5h. Up: 1260m. Down: 820m.
Distance: 20km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 28: Stäfeli (1393m) to Engstlenalp (1834m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Alovely -- if long -- hike today. You start with an easy descent past the suggestively named Titlis massif to the romantic old village of Engelberg (Angel Mountain). You then walk up to and skirt the scenic Trübsee (Cloudy Lake), before a steep climb brings you to the Jochpass (Saddle Pass) from which there are superb views in both directions. A last hour downhill and you'll be at your goal for the day: Hotel Engstlenalp (derivation unclear (at least to me), other than the alp at the end, meaning "pasture").

Place-names in Europe are fascinating capsules of history, and when you delve into their derivations, you very often learn something interesting. The name Engelberg, for example, comes from a legend that heavenly voices could be heard on the hill above the village. This legend led Benedictine monks to found a monastery there in 1122 that subsequently became one of the most important in the Alps.

And Titlis? No, it does not mean what you might think it means. In fact it is a corruption of Tutilo's Berg ("Tutilo's mountain") – probably the name of a local farmer (yes, sometimes ignorance is better).

Today's hike follows the same trails as the Via Alpina, except for the section between Engelberg and the Trübsee. From Stäfeli head down the valley, staying on the right-hand bank of the stream until crossing about 100m before the Fürenalp cable car station. Continue along the south bank until you get to the cog-railway station in Engelberg. 100m further take the path to your left and start climbing via Niederberg and Unter-Trübsee until you reach the Trübsee (1764m) itself. From there a steep path climbs under and alongside the cablecar to the Jochpass (2207m), after which it will take you a little over an hour to go down to and past the Engstlensee (1850m) to the Engstelnalp hotel where you'll spend the night.

Alternatives: if the weather is bad consider taking a rest day for the usual reasons. To shorten the day, you can take one or more of the transportation options up from Engelberg (cog railway to 1262m, followed by a cable car to 1796m, and another from near there to the Jochpass). If you are feeling tired at the end of the day then you can take a cable car down from the Jochpass to 1930m (just above the Engstlensee). If you get up early enough, or are planning on taking the cable car, then consider using the extra time to walk around Engelberg, and in particular be sure to visit the immense monastery church containing the largest organ in Switzerland.
Maps: ST-245T Stans, ST-255T Sustenpass.

The House to House blog... stage 28.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: you'll pass Engelberg too early for lunch, and won't reach the Trübsee until about 4.5h after you start, so plan on either having a picnic lunch, or a substantial snack before a late lunch at the Trübsee restaurant. Buy food in Engelberg for a picnic during the following stage.
Dinner and overnight: the best option is the Engstlenalp Hotel (+41-(0)33975/1161, 60 beds in rooms with additional spaces in bunkrooms). If this is full, you can stop an hour earlier at the Berghaus Jochpass (+41-(0)41637/1187, 75 beds, some in rooms, some in bunkrooms). If both places are full, then you will have to take one of the infrequent buses down to Innertkirchen or Meiringen (around 1h, for schedule information, see the SBB) where there are many places to stay and eat (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Stäfeli: from Engelberg, where there is a railway station, walk a couple of hours up the valley to Stäfeli (for train schedule information, see the SBB).
Engstlenalp: take one of the infrequent buses about an hour down the valley to Meiringen, where there is a railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Engelberg, centered on Engstlenalp.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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