BO Hiking Trails -- Help Needed

Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 08:38 PM
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BO Hiking Trails -- Help Needed

We are spending 7 days in Switzerland in August and I am putting the finishing touches on our itinerary. However, I desperately need some help figuring out which hikes we should do.

We (my husband, 15 yo daughter, 12 yo son, adult step-daughter and her husband, and myself) have decided to stay in Alpiglen for 3 nights. We hope to arrive from Appenzell sometime in the early afternoon. Are there any short walks (an hour each way) from Alpiglen, other than to Kleine Scheidegg?

The next day, depending on the weather, we'd like to go to the Jungfraujoch. Ideally, we would like to LEISURELY hike to Kleine Scheidegg and then take the train from there. Which route would you take? How many routes are there? From a map of the region, it appears that there are several trails. After our visit to the Jungfrau, we would take the train back to Kleine Scheidegg and then take the Eiger Trail. Or is it better to pick it up at the Eigergletscher station, thus avoiding some backtracking from Kleine Scheidegg? Since we are not experienced hikers, I don't want to endanger my family by going on a trail that is too advanced for us. Is the Eiger Trail from Kleine Scheidegg or Eigergletscher to Alpiglen doable? Are there any parts of the trail that will cause me to panic? To give you some idea of what we are capable of doing, 2 years ago, we all hiked the 5 towns in the Cinque Terre with no problem.

Since the trains to and from Alpiglen stop running relatively early (I think by 7 p.m.), I was wondering if we could take the last train from Alpiglen to Kleine Scheidegg, eat dinner there, and then walk back to Alpiglen. I read somewhere that the hike is 1 hour. Is that true, and if so, can it be done at night with a flashlight? I take it that this trail is not the Eiger Trail, and would be in the opposite direction of the one we want to take to Kleine Scheidegg in the morning to catch the train to the Jungfraujoch.

The next day we would like to walk from Alpiglen to Mannlichen. From there we want to go to Wengen. Should we take the cable car from Mannlichen to Wengen, or are there hiking trails? We want to spend the afternoon in Wengen, and will probably take the train back to Alpiglen, via Kleine Scheidegg, or if we aren't completely out of energy, walk from Kleine Scheidegg.

The next morning we'll take the first train from Alpiglen to Interlaken, via Grindelwald. We'll spend a few hours in Interlaken before catching the Golden Pass train to Montreux, We'll be spending the night in Vevey. The following morning we'll visit the Chateau du Chillon before heading to Lucerne, where we will spend the night. The next day we'll catch an early train to Zurich for our 2:30 p.m. departure to JFK. Our first two nights of the trip will be spent in Appenzell, using Rick Steves' book as our guide.

FYI, this is going to be my 6th trip to Switzerland and my husband's 3rd. We took our kids there 5 years ago, but we spent time in Gimmelwald (yes, we stayed at Walter's Hotel Mittaghorn, and loved it). My step-daughter was there in 1993 (we stayed in Wengen), but her husband has never been.

One last thing -- I recently read on Trip Advisor that the restaurant in Alpiglen hadn't opened as of the middle of June. Is that restaurant part of the hotel ( or is there more than one restaurant/hotel in Alpiglen? I emailed the hotel but I am still awaiting a reply.

Thanks in advance for your comments and advice.
freberta is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 09:35 PM
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Alpiglen is a good spot. The Eiger Trail starts near there and ends at a station on the Jungfraubahn rail line at a station known as Eigergletscher.

IF!! you are in shape, hiking uphill is actually easier on the feet and knees than slipping and sliding downhill.

The Eiger Trail provides awesome views of the famed north face of the Eiger. Once you are close to the base, you realize just how awesome that 5,000 feet plus of nearly vertical feet really are!

Once at the Eigergletscher station, you can have a good lunch and then ride the train to the Jungfraujoch.

If the Eigertrail sounds too much to tackle, let me suggest that you save your energy for an excursion along a groomed track from the Sphinx Observation Building to the shelter facility on the flank of the Mönch known as the Mönchsjochhütte - the shelter on in the saddle of the Mönch.

Don't let the similarity to the English word "hut" mislead you. This is a 3 story hikers' shelter that can sleep 125 people plus the staff. You can eat there in the dining room at lunch.

The track itself is fairly flat and sheltered usually from the wind until you step from behind the protection of the mountain ridge. The last time I was there, the sun was bright and the UV index was high. We walked over snow in shortsleeves and short pants. Then I stepped into the teeth of the gale with a damp shirt on. Wow!! I think I set some kind of a record getting my Polarfleece pullover out of my pack and putting it on. Then I retreated out of the wind and zipped my longer pants legs back on and also put on ,my nylon windbreaker.

The views from the Jungfraujoch and the surrounding areas are fantastic. Nothing quite like it in the area.

Another good hike, is the easy trail downhill from the crest of the ridge known as the Männnlichen. Approaching from Grindelwald, the ridge slopes upward relatively gently.
From the Wengen, the ridge rises very steeply and appears to tower over the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Another great hike that is fairly easy is to take the gondola from Grindelwald to First ( = ridge in Swiss German)
From there hike across the meadow to the restaurant at the crest of Grosse Scheidegg and ride the Post Bus downhill to Grindelwald. Tickets for the gondola ride to First with a return from Grosse Scheidegg are standard at the ticket windows.

There are others, such as a hike to the Bachsee from First, and if you have the legs for it, from First up the Faulhorn from which the views are without parallel. To the north you can see the two lakes on either side of Interlaken; to the south loom the peaks of the Berner Oberland.

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bob_brown is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:20 PM
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On my third trip to Switzerland (in 1986) I really enjoyed the 'less overwhelming' geography of the Appenzell area and appreciated the change of pace from the more heavily touristed areas. Stayed above the train station in Wasserauen and wish I'd been able to do a lot more walking on Säntis and the Ebenalp.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2009, 05:27 AM
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Thanks, Bob. I think we will attempt the Eiger Trail, and maybe climbing up rather than down would be better. Personally, I prefer up, since I am always unsure about my footing and am afriad that I will fall. We wanted to get to the top of the Jungfrau earlier in the day rather than later, but maybe your idea is better.

I still am confused as to whether there is an "easy" trail from Kleine Scheidegg to Alpiglen (not the Eiger Trail) that can be hiked in about an hour. I still want to have dinner in Kleine Scheidegg one night and walk back. I've seen bloggers talk about this trail, but I am not sure if it is different from the Eiger Trail.

We are all in relatively good shape, so I don't worry about not being able to do the hikes. I am just fearful that one of my kids (or me, even) will lose their footing and fall 5,000 feet down the mountain. I'm not afraid of heights, just of falling.

Again, thanks!
freberta is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Hello freberta

"I still am confused as to whether there is an "easy" trail from Kleine Scheidegg to Alpiglen (not the Eiger Trail) that can be hiked in about an hour."

There is a fairly easy --so easy even I can do it -- from KS down to Alpiglen. It begins just opposite the train tracks. We've only done it "down," and that took 1 1/2 hours or so. A bit of a descent, thru the forests, some open trails, great views of the Eiger plus Grindelwald below.

If you scroll to the bottom of this link, you will see a pdf file to click on. It details the entire trail (from Grindelwald all the way to KS), but you can dissect it and find the portion you're interested in.
swisshiker is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2009, 07:12 AM
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I think that is the hike I was looking for. Maybe if we have an early dinner in Kleine Scheidegg, we can do it. If it's through the forest, we'd better have daylight and/or a good flashlight (and maybe a compass, too) to guide us along our way!

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