Sitting at 1920 m above sea and surrounded by 3000 m high peaks, Melchsee-Frutt is one of Switzerland's great plateaus.
Within about two hours from Zürich, this is a good destination for hikers, hobby athletes and leisure travelers. From the train station in Luzern, take a bus to Stockalp and hop on the gondola to Melchsee-Frutt. (Look out for special RailAway offers from SBB. This time, the trip cost just 40 francs.)
I love snowshoeing, so read on about one of my favorite routes.
During winter, some people like snow hikes or cross country skiing on this plateau. As for me, I am hooked on snowshoeing. One of the nice snowshoe trails with great views is Frutt - Erzegg (2150 m) - Tannalp - Frutt. The trail is well marked and of medium difficulty, offering fantastic vistas all along the way.
To get on the trail, you will have to take the panorama lift down to the lake level from Frutt Bergstation. The first part is shared with the winter trail towards Tennalp. It soon forks into a prepared, wide cross-country skiing trail towards Tennalp and another narrow trail going towards Erzegg. This is where you will strap on your snowshoes and get ready to march 200 m up towards Erzegg.
When I was there, the snow was really fresh and a strong wind was blowing it all over the place. Fresh powder snow means lot of sliding down and sliding sideways, even with snowshoes. The strong wind was quickly wiping any trail broken by people before me, but the pink trail markers were well placed and there was no chance of getting lost.
The first section, a 100 m uphill climb, is along a mountain side. On top, you will reach a nice plateau with the next 100 m alternating between steep and flat sections. It took me about two hours to reach Erzegg.
The views are just amazing from here, with the high mountains towards Planplatten on one side and Tennalp and Melchsee on the other side. There is a helpful sign here showing 3.1 km back to Melchsee, 3.8 km to Tennalp, and then another 3.5 km back to Melchsee from there. So the entire loop would be about 10.4 km.
The wind was extra strong here and it was impossible to stand and take any pictures.
I had a packed lunch which I wanted to eat here, but no chance! Snow was blowing everywhere, hitting my face like needles. But yet, I just could not take my eyes off the great views. With plenty of time at hand, I decided to go towards Tennalp and do the full circuit. I was hoping that way down, it would be less steep than the way I came up. Indeed, it was.
I was able to see Tennalp far away, and the return trail back to Melchsee below. I was feeling a bit adventurous and decided to go off-trail to meet the Melchsee trail. This is not recommended unless you have lot of experience breaking trails.
Luckily, I soon met a prepared cross-country skiing trail which was bound to lead back to Melchsee, and I decided to take it. It ended up going much faster on this prepared trail. I was back at the station by 1:30 PM.
A perfect end to a perfect day!