<<"Again, thanks for all the info!">>
You are quite welcome.
<<"1. I will try to get some maps, either online or if my friend (living in Rüegsau) can help me get good ones.
Seems as we will only have three days (two nights) to hike depending on how our planetrip will turn out.So Trubschachen -> Napf can probably be done in one of these days and then stay at the Inn/Hotel at the top, right?">>
Here is some information on those points. I composed it offline, and pasted it in, so I would have it on file.. Unfortunately, the live links became plain text. You'll have to copy and paste them into your browser.
Hiking Maps of Switzerland and The Napf
This is a discussion of the hiking trails and maps available for hikers in Switzerland, followed by some details of hiking around the center of the Emmental region, which is a modest mountain named the Napf (1410 meters altitude) in the center of the region.
There are maps published by private companies, such a Kummerley+Frey, and those from the Swiss federal government. The governmentissued maps, are, IMO, the best.
The link to Swiss Topo gets you all kinds of information about those federal Swiss maps.
There is a mobile phone app, which my Swiss friends use, and there are paper maps, which I use. Mobile phone coverage is almost universal inSwitzerland, and certainly in the Emmental. So, that can be a pretty reliable method. However, I like to spread out a map and lookat options and surroundings, and paper maps are better for that.
On the home page, click on Products, then, at the left,
Where to buy paper maps-
The Swiss like to hike, so maps are available in almost every village and town. There are chains of convenience stores (Kiosk, Aperto, and others), which are at almost every train station of any decent size. They almost always have the topos for the locality, usually the 1:25,000. Stationers also carry them.
In large cities, certain book stores carry the full range ofmaps. In Zürich Hauptbahnhof, Barth Bücherei is really convenient. Orell Füssli, a block or so down theBahnhofstrasse is also very good.. In Luzern, Orell Füssli; in Bern Stauffacher, in Geneva, it used to be Payot. Have not been there for a while.
In Zürich -
Look down the page for Alfred Barth AG.
Hiking Maps –
Most hikers hike from 1:50,000 maps, which have green covers. In the past few years, a new series of 1:50,000 maps (Wanderkarte, Hiking Maps) have become available. They are better. They have yellow orange covers, similar to the image attached. They show bus stops (red circles) and they show the signed hiking trails. (Die Wanderwege.) I really like them and usethem all the time.
I have attached two scans to illustrate what a Wanderkarte looks like. It is unusual in that it is a 1:25,000 map with hiking trails (die Wanderwege), etc. and does not align with the national grid boundaries. Most Wanderkarten are 1:50,000 and fit the national grid.
These links explains the Wanderwege:
Only in German and French:
There is a more detailed map series, 1:25,000 (brown covers.) Lots of detail. I use them in locations with steep topography, dangerous areas (mountain sides, etc.) or where I am concerned about getting lost. Sometimes I look at the 1:50,000 Wanderkarte and then mark up the 1:25,000 if I am going to hike from it. They show every building, and even very minor paths or trails.
The country has a grid for maps. All of the map series are aligned with the grid. Four 1:25,000 quadrangles fit within one 1:50,000 quadrangle, etc.
However, there are special maps for regions of strong tourist interest, for example. They are usually 1:50,000 and do not align with the grids. For example – the region around the Jungfrau (the Berner Oberland) has its own map. The region around Luzern has its own map.
A few of the special maps are Wanderkarten, and some are even at 1:25,000. There is a 1:25,000 Wanderkarte for the Napf region. Images attached.
The Napf and surroundings
The marked up scan of a small portion of that Napf 1:25,000 Wanderkarte map shows the northern end of the route(s) into the Napf from Trubschachen. The road (bus route) is shown, as well as trails. You will note that I have marked my preferred route up to the Napf from Mettlenalp. It is scenic, and spreads the climb out over a greater distance. Not so steep as the other marked Wanderweg. The short steep climb up the side of the hillfor about 400 meters is not as interesting. The route I prefer also joins the ridgetop Wanderweg (Route 65) that comes up from Trubschachen. The merged routes then pass through Stachelegg before the final climb on a ridge top up to the Napf summit.
Stachelegg is the location of a mountain farm. They sell farm products, cheeses, cold drinks, etc, to hikers. A look at the steep fields nearby show the extent that the Swiss will go to in order to get hay to feed their cows.
Here is a repeat link to the really nice, small, very neat and clean restaurant and small (6 bed, I think) dormitory at Mettlenalp. Worth a stop for coffee, or a snack, just to experience such a kind of place.
The nice thing about the Napf Wanderkarte is that is saves money. The Napf itself is almost exactly on the junction point of four quadrangles of the national grid. That means that, whether you get the 1:25,000 or the 1:50,000 regular series maps, you need to buy 4 of them to cover the surroundings. The special map does it on one sheet. It does not range very far from the Napf to the north, only reaching Luthern. In other directions, it is more useful, reaching to towns with train lines. It shows Langnau, Trubschachen, Lüderenalp, Sumiswald, Wolhusen, all of which have bus or train connections. Luthern has regular bus servie every day. Also, Romoos Holzweg (limited bus) and Mettlenalp (limited bus). Those two and Lüderenalp have only a few weekendbuses for hikers. Looks like only on Sundays.
Also, these days, many villages with daily are served by buses in the morning and evening, with gaps at midday. Check schedules. Fewer trips on weekends, too.
Once you are up on the Napf, you have choices for continuing. You can go onward (down) to most all of the above named spots. Lüderenalp is the one destination at about the same altitude, where there is a modern mountain hotel and restaurant with some bus service down to Langnau (Sundays only)
From Luthern, there is bus service out to Hüswil, where there is a train station. If you go down to Luthern, via Luthernbad, avoid Trachselegg. The direct trail goes through a small farm field full of cows. They are friendly, but they also have very active digestions, and you have trouble finding clean grass to walk on.
Take the trail to the east (which bypasses Trachselegg), and which turns off just at the base of the first steep descent from the Napf summit, IIRC.
A Sample Hike –
To give a sense of scale and times, here is a sample hike which we took on one trip.
Parked our car and stayed overnight at Lüderenalp.
That hotel has 20 double bed rooms with private toilet/shower, 5 rooms with the facilities down the hall and wash basin in the room, and two larger rooms with more beds.
Caught the early bus down to Langnau, on Sunday. Nowadays that is at 1020; then it was at about 930, IIRC. I think we might have changed buses at Langnau. Continued by bus to Trubschachen and then in to Mettlenalp. On other days, the bus only goes as far as Fankhaus. Walked up from Mettlenalp to the Napf, about a 400 meter climb, in a bit less than two hours. Got there at around noon or 1 PM. Had a nice lunch at the mountain hotel on top of the Napf. Good cafeteria; many plates cooked to order, then your number is called for you to pick it up at the counter. We always get the Emmentaler Wienerli (good) and the Kartoffelsalat (almost always unusually good; one year they had a substitute cook or something, and it was merely OK.).
We then worked off our meal and beer by hiking for about 4 hours over to Lüderenalp to the west. Got there at about 5:30 or 6 pm, including a stop for liquid refreshment at Oberi Lüsshutte. It was a hot day, the trail has a few ups and downs, and we needed a break.
Had a pleasant meal on the terrace, looking at the Alps in the distance. Got up on Monday, drove down to Wasen and on to our next destination. For a listing of a whole lot of Emmental hotels/inns/restaurants, check: