Location: Jungfrau region, above Grindelwald
Distance: 3.5 miles one way
Duration: 75 to 90 minutes
Best Views of the Eiger
This panoramic route from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg in the Jungfrau region
is justifiably one of the most popular (and crowded) hikes in the Swiss Alps. But it has the reward of nearly constant views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, plus commanding views of the Grindelwald Valley.
Adaptable and Flexible Hiking
Another reason for its popularity is the variety of ways you can access the trail. Like most hikes in the Jungfrau, both the start and the end of the trail can be easily accessed by trains and cableways. Männlichen can be reached from Wengen by tram or from Grindelwald by gondola; while Kleine Scheidegg can be reached by direct train from Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Grindelwald. You might also consider combining the hike with the popular Jungfraujoch excursion by visiting the Jungfraujoch in the early morning, returning to Kleine Scheidegg, then continuing on foot to Männlichen in an afternoon stroll, before descending by cableway to your digs in the valley.
Of course, you can hike it in either direction, but I give the nod to the north to south Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg direction since it has you facing the most spellbinding views throughout the walk. And while the walk can be described as a level route, heading from Männlichen (elevation 7306 feet) to Kleine Scheidegg (6762 feet) gives you a 544-foot downhill saunter.
Wide, Easy Trail
The trail is wide and well graded--actually a utility road--but you can forgive the crowds and lack of wilderness as you come to appreciate the abundance of wildflowers along the way. At that elevation, you have a good mix, including spring gentians with their intensely blue petals. You'll be above treeline for the entire walk, so there,s little to block the view. Its accessibility and relative ease makes this a particularly well suited hike for young families and those with limited mobility, assuming the're up for the distance. While there are no services (restrooms or eating establishments) along the trail, you'll have plenty to choose in either Männlichen or Kleine Scheidegg, along with entertainment-dancers, alphorns, yodelers, and bands brimming with traditional tunes. This hike is a "don't miss" feature on Alpenwild's Best of the Swiss Alps
, Swiss Bliss
, and Jungfrau
hiking and walking tours. Although I've hiked this in miserably cold and wet June weather and arrived at Männlichen to be greeted with snow, this hike is really all about the mountain views rather than the trail or the destination, so it's best saved for a clear and sunny day.