Challenging hike with ascent and descent Ascent: Wattwil-Vorder- and Hinderlaad (300 height difference) Descent: Oberricken-St .Gallenkappel (300 height difference)
Wattwil (613m) - Schlosswis (711m)- Schlossweid (750m) - Laad (920m) - Heid (976m) - Hindere Laad (918m)- Bodenwis (852m) – Oberricken (906m) - Walde (838m)- Höfli (828m) - Allenwinden (805m)- Rüeterswil (744m) - Bezikon (613m) – Eichholz (567m) - St. Gallenkappel (593m)- Aatal (500m) – Neuhaus - Lenzikon - Eschenbach (478m)- Lettengass (494m) - Chälenstich (516m) - Egg (513m) – Jonerwald (471m) - Jona (420m) – Raqpperswil (410m)
Now again on the moderately inclined Laadstrasse,along pastures and past old Toggenburg-style farmsteads up to Laad, around 300 m higher than Wattwil. After a short stretch, the Laadstrasse ends. We continue on a mountain path westwards past the farm “Heid” (990m) to the houses of “Hinderlaad”. Here we descend to the high moor “Bodenwis”, a nature reserve. From there, it is a short climb westwards to Oberricken, which is also the summit of the pass.
We remain on the mountain road, and further down, we turn off to the left onto a hiking path that leads to a small wood with picnic area, and further to Walde. In the small church, we see a nice picture of the crucifixion of Jesus. We continue on the mountain road until we turn off further south to the hamlet of “Höfli”. From here we take a hiking path southwards across open pastureland down to Rüeterswil where its St.Ursula chapel with the colourful pictures from the life of St.Ursula, a village fountain and an inn await us. The outlook to Lake Zürich and the causeway remind us of the destination of this stage. The path continues over gently inclined meadows and through a short wooded section southwards to Bezikon. We continue in a southern direction to the houses of “Im Bifang”.
There, the path turns west and takes us along the edge of the wood and past Eichholz to St.Gallenkappel. We visit the baroque parish church, dedicated to the Saints Laurentius and Gallus. It has a wonderful high altar, an ornamented organ, a gilded pulpit, as well as rare ceiling paintings. From the church, a bypass road takes us westwards via Geretingen past houses and fields and along the edge of a wood to the Rickenstrasse shortly before Neuhaus.
We cross the Ricken road and reach the houses down in the wooded Aatal. There, the path turns sharply right, crosses the Aabach and the motorway feeder and turns left in a southern direction. Not far from the St. James chapel there (with gilded St. James statue) and the fountain, we come to the bifurcation where the two St. James routes separate. One of them continues straight-on, on a field path towards Schmerikon, while the other leads westwards to Neuhaus, then via Eschenbach to Rapperswil, where it joins the Way of St. James Constance - Einsiedeln “Swabian Way”.
With connection to the Way of St. James Constance – Rapperswil – Einsiedeln (“Swabian Way”) that the pilgrims use from Rapperswil via St.Meinrad to Einsiedeln.
From the bifurcation of Neuhaus sharply right to the Rickenstrasse which we cross some distance to the west in order to reach the Lettenstrasse. We follow this street a short stretch, then take a field-path on which we return to the Rickenstrasse further west, shortly before Eschenbach.We remain on the Rickenstrasse through and out of Eschenbach, and further west near “Massholderen”, we turn to the right onto the footpath across open fields and along the edge of a wood, then into the wood “Eggwald” and to “Chälenstich”. There, we turn to the left and, always following a south-western direction on an unpaved road via the hamlets Egg, Hohweg and through the Jonerwald (wod) to the entrance of Jona. We follow the town streets due west to the crossroads (bus stop Neuhof).
Then westwards across the roundabout, over the Jona brook and the railway line to the Hanfländerstrasse near the bus stop “EW”. That is where our route joins the leg from Constance. We follow the Hanfländerstrasse and turn off to the left to the Attenhoferstrasse, and due south across the railway line to the Zürcherstrasse. We follow the latter until the next crossroads and through the lanes of the old town, we come to the lake-port of Rapperswil.