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tailsock May 29th, 2020 07:21 AM

recommendations for Swiss Alps hikes
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Pending any COVID-19 headaches, my brother in law and I will be moving forward with a photography trip to Switzerland in late August. Thank you to everyone that helped answer our questions in a past thread found here. We've got hotels booked in Lucerne, Zurich, and Grindelwald. We've opted to rent a car for part of the trip. This was done to access some hard to reach photo spots and practice social distancing by avoiding public transport where possible. We need some suggestions on specific hikes or links to some hikes that would be of interest. Specificity would be VERY much appreciated. Verbiage like "check out the Gantrisch Nature Park" or "there are numerous hiking trails all over the OB" is not specific enough. :smirk: Maps, links to detailed hikes, specific starting/stopping points in towns, train stations, apps, etc. is what we're looking for. By all means Dumb IT DOWN :) Here is a list we were hoping for

1. Snow capped Alps in the background
2. Flowering meadows/valleys if possible
3. Cows and goats
4. Easy to moderate hikes
5. Priority on best panoramic views with the least amount of time/effort involved.
6. Waterfalls if possible
7. We're staying in Grindewald so within the OB. < 2 hours transit time.
8. I've seen there are some very remote restaurants that cater to hikers. This would be fabulous to break up a hike!
9. Hikes that can be broken up if needed. I've seen there are cable cars and trains you can use for part of the way on some of these hikes to "cheat".
10. Any overall tips would be appreciated. Neither one of us have been hiking in the mountains before. We're both reasonably fit with no mobility issues.

Hnh6 May 29th, 2020 09:55 AM

We did these three hikes, all easy and picturesque:
Maennlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (access from Wengen),
Muerren/Lauterbrunnen Valley,


Would've liked to try Schynige Platte and Rinderberg/Horneggli but we had a bad cold that really slowed us down.

Wear proper hiking shoes and sunscreen and bring a rain jacket. We were told we might need to get acclimated to the high altitude but we didn't have any issue. Loved the alps.

tailsock May 29th, 2020 10:13 AM

Thank you for this info! I recently found a link that includes Rinderberg. Looks gorgeous. That pic is stunning.

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 01:18 PM

A fantastic hike from Kandersteg is the Gemmi Pass from Sunnbüel to Leukerbad. Kandersteg is about an hour from Grindelwald:

Here's an excerpt from my trip report of June 2017 regarding the walk (you wanted specifics!):

During our April visit several years ago, we’d enjoyed walking the section from Sunnbuel to the historic mountain Hotel Schwarenbach (and return), yet we still wanted to walk the entire route. It was one of the main reasons for our repeat visit to Kandersteg.

It was time to go UP.

The guest card we’d been given by Walter (apartment owner) covered local buses, so we decided to save our legs for the main event. We caught the bus to the Sunnbüel Luftseilbahn, where we bought a ticket that covered both the cable car up to Sunnbüel (1936 meters) and the cable car from Gemmipass down to Leukerbad (23.50 CHF each with ½ fare card).

Tickets & fares, Kandersteg

Arriving at Sunnbüel we set out on the walk to historic Hotel Schwarenbach, which began as a customs station in 1742, and later became an inn. We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day for this six mile trek – the views were incredible. I had to stop every two minutes to take photographs.

It took us 90 minutes to reach the Berghotel, where we settled in at a table on the terrace for an alfresco lunch, surrounded by gobsmacking scenery; just us, the wait staff and another couple.

We shared a plate of Schwarenzbach Magronen, which I correctly guessed was their version of Älplermagronen, a delicious pile of calories - pasta with potatoes in a creamy seasoned cheese sauce, topped with roasted onions. We could have easily demolished a full order each, but we were trying to show a bit of restraint (41 CHF with 5 dl wine).

Then we were back on the trail, working our way uphill and through the breathtaking landscape, surrounded by snow covered Alps. We eventually came upon Daubensee, which I’ve since learned is the site of the annual Shepherd Festival held in July, when approximately 800 sheep gather on the shore, a tradition meant to maintain the friendship between the people of the Bernese Oberland and the Valais.

The trail between Hotel Schwarenbach and Gemmipass was marked at 1:15, but it took us closer to two hours. Sections of it were covered in deep drifts of slushy snow, infuriating my poor knee and making me question my sanity. Just as I was thinking I’d never make it, we walked through a passage with walls of snow on either side, and our destination came into view – the Hotel Wildstrubel and the Gemmipass Cable Car. Woo-hoo!

We climbed up the last hill and were immediately rewarded with panoramic views of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Weisshorn and the Jungfrau. We walked out to the glass floored viewing deck, which precariously dangles over the edge of the cliff, nothing but glass and air between us and a very, very long drop. Leukerbad, the largest thermal spa resort in the Alps was directly below us...waaaay down.

We took a much needed break in the restaurant, soaked up the spectacular views, then boarded the cable car to Leukerbad, the initial drop bringing several gasps as we began our very steep descent.

Upon arrival in Leukerbad we asked an employee how to get to the bus station (Leukerbad doesn’t have a train station); he pointed down the hill (Oh no!), and said ’10 minutes’. So, we strolled through the pretty little town of Leukerbad, and gazed back up at the very steep mountain we’d just come down. It was quite the drop.

At the bus station we enquired about transport back to Kandersteg (LLB bus system, we left Kandersteg via the AFA bus system), an employee pecked at his keyboard and produced two tickets (16.90 CHF each with ½ fare card). We were surprised to learn that to get back to Kandersteg would involve two buses and two trains!

The drive to Leuk was stunning; it took us along narrow winding roads through gorgeous steep cliffs with a spectacular descent. In Leuk we connected to a train to Gampel Steg, a town we’d never heard of, where we boarded our second bus, this one to Goppenstein, where we then connected to a train via the Lötschberg Tunnel to Kandersteg. We thoroughly enjoyed the return trip, which took about 1:15. I don’t know what surprised us more, the routing, or the spectacular scenery in this country full of spectacular scenery.

Dinner that evening was at Hotel Zur Post, situated right next to our apartment. We both tucked into big plates of Älpermagronen, but it paled in comparison to Hotel Schwarenbach’s version. It should come as no surprise that our waitress was Portuguese (59 CHF with 5 dl of Dole – Pinot Noir).


And a few photos from the walk:
Hotel Schwarenbach

I'll search my reports and photos for a few more options and post back.

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 01:27 PM

A few snaps of the walk to Oeschinensee, mentioned above:
Walk to Oeschinensee

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 01:39 PM

Here's a nice hike above Murren (easy to get to from Grindelwald):

And from Grutschalp to Murren (easy and very scenic):

tailsock May 29th, 2020 01:51 PM

Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 17111275)
A few snaps of the walk to Oeschinensee, mentioned above:
Walk to Oeschinensee

What beautiful scenery! Do you think there would still be snow on those mountains in August? Thank you for the specifics. We'll have to research these suggestions.

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 01:52 PM

A few classics:

Schyinge Platte (from Wilderswil):

And some easy hikes from Wengen:

Hike to Leiterhorn: The path begins near the Hotel Jungfraublick and steeply climbs to the woods, then winds through forest and meadow. It ends at a viewpoint overlooking the Lauterbrunnen valley and Interlaken, and the views from up here are pretty incredible.

Trail to Hunnenfluh: Begins near the Hotel Belvedere. This is an easy walk for the most part, but it does get a wee bit steep towards the end. Can return to Wengen via the ‘alternate route’, turning right at Ledi and back to the village (total walk time, 1:15 with photo stops, just under 2.5 miles).

You really are spoiled for choice. You'll find the information offices in Switzerland fountains of walking information and very helpful.

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 01:57 PM

Snow on the mountains in August? I kind of doubt it, but I've never visited then so I don't really know.

tailsock May 29th, 2020 02:12 PM

distant peaks

dreamon May 29th, 2020 02:25 PM

We once took the cable car from Grindelwald to First, then walked to Grosse Scheidegg (taking a detour to visit a lake) then bus back. Our youngest was 9 at the time and the kids found it easy.

Another day on the same holiday, we took the rack railway from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp, walked to Murren, took the cable car to Schilthorn and back, then walked to Gimmelwald then cable car to Stechelberg and bus back to Lauterbrunnen. The sections from Gimmelwald to Lauterbrunnen can be walked if you feel like it.

On another holiday more recently, I had my heart set on hiking near Engelberg (accessible from Lucerne) but ran out of time. I recall that there is a website all about hikes in the area if you do a google search.

Adelaidean May 29th, 2020 03:11 PM

Oh Melnq8 you’re killing me!

After cancelling our trip (flights would have been next Saturday), I’m now checking out your walk....I can see us following in your footsteps yet again...

Melnq8 May 29th, 2020 03:48 PM

Adelaidean - yeah, making myself jealous. I so want to be traveling right now.

love_travel_Aus May 29th, 2020 05:16 PM

Wow Melnq8!
Thanks for this as we have just been re looking at our mountain and walking 'holiday snaps'...and oh dear Adelaidean this is definitely a trying time.
We are of course really quite safe so our problems are nothing compared with so many of you out there.
Going to re read all of this Mel and enjoy some thankful reflection time.

Hope all goes well for you tailsock.

scrb11 May 30th, 2020 05:02 PM

Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 17111281)
Here's a nice hike above Murren (easy to get to from Grindelwald):

And from Grutschalp to Murren (easy and very scenic):

very nice in summer too. You can walk part of the way on train.

The parallel path path on the valley floor from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg also seems nice.

but there are some nice restaurants with terraces around Murren with views across the valley towards the peaks.

neckervd May 31st, 2020 06:12 AM

It might be a good idea to rent a car in order to avoid public transport and to minimize infections risks.
But in this case, it might not be the best idea, to stay in a area which is very popular with Swiss day trippers and where the most popular hiking trails will be crowded too.
The Bernese Jungfrau area is furthermore one of the few places of the Swiss Alps where is is difficult or impossible to reach hiking trails and viewpoints by car and where you are therefore forced to use public transport.

May be you have a look at a copy of an older post:SWITZERLAND BY CAR

It's perfectly possible to visit tons of gems in Switzerland by car, without boarding any train (between June and October, when all mountain roads are open).

But if you want to visit Switzerland by car, don’t choose just the places that can NOT be reached by car (like Muerren, Gimmelwald, Wengen, Schynige Platte, Schilthorn, First, Kleine Scheidegg, Maennlichen, Rigi, Pilatus, Bettmeralp, Zermatt, Braunwald, etc). Otherwise you will have to pay for both: car rental, fuel AND mountain railways.

There are tons of beautiful places in the Swiss Alps which can be reached by car. Some suggestions:

Drive from Martigny to Col de la Gueulaz on Lake Emosson (2000m/6600ft). You are then just in front of the Northern side of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain chain of Western Europe. The glaciers of Trient, Tour, Argentiere as well as the peaks of Aiguille d'Argentiere (3900m/13000fr), Aiguille Verte (4120m/13500ft), Grandes Jorasse (4210m/13800ft), Mont Blanc (4810m/15800ft) ar jus a few miles away.

Drive from Martigny to Grand St Bernard Pass (2470m/8100ft) and hike in 1 hr to La Chenalette (2800m/9200ft). From there, you have a stupendous view to the Southern side of Mont Blanc (A Neuve Glacier, Dolent Glacier, Pre de Bar Glacier, Triolet Glacier as well as a lot of 3800 to 4800m / 13000 to 15800ft high peaks). In the South, but farther away, you see the glaciers and peaks of the Gran Paradiso chain.

A easy, but very scenic 6hrs circular hike goes from Col du Gd St-Bernard via Col des Chevaux - Lake Petit Le - Col de Bastillon to the 3 blue mountain lakes of Fenetre and then over the Col de Fenetre de Ferret back to Col du Gd St-Bernard.

Drive from Sion to Col du Sanetsch (2250m/7400ft) and hike in about 2 hrs to Refuge/Restaurant La Quille du Diable on Tsanfleuron Glacier (2900m/9500ft). You are there on the top of a perpendicular cliff and can look down to Lake Derborence, just 1500m/5000ft below your feet. Stupendous view to Mont Blanc chain, Grand Combin, Mont Collon and tons of other peaks.

Drive from Sierre to Grimentz and then up to the end of the road on Lake Moiry (2250m/7400ft) and hike then in aobut 1 hr to Moiry hut (Swiss Alpine club) and Moiry Glacier.

Drive from Brig to Ried-Moerel, go by gondola to Riederalp (5 CHF/one way), hike in 1/2 hr to Riederfurka (2070m/6800ft), visit the visitor's centre/museum of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Nature reserve, walk through the Aletsch Forest and have a look at the Aletsch Glacier (longest glacier of Europe) just below and in front of you.
Drive to Grimsel Pass (2200m/7200ft) and hike in about 1 1/2 hr to Sidelhorn (2800m/9200ft). Panoramic views to Unteraar Glacier, Oberaar Glacier, 6 mountain lakes around Grimsel Pass, Finsteraarhorn (4300m/14100ft) and dozens of other peaks. You may also hike from Grimsel Pass to Lake Oberaar (1 hr) and along this lake to Oberaar Glacier (another hr).Drive then from Grimsel Pass to Furka Belvedere and visit the Ice cave in the Rhone Glacier.

Another road in the same area goes to Nufenenpass/Griessee. The hike from the end of the road to Lake Griessee - Gries Pass - Gries Glacier takes about 1 1/2 hrs.

Drive from Davos or St. Moritz to Stelvio Pass (2800m/9200ft). Hike to the glaciers (1 hr or so) or enjoy the view to them from Piz da las Trais Linguas (3 languages peak; 2850m/9400ft).

Drive from Brig to Saas Fee or over the scenic Simplon Pass to Domodossola and then to the picturesque mountain village of Macugnaga from where you can go by gondola either to Monte Moro Pass or to Belvedere Glacier.

Drive on panoramic roads around Val d’Anniviers and Val d’Herens:

Sierre – Vissoie – St-Luc – Zinal – Grimentz – Vercorin – Chalais – Bramois – Vernamiege – St-Martin – Evolene – Arolla – Euseigne – Gde Dixence Dam – Heremence – Thyon – Sion.

Explore the panoramic roads from mountain village to mountain village north of the Rhone river :

Visp – Gampel – Bratsch – Erschmatt – Feschel – Guttet – Albinen – Leukerbad – Inden – Varen – Sierre – Montana – Crans – Anzere – Chandolin s/Saviese – Daillen – Aven – Ardon – Ovronnaz – Saillon-les-Bains – Martigny.

etc. etc.

tailsock Jun 1st, 2020 06:45 PM

thank you very much Neckervd....... I'll have to take a look.

tailsock Jun 11th, 2020 06:23 AM

Thank you so far for the recommendations. I'll be sharing some of them with my brother in law to see which ones we'll do. I recently came across a hike a YouTuber posted from the Berghaus Bäregg to the Pfingstegg Station back down to Grindewald:

This particular hike is very much what I've been looking for in that it doesn't appear to be crowded, the difficulty seems moderate, and the views speak for themselves. I only wish there was a different route to get back instead of going back the same way. Can anyone suggest something similar in which we start by taking a Gondola to the top of somewhere and then hike mostly down through blooming Alpine Meadows in a different direction? A remote restaurant/mountain hut for lunch would be fantastic too.

neckervd Jun 11th, 2020 07:53 AM

Pfingstegg (4500 ft above sea level) - Baeregg is the most boring section of the trail to Schreckhorn Hut SAC (8300 ft).
Baeregg (5800 ft) was a nice place some 100 years ago, when the Grindelwald Gacier came down upt to there. But nowadays, you have to climb up to Schreckhorn Hut for a real glacier feeling.

Grindelwald is popular with Swiss and foreign people. Therefore, trails in this area will not be empty in August. And as most people who go by gondola to Pfingsstegg don't know what to do there, you may cross many people up to Baeregg.

Both glacier area access trails starting at Grindelwald (Schreckhorn Hut and Gleckstein Hut) don't offer any alternative for the way back.

In most other areas around Grindelwald, you will find tons of easy circular trails. But you will not be alone there.

For trails where you meet more marmots and capricorns than human beings, go to the Canton of Valais (but not Zermatt, Saas Fee, Loetschental, Loetschberg ramps, Riederalp, Crans-Montana, Verbier or the so called walkers haute route, of course!)

scrb11 Jun 11th, 2020 08:21 AM

I skipped through the video. Seems a lot of covered trail. Might be good on a hot, sunny day.

But not as scenic as a more open trail?

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