<<"Slowpoke, I had already bookmarked and copy-pasted your tips from the thread you mentioned">>
Glad you are finding the forum useful.
Perhaps you followed links back to this one, but, in case you did not, there are a bunch of pictures of different parts of the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk posted well down in the thread. They are useful for the following comments in this post.
www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/lucerneaccom modationitinerary
The give a pretty good idea of the trail at its best- near the start, and also where it is narrower and a bit rougher. The ones of my daughter and granddaughter were taken in late September, 2009, on a gorgeous clear day. One of the clearest I have seen up there. I prefer September to visit the region....and, since school is back in session, it is a bit less crowded than in August or July. Hotel rooms are easier to get.
Although the trail overall is modestly down hill, there are a very few mild short uphill stretches. The surface, with gravel, can be a bit slippery underfoot on some of the down hill sections which have a modest incline. So, as you can see from those pictures, hiking staffs are somewhere between very useful and a necessity if you want to walk easily and smoothly on those sections.
(The trail is not classified as a "mountain hiking trail." If it were so classified, boots or sturdy hiking shoes with grippy soles and a hiking staff would be appropriate). However, even with my hiking boots, which have lugged soles, sometimes my feet want to slip forward as I plant my weight on the next step forward, so I hold the staff at the ready or even brace it on the ground before me. If your Dad has strength in his arms, that can help him a lot on this trail if you try to go the whole distance.
You can rent hiking staffs at the sporting goods stores in the area.
You probably have checked this link:
I can add that about halfway along the trail there is a level place to step off to one side and sit on one of several benches. It is placed so that you can look at the Eiger directly into the North face. Many people, including myself, sit there for quite a while, just looking.
Jenny mentioned looking at at map.
If you are comfortable with topographic maps, this exquisitely detailed map can show exactly what the inclines are:
map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=e n&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo .pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.bfs.ge baeude_wohnungs_regist er,ch.swisstopo.swisst lm3d-wanderwege,ch.swisstop o.landeskarte-farbe-10&layers_visibility=f alse,true,false&X=1559 22.50&Y=634680.00&zoom =8
In the menu, I have selected the option to show an overlay with the marked hiking trails ( die Wanderwege.) Yellow are for sneakers, red for boots and staffs, blue for technical climbing.
Note that the trail from Mürren to Gimmelwald is short with a straight line distance of just a bit over 1 km. The descent is from 1638 meters altitude above see level to between 1394 ( upper village) to 1363 ( at the cable car station. Roughly 300 meters in 1 km. That is perhaps a bit steep for your parents, but it is short and you can look at it before you take it.
My own experience with out-of-shape legs is that downhill walking is much harder on the knees than uphill. Up hill is more work, but downhill can kill your knees very quickly. Without knowing exactly the physical condition of your parents, I suspect that might be hard on them.
You can also use that Swisstopo map link to view the M-KS walk.
The M-KS walk has an altitude change from about 2229 to about 2061 meters, over 4+km of tail with a straight line distance of between 3 and 4 km. That is much less steep than Mürren to Gimmelwald. and, the steeper part is toward the KS end, as you note. The walk has the nickname "The Grannies' Walk" for good reason.
I think the views from Männlichen alone, on the first very easy part of the walk are much better than the views form Mürren/Gimmelwald. Of course, that is one man's opinion. From Männlichen you can look down toward Grindelwald or ahead and up toward the Jungfrau Massif. There is a good restaurant at Männlichen. I think the facilities in Gimmelwald are modest. Have not been there to see. Too many fellow Americans with Rick Steve's guide books in their hands or pockets. ;-)
The is a short descent (not very steep) on a paved path from the cable car station at Männlichen to the trail over to the restaurant. You can see that in the pictures in the link above. From there you can walk along the trail toward Tschuggen with very little altitude change for more than a km or two.
Then, you could turn around and go back with modest altitude burden.
You don't have to go all the way to KS, but after Tschuggen, you'd probably not want to come back uphill.
The floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley provides level walking. Although the waterfalls are much less spectacular in September than in the spring, they still are a nice feature. And, there is a bus along the valley floor.
The walk from Mürren to Grütschalp is a possible candidate.... downhill.... but I find that I have to constantly stop and turn around to see the best views if I walk in that direction. Winteregg is part way along that trail, and has a restaurant with a terrace with great views up to the Jungfrau.