Testimonials

Thanks for a great trip in the Oberland. The scenery can’t be beat. I look forward to future trips with Alpenwild. - T.G. - California

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive Lauterbrunnen - Welcome and orientation

You’ll travel by Swiss Rail from your arrival in Zurich or Geneva to the beautiful town of Lauterbrunnen. Settle in to your hotel before a guided walk around the town and a visit to nearby Staubbach Falls, followed by an orientation and welcome dinner. (D)

Day 2 – Lauterbrunnen Valley, Trümmelbach Falls, Gimmelwald, Mürren

There’s no better way to begin a week of hiking in the Swiss Alps than walking up the Lauterbrunnen Valley with its pastoral setting and being surrounded by the 72 waterfalls cascading down the high cliffs to the valley floor. This valley was Tolkien’s inspiration for Lord of the Rings, and it will certainly inspire you. We explore a ten-tiered underground waterfall before ascending to the traditional farming village of Gimmelwald and on to Mürren with its commanding views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. (BSD)

Ascent: (variable) 400 to 2765 ft | Descent: 0 | Distance: 5 to 9 miles 

Day 3 – Mürren, Rotstockhütte, Sefinenfurgge, Kiental

From Mürren we ascend the Sefinental past the Rotstockhütte to cross the high and rocky reaches of the Sefinenfurgge. This is a great day for wildlife viewing, where we regularly see ibex grazing on the slopes below the pass. A steep descent along a stairway with over 300 steps avoids the dreaded scree slopes and leads into the magical setting of the remote Kiental. We stay at a luxury hotel and spa resort set quite unexpectedly in the traditional farming hamlet of Griesalp. (BSD)

Ascent: 3300 ft | Descent: 4000 ft | Distance: 11 miles

Day 4 – Griesalp, Alpine cheesemaking, Wildwasser

You'll have a much-appreciated rest day in the beautiful hamlet of Griesalp—but with plenty to enjoy and keep you busy. We'll make a morning visit to an alpine farm where the cheesemaker crafts sturdy mountain cheeses over and open fire. There will also be opportunities for additional day hikes in this area. The chasm below Griesalp is known as Wildwasser, where a dozen waterfalls, chutes, and cascades surround the trail. In the afternoon, plan on a spa treatment or massage. (BSD)

Ascent, descent, and distance is variable and optional today

Day 5 – Hohtürli, Öeschinensee, Kandersteg

From Griesalp we cross the stunning Hohtürli pass, the most challenging pass on our journey. A sturdy stairway with over 450 steps enables us to stay above the scree, though it's still a challenging ascent. From the glacial setting on the northern flank of the Blüemlisalp massif we're captivated by the Blüemlisalp Glacier as we descend to the picturesque Öeschinensee, which we claim as the most beautiful lake in Switzerland—and no one who has seen it has ever disagreed. We can choose a tram descent or a hiking trail to bring us to Kandersteg and our historic hotel for the evening. (BSD)

Ascent: 4495 ft | Descent: 3595 to 5194 ft | Distance: 7-9 miles 

Day 6 – Kandersteg

When hikers die and go to heaven, it’s going to look a lot like Kandersteg. In this spectacular valley you’re surrounded on all sides by towering cliff, lush alpine meadows, and glaciated peaks. We’ll take a dayhike along an historic route used by Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Picasso and others to the high meadows of Sunnbüel. (BSD)

Ascent 2340 ft | Descent 2340 ft | Distance: 10 miles

Day 7 – Adelboden

From Kandersteg we ascend by tram to Allmenalp and take a remote trail to cross below the Gällihorn to make our ascent over the classic Bundergrat, where a short 20-minute extension leads the summit of the Bunderspitz, with commanding views that extend to much of the Bernese Alps and down to Lake Thun. We descend into the expansive valley below which nestles the town of Adelboden. (BSD)

Ascent: 2427 ft | Descent: 3608 ft | Distance: 10 miles

Day 8 – Adelboden, Engstligenalp

Adelboden is a choice setting with superb hiking in all directions. But an immense waterfall at the head of the valley beckons. We ascend Engstligen Falls, one of the highest and most beautiful in Switzerland to a high alpine meadow for a leisurely lunch before returning to Adelboden for the evening. (BSD)

Ascent: 2043 ft | Descent: 2043 | Distance: 8 miles (variable and optional)

Day 9 – Hahnenmoospass to Lenk

From the heart of Adelboden a short tram or bus ride speeds our ascent to a high alp and a beautiful walk over the Hahnenmoospass. The sprawling Hahnenmoospass is the lowest pass on our trip, but it has no shortage of views in all directions. We make our descent along the headwaters of the Simme River into Lenk and our chalet-style hotel in the heart of this cozy town. (BSD)

Ascent: 1600-1900 ft | Descent 1000-2050 ft | Distance: 5-7 miles

Day 10 – Lenk to Gstaad

A cable car gives us a quick lift to Stoss or Betelberg, then we follow much of the Via Alpina trail over the Trüttlisbergpass. On the descent we take a pleasant route to the Village of Lauenen and on to a celebratory conclusion in Gstaad, the trendiest cow town in the Alps. (BSD)

Ascent: 3750 ft | Descent: 3190 ft | Distance 10.5 miles

Day 11 – Gstaad, Glacier 3000, Evening in Gstaad

Gstaad resident, Julie Andrews, describes it as "the last paradise in a crazy world!" Your time in this paradise can be spent relaxing by the heated outdoor pool of our 4-star hotel, or other more active options in the surrounding mountains. We have time for an excursion to Glacier 3000 where you’ll be thrilled by the views, the Peak Walk suspension bridge, and a chance to be on a glacier in a high alpine environment. (BSD)

Ascent, descent, and distance is variable and optional today 

Day 12 – Morning in Gstaad. Depart for return flights

After breakfast you can explore the town, do any last minute shopping, or take a short mountain excursion to the nearby lakes. Depart for return flights or to onward destinations. (B)

Ascent, descent, and distance is variable and optional today

Trip Videos

Bernese Oberland Traverse

Activity Level

Alpenwild trips are designed for people who are energetic, active, and filled with a spirit of adventure. We rate this trip as strenuous. You should be an experienced hiker in good physical condition. You should be capable of walking -7-8 hours per day on good trails with some steep ascents and descents, averaging 2500-3000 vertical feet per day at an elevation up to 8500 feet above sea level. Sure-footedness is important and vertigo may impact your ability to do this tour. We cross two of the most spectacular and challenging hiking passes in the Swiss Alps—the Sefinenfurgge and the Hohtürli. On these passes there are long staircases, scree slopes, some exposed drop-offs protected by cables or handholds, and short ladder assists of about 2 meters. You’ll want to be a sure-footed, experienced hiker with a head for heights. Please note that there are three days during this tour with elevation gains between 3700 and 4400 vertical feet.

  • Assume 2.5 miles/hour on the flat.

  • Assume 1200 feet of up per hour.

  • Assume 2000 feet of down per hour.

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