Berner Oberland - Hikes

Jun 1st, 2006, 09:00 AM
  #1  
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Berner Oberland - Hikes

There are two specific hikes that my husband and I are interested in. There has been much talk on here about the funicular (Lauterbrunnen to Murren) being out of commission so I want to make sure I have this right. We will be there in August, staying in Grindelwald and will have a rental car.

1st Hike: Grutschalp to Murren
~Either drive to Stechelberg
OR
~drive to Lauterbrunnen and walk/take bus to Stechelberg
AND
~take cable car from Stechelberg to Murren (bypassing Gimmelwald)
~Train to Grutschalp (Is the train great or should we walk?)
~Hike from Grutschalp to Murren

**we'd like to visit the towns of Murren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen so I'm assuming we can do this either on out way back down to our car or save it for another day**

Hike 2:
~Take Gondola from Grindelwald to First
~Hike First-Bachalpsee-Faulhorn and have lunch at the mountain hotel.


Does it look as if I have it right? We will only be in the area for 3 nights, 2 full days. Are the (2) hikes as well as visiting each small mountain town enough to keep us busy for 2 full days? We will probably arrive late afternoon the 1st day, will be then be there 2 full days and leaving early morning for Luzern on the 4th day.

Thanks!
katzen is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Hi Katzen----yes, you have both of them right. On hike (1), if you drive to Stechelberg and park there to catch the cablecar, you will have more time to spend on the walk. Ride the cablecar up to Mürren, and then you could either walk out to Grutschalp and back (it is a fairly level walk, about an hour each way), or take the train out (a 10-minute ride) and walk back. On the return, you can explore Mürren and have lunch if you like, then walk down to Gimmelwald (a 20 to 30 minute walk downhill on a paved path). Exploring Gimmelwald takes about 10 minutes. You could also have lunch there, at a place that has been recommended here for the views. Then you can catch the cable car down to Stechelberg, drive back to Lauterbrunnen and park the car to expore there. You will pass right by Trummelbach Falls on the way, and could stop and have a look if you like.

The only way to include Wengen on this day would be to take the train up from Lauterbrunnen (and back down) before you leave.

Hike (2) is not a full day, but it is more than a half-day. You could turn it into a full day by following the Panoramaweg to Schynige Platte, along the ridge that divides the Grindelwald valley area from the lakes (Brienzsee), with views out in both directions. The entire hike takes 6 or 7 hours, plus time for lunch. At Schynige Platte there is a famous Alpine Garden. You catch a cogwheel train from there to Wilderswil, and a regular train from there back to Grindelwald (a 10 or 15-minute ride). There is not a lot of elevation gain or loss on this hike (from Faulhorn to Schynige Platte), but it is long and covers some rocky terrain, and is a much more ambitious hike than, say, the Mürren walks.

enzian is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:12 AM
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Here are my two cents:

Hike 1: I recommend you take the funicular from Mürren up to Allmendhubel, which gives you the best views of Mürren (from above) and hike from there to Grütschalp. Back along the train route. Btw, I personally think you could only hike as far as Winteregg and back to Mürren from there. No need to hike all the way to Grütschalp - the latter is not so special, while Winteregg has a nice restaurant for lunch.
Continue as enzian suggested.

Hike 2: I think the hike from Faulhorn to Schynige Platte could be a bit too long. Especially since it is your first visit of the area you'll spend a lot of time just watching the awesome scenery and taking photos, right? ;-) My suggestion is to hike down from Faulhorn to Bussalp, from where you can take the bus down to Grindelwald or hike down or hike via Bachalpsee to First (gondola down to G.).

The first day would definitely leave some time for exploring Wengen. I personally don't think it is worth just for an hour. Better spend more time on the Mürren side of the valley and the Trümmelbach waterfalls.
Ingo is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Thank you for the replies enzian and ingo. I will have to do more research on the Allmendhubel/Winteregg bit ... I get thrown for loops easily
katzen is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Very good suggestions, Ingo---I intended to mention the Bussalp return alternative too, but got too involved in the Schynige Platte route. I hope I made it clear that is a very long day hike, not like the others.

Allmendhubel is also a great suggestion---I did not know of the trail from there down to Grütschalp (or is it to Winteregg?). That would be much more interesting than the level path near the train tracks. We'll have to try the Allmendhubel path ourselves next time.

Tschüss!
enzian is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 12:44 PM
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I like the idea of extending the hike to Bussalp and then taking the bus down to Grindelwald. Still must look into Allmendhubel.

So this is enough to keep us busy for 2 full days? The 1st evening we will probably walk around Grindelwad as we probably won't get in until late afternoon. Ingo, I do LOVE to take pctures ... I am camera happy as they call it. I'm the only one I know who comes back from hawaii with close to 700 pictures (I got a bit carried away).
katzen is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 01:25 PM
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enzian - I hiked from Grütschalp (coming from Lauterbrunnen by funicular) up to Allmendhubel. The first part of the path was a bit difficult to find, but if you're coming from Allmendhubel it is easy. There are several options to hike between Mürren/Allmendhubel and Winteregg resp. Grütschalp. Of course you can hike down to Winteregg from Allmendhubel too. But that would be a very short hike.

katzen, yes I think this will keep you busy for 2 days. If not, you could easily ride the Pfingstegg cable car from Grindelwald for another very short hike and a different view.

Seems we share one hobby - taking photos Huh, you'll come back with some thousand pictures, LOL!
Ingo is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 01:47 PM
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Katzen---the light changes constantly, especially on the Eiger and in the gorge above Grindelwald. So the photo opportunities change constantly as well.

I can't remember if I have already recommended this, but a great place for dinner in nice weather is the terrace at the Hotel Bodmi, up above Grindelwald looking across at the Wetterhorn and the glaciers: http://www.bodmi.ch/

It is situated in the meadows above town; you get there by walking up the Terassenweg. It is next to the landing area for the paragliders, and they even have a special seating area for the Gleitschirm pilots.

You can view the menu on the website.
enzian is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 02:23 PM
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First, no pun intended, the First to Faulhorn walk. The first part of the walk from the end station at First to the Bachsee is fairly easy. The track is wide if a little strewn with small rocks.

Once you are at the pond, stay to the right and you will be on the correct trail. Up ahead of your slightly to the left of the lake you will see a notch in the rocks. That is where the trail goes.

From the end of the lake to the top of the Faulhorn is a steep walk that goes relentlessly uphill.

It has been a few years since I did it all the way (at age 65), but once you get to the top the views are worth all of the energy it took you to get there.

From that vantage point you can see all around, like you were viewing to the ends of the earth. The Brienzer See and the Thuner See are below you to your north. To the south, the huge mountain wall of the Berner Oberland rises in all of its majesty with the Schreckhorn, Finsteraarhorn, and the Eiger dominating the immediate view.

My one suggestion for this walk is to be in good condition before you get there. The route downhill is steep and if yuou have hiking poles, they will help ease the pressure on the knees.

I do suggest that you be prepared for rapid changes in the weather. I started up there once and a sleet storm suddenly materialized seemingly out of nowhere. So be prepared with extra rain protection just in case you get caught.

Although food and drink are available at the hotel on top, I recommend carrying water along was well because if it is a warm day you will loose a lot of fluids.

The Grutschalp Mürren hike can be done from Allmendhubel, but much of the route is in the trees which limit your view. There is a rail-based fernicular that goes up there from Mürren. Also it is my understanding that the train from Mürren to Grutschalp will operate on a limited basis.

However you get as far as the restaurant at Winteregg, I suggest you walk south along the trail so that the mountains are in front of you as you walk along. That way you do not have to turn your head to take in the views.

The exploration of Gimmelwald is relatively brief. It is little more than a dot on the map, and despite Rick Steves and his write-up, I have never seen anything there of interest except a place to fill my water bottle before taking off to the Kilchbalm, a deeply recessed cirque under the peak of the Gspaltenhorn.

Lauterbrunnen itself is most a one street town. Staubbach Falls are worth visiting, but even more interesting are the Trommelbach cascades where the Jungfrau Glacier drains into the Lütschine creek.

Those falls are deeply recessed and not visible from the road. You pay a small admission fee and ride up an elevator to gain access to the best viewing areas. The falls are lighted and the steps are easy to negotiate.
I do suggest some type of rain jacket because the spray from the falls can sometimes dampen you. Regardless, the cascades are a fascinating sight.

Also, the cemetary behind the church is beautiful because of all the flowers that are carefully maintained.

I think you will enjoy your visit there.

In addition, there are some other places to go. Take one of the cable conveyences up to the crest of the Männlichen and get a great view of the Eiger.

If you wish you can walk downhill to Kleine Scheidegg.

If you want to get more up close and personal with the Eiger, walk the Eiger Trail. I suggest coming up from Alpiglenn which is on the Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald rail line rather than hiking down from the Eigergletscher station on the Jungfraubahn line.

The reason I say this is because the trail in places is covered with scree an going down can be dicey at times.
Coming up, is you slip, you don't have as far to fall!!!

If you drive to valley station of the Schilthornbahn, which is near the end of the valley at a place called Stechelberg, you will find a parking lot. It is fairly large, and I think it can accommodate the extra load this summer from people parking there to go to Mürren.

Good hiking.
brookwood is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 04:42 PM
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Ingo, I do plan on posting my pictures once I'm back .. may take you a solid hour to view them all!

Enzian, I looked at the menu .. wonderful. I love fondue and lamb What is Raclette? I've read mention of it in tons of posts ...

Brookwood, Wow ... thank you for all the information .. I will have to sort through it all.
katzen is offline  
Jun 1st, 2006, 05:42 PM
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katzen -

Raclette...a personal favorite.

Here's an explanation compliments of www.jill.net:

"Raclette is essentially melted cheese, served over boiled potatoes with lots of ground black pepper, accompanied by small pickled onions and gherkins. The name comes from the French verb "racler", to scrape, because of the way the melted cheese is scraped off the block."

Be sure to try some - it's really good.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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Thank you Melnq .. I will certainly try this as I love cheese and potatoes! I"m looking forward to the fondue!

Enzian & Ingo, I'm back to the hiking in the BO. A question I have is this: How long would this hike take:

1. Drive from Grindelwald to Stechelberg, by pass Gimmelwald (for later) and stop at Murren, take the funicular up to Allmendubel, hike to Grutschalp and then hike back to Murren? I've read the walk back from Grutschalp to Murren is a prettier view than the walk down to Grutschalp from Murren (due to not having to turn your ahead around to see the alps)??

Ingo, you mentioned above not needing to hike down to Grutshalp (nothing so special) ... is this only for the hike from Allmendhubel to Grutschalp ... or do you feel it's not so special from Murren down to Grutshalp as well?

I've read the walk from Grutshalp to Murren is beautiful .. but just wanted try and add Allmendhubel in there. I'm sure all of it is pretty .. but wouldn't want the whole hike to be 'trees' and no view of the alps.

Thanks for your help!
katzen is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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This may be too late to help, but the First-Schynigge Platte hike is fairly long.

If you take the walk from Schynigge Platte, you will need to take the train up from Wilderswil. Before starting out, check the time of the last valley descent from First. It is usually around 6 pm, or 18:00. The schedule I read on the Jungfraubahn website confirms that the last car down is at 18:00 during the summer.

The same is true of the last departure from Schynigge Platte. In the summer on a sunny Sunday, I have seen the return trains mobbed and the schedule seemingly thrown out.

Even so, the First-Schynigge Platte trek is a long one and I recommend it for fit hikers. At my time of life I would not try it.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 25th, 2006, 07:38 PM
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Darn, Ingo got in first. Must be a soccer fan

Anyway, yeah I thought the idea of going up to Allmendhubel was an excellent idea as well.

Some of the best views of the mountains (Jungfrau) can be seen on that trail from Allmendhubel to Grutschalp.

If you like pictures of the mountains with the pinetrees framing the picture, you'll find those kind of photo ops there. You can also veer off the path and wander over to Winteregg for some chow and beer.

Also, yeah the hike up the Faulhorn can be rather long. Be sure to start early and pick a perfect day.


And Ingo's suggestion to do the Bussalps walk is a fine one. Walking over to Bachalpsee is a good hike. Pack a picnic in the packback and have a picnic by the lake.

Then walk down to Busalps and catch the bus back to the village.

If you decide to hoof it over to Schnigplatte, you'll see it all. Lake Thun and Brienz on one side, the mountains on the other side. Wow!!!

I remember my first hiking trip to the area, I posted many of your questions over on the AOL travel forums. One gentleman over there provided me gobs of information. I still stay in contact with him and his wife. That is where I met Ed and Julie also. Ed provided me many ideas and suggestions. I was sorry to hear of his passing.

Anyway, good ideas and good suggestions from everyone.
sunstar is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 06:05 AM
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Thank you bob_brown and sunstar!! We are thinking of doing the loop:

Murren-Allmendhubel-Grutschalp-Murren ... We aren't sure which way to go? Is the view prettier from Grutschalp to Murren or Grutschalp to Allmendhubel?

katzen is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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>>>>Murren-Allmendhubel-Grutschalp-Murren<<<<

That is the way I prefer. Some in this forum have done this the other direction, but the Murren-Allmendhubel-Grutschalp-Murren is the way I prefer.

As I recall, you do walk through some forrested areas along the path, but there are many clearings that would allow you to take some neat pics.

One you have finished, you can take the train back down to Lauterbrunnen or train back to Murren.

This walk is quite easy. I think most people in reasonable condition can do this hike. Nice views mane it a great hike.

That Allmendhubel cable is just off the main street.
sunstar is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 09:03 PM
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I suggest strongly going in the direction that enables you to walk from Grutschalp to Mürren. That means you are walking toward the south and facing the mountains.

The ride up to Allmendhubel is fairly short. The walk down to Grutschalp never really turned me on, but it is a pleasant stroll along a wooded path.

The walk from Grutschalp to Mürren is a very scenic stroll along a fairly flat trail that is heavily traveled during normal times, but with the elevator on wheels between Grutschalp and Lauterbrunnen now a thing of the past, this is not a normal year.

I don't know what kind of traffic to expect this year.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Thank you again sunstar and bob brown!!!

The other hike I think we are going to take is the North Face Trail from Allmendhubel, which is two hours and takes us past Suppenalp and the Blumental Valley. This trail I hope allows us to possibly see some cows, lots of flowers and some of the huts .... according to Rick Steves (the 1st and only book I bought from him). So since we are taking the funicular from Murren to Allmendhubel I'm going to take the train to Grutschalp and walk back from Grutschalp and Murren.

Not sure of the order since we'd like to visit Gimmelwad too ... may save that for another day!

katzen is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Hi,

there are 4 of us all adults traveling to Switzerland and hope to stay in Grindelwald. We have not book a hotel as of yet. Where are you staying?
Phyllis1 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Hi Phyllis1, we are staying at the Chalet Hotel Gletschergarten. The web site is www.hotel-gletschergarten.ch

katzen is offline  

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