Easy hiking with comfortable ascent and descent Ascent Stans-St ,Niklausen (310m height difference)
Stans (452M) - Christenmatt - Hubel - Murmatt (633m)- Obwil - Wilti – (Umweg Rohren (526)- Halten (528m)- St. Jakob (538m)- Ifängi – Maichäppeli (629m) Wisserlen-Haldi - Lätten - Unterhalten - St. Antoni (706m)- Vorder Egg - Hinter Egg (780m) - Bäribüel - St. Niklausen (772m) - Ranft (640m) – Flüeli (728m)
The chapel was built in 1698, and consecrated in 1717. With the vow to build a chapel, the people hoped to be better protected from the danger of avalanches. We continue westwards without having to climb sharply along gentle slopes with lush meadows to “Murmatt” where the mountain road from Ennetmoos joins our route. Looking back, we are pleased by the magnificent outlook to Stans, the peaks Stanserhorn, Pilatus and Rigi. From the farmstead “Hubel”, we can see the municipality of Ennetmoos with its “Allweg” chapel. The many wayside shrines that were erected from thankfulness or with a special request catch our attention.
We leave the Murmatt and descend a gentle incline to the south-west along the slopes of the “Rohrnerberg” through meadows and copses past the hamlets Obwil and Wilti to the resting place Rohrnerberg (with wayside shrine and cross). Our path joins the access road to Rohren, and on this we come to Rohren with the “Rohrechappeli” (chapel), lying south of the “Ried” (marshland) of Ennetmoos.
Way to the “Rohrechappeli” and to St. Jakob
Pilgrims wanting to go to the Rohrechappeli and St.Jakob descend the path turning off to the right, down to Rohren and thus reach the cantonal road to St.Jakob. At the entrance to the old parish church in St.Jakob, there is a statue of St. James. The return to the Way of St. James is as follows: They cross the main road in St.Jakob and straight on, come to the next crossroads where they turn off to the right to take a path leading across the “Rübibach” and the “Melbach” (brooks), and thus also crossing the cantonal border, back to the official route of the Way of St. James.
We bypass the Rohrenchappeli and the place of St.Jakob, sticking to the official Way-of-St. James route on which, going in a southern direction, we pass the hamlets of Halten and Hostet and continue through the alder wood where we cross the “Rübibach” in order to reach the hamlet of Ifängi.
From here we proceed, and across the Melbach (brook) and across the “Acheri” wood, we come to “Maichäppeli”. We walk on the main road for around 200m, then turn off to the left onto a hiking path that leads us past the place “Wisserlen” (hamlet of Sand) a little higher than the place itself, and on its eastern side.
On a gently rising incline and crossing a little ravine, we pass the hamlet of Gisigen, cross the Rufibach (brook) and then the access road to Kerns, and come to St.Antoni and nits nice chapel. We turn off to the right, and shortly after, turn left to the hiking path leading us up to the vantage point Egg with its marvellous panoramic view. The field path takes us from Egg across pasture land past the convent of the Dominican nuns (“Bethanienheim”) until the road bifurcation in St.Niklausen to the south. Pilgrims are welcome visitors in the Bethanienheim. A visit to the modern chapel is worth our while. At the road bifurcation of St.Niklausen, we take the marked field road that takes us past “Grüebi” down into the wooded “Melchaa” ravine to Ranft, and up to Flüeli. Halfway, and to the left, a path leads to the “Mösli” chapel. Due to a mudslide in 2005, this path can be used as far as the “Mösli” chapel only, and not, as it was possible formerly, until into the Ranft. Either we remain on the field road and continue to Flüeli-Ranft, or we make a short side-trip to the “Mösli” chapel and back.
Route via the chapel of St.Niklausen
If we opt for the slightly longer route, we turn off to the Bethanienheim and take the road to “Türli” and to the St.Niklausen chapel to the east of St.Niklausen. The chapel is one of the oldest ecclesiastical buildings worth seeing, with a series of frescoes in the choir dating from the 14th century, as well as baroque ceiling paintings. The detached spire “Römerturm” is a landmark.
We continue from the chapel to the right through the wood down to the Melchtal road, which we cross. Over the down-sloping meadows, we reach the “old” way to Ranft, passable today only as far as the “Mösli” chapel. Turning away to the right, and in a northern direction, we come to the present-day Way of St. James leading directly to Flüeli-Ranft.
Pilgrims who want to visit the “Mösli” chapel, turn off to the left here, and return to this place again. A side-trip to the “Mösli” chapel is worthwhile, even now that the way from there to Ranft is not feasible any more. The chapel of Brother Ulrich in “Mösli” was erected in 1484. The stone in the side-room is said to have served Brother Ulrich as sleeping place. Thanks to the written testimonies recorded by Brother Ulrich, we have today access to the thoughts and deeds of Brother Nicolas who could neither read nor write.
Until his 50th birthday, Brother Nicolas (“Niklaus von Flüe”) led a layman’s life. He was a respected man in the community and held important public offices, such as judge and councillor. With his wife Dorothee, he had ten children. When he was 50, he left house and farm and travelled abroad as a pilgrim. But he returned soon and settled down as a hermit in Ranft. Brother Nicolas or “Bruder Klaus”, as he was called henceforth, was visited by people from all social strata and asked for advice. He also made important contributions to the consolidation of the Confederacy that threatened to fall asunder in civil war. He died on 21st March 1487 and was canonized by pope Pius XII in 1947.
In Flüeli-Ranft, there exists the lower Ranft chapel (“Untere Ranftkapelle”), built 1501. On the right-hand wall of the nave, the life of Brother Nicolas is depicted in a series of frescoes dating from the 16th century. Some distance higher up stands the upper Ranft chapel with the little house of the hermit. Chapel and hermitage were built in 1468, but completely refurbished in 1693. Also the hermitage which is connected with the chapel is a very special place of pilgrimage.