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hiking in Berner Oberland

Need some advice from experienced hikers on some possible hikes in the Berner Oberland. I'm considering the following hikes and would greatly appreciate opinions/ranking on (1) level of difficulty, and (2) overall quality (best hikes):
1. Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First
2. Wengenalp to Biglenalp to Eigergletscher Station to Kleine Scheidegg
3. Murren to Allmendhubel to North Face Trail to Murren
4. Gimmelwald to Sefinen Valley to Kilchbalm to Gimmelwald
5. Grosse Scheidegg to Bachalpsee to Grosse Scheidegg
6. Stechelberg to Obersteinberg to Stechelberg
7. Gimmelwald to Stechelberg (added from Carla's suggestion)
Also, please feel free to add any "comparable hikes" that should be considered. Which of the above are "not to be missed" hikes? Thanks!
P.S. I've been assuming that hike #1 is both best and most difficult (although I've hiked around Schynige Platte, I've never tried the full hike). The time estimate is about 6 hours. I'm not the fastest hiker and I'm usually somewhat slower than the estimated time. Has anyone completed this hike more (or less) than 6 hours?

Posted by
1166 posts

You should receive MANY comments. I read this forum and saved info for years because we were determined to hike here.

We stayed in Murren and thought we were in Shangri - La - we have traveled extensively, but this area just blew us away.

I think we did your 3 and 4 one day. We started in Murren and went up to Allmendhubel, over the meadows to Sonnenberg and in to Schiltap before hiking through the forest behind the Sprutz waterfall and in to Gimmelwald and walking back up to Murren.

It was not hard or strenuous - you are practically walking flat paths through meadows. But the views were amazing ! We brought a lunch and sat in the field, listening to the cowbells.

Our favorite was the hike down from Gimmelwald into Stechelberg - this was just delightful. Then we meandered through the Lauterbrunnen valley and stopped for coffee and pastries before we rode the lift back up to Murren.

Next trip we will get over to the Kleine Scheidegg and Schynige Platte !

Posted by
77 posts

Thanks a lot, Carla, for your comments and suggestions. Just the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

Posted by
1097 posts

We did your #3 hike. Took the funicular up to Allmandhubel and spent a couple hours on the kids' playground (kids loved it, v. different than US playgrounds). Then we followed the signs back down to Murren, which is the North Face hike (I think). I never saw it explicitly called "North Face," we just followed the signs that said "to Murren" but based on Rick's description in the book it seemed like the same hike. It took us about 2 hours to walk down and while downhill, it was still a workout (some rough terrain/uneven ground at times, knees felt it in a few places). Did it with my 8-year old and 11-year old and they did fine. I am fairly athletic (usually bike, run, and do weights 3-4x/week) and had no problem with it, although I was tired by the end. It was a GORGEOUS hike - you would just come upon new delights around every corner - cows, waterfalls, rushing streams, flowers. Highly recommend.

Posted by
768 posts
  1. I've done it a couple of times and it does take about 6 hours and a fast walker could do it in less, but WHY?? If you don't stop every so often to look around at the great vistas on that trail, it should be a crime.
    I would say the trail is strenuous because you are at a higher altitude and there are a lot of ups and downs. But it is not that technically difficult.

  2. Is a great trail, assuming you save some energy by taking the Allmendhubel funicular up.

  3. The Sefinen Valley is not as scenic as most other hikes because you are often surrounded by trees and cut off from many of the sweeping vistas.

  4. Great hike in either direction!

  5. Probably the most strenuous of those listed.

If you are considering various hikes in the area, click on my name and you'll find a link where I list my favorite dozen trails in the area, with maps and pics.

Posted by
77 posts

Shoe - Thank you so much. I clicked on your name and found all of your information on hikes in the B.O. What great photos! Plus detailed info about your favorite dozen hikes. Very useful!

Besides the hikes listed at the top (above), which of your hikes do you think would be most similar with respect to length and level of difficulty. My upper limit for a day hike is about six hours (estimated time).

I totally agree with your assessments of the North Face Trail and the Grosse Scheidegg to Bachalpsee to Grosse Scheidegg hike. On two prior trips, I've taken about 11 or 12 good hikes (including about half of your 12). I'll be there for 14 days this time (September) hiking most days, so I want to get prepared with a long list of good hikes. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

Posted by
768 posts

Bill, of the dozen I listed, the only long one (6 hrs) is the Schynige Faulhorn First one. All the rest are much shorter, easier, and typically around 2.5 hrs but hard to judge as we stop to take pics, sit for a bit and have a snack, etc.

If you like longer hikes, you can string some segments together, espec. around Murren. Also, a longer hike I liked (which is under my Tips section) is from Innertkirchen to Gaulihutte, about 5 hrs each way (and stay in the hut overnight).

Posted by
16707 posts

It was 15 years ago when I hiked to Grosse Scheidegg from First, but I do not recall it being either strenuous or particularly scenic ( in comparison to other hikes in the area). We did have views of the Wetterhorn in front of us, but that view would be behind you if younstart at Grosse Scheidegg. We took the "marmot trail" which may be an alternative to the main trail, so perhaps that offers a different experience. The Bachalpsee of course is spectacular, but you will pass that is you hike the Panoramaweg from Schynige Platte to First.

Two other hikes I can highly recommend are:

Pfingstegg to Bäregg, which is fairly short of you ride the Pfingstegg lift up, but quite spectacular, with views into the Glacier gorge. The trail is right along the cliff edge, something to consider if you experience vertigo.

https://baeregg.com/462/english/walks

The Eiger North Face trail from Eigergletscher Station ( above Kleine Scheidegg) to Alpiglen. This takes you on a traverse right below the Eiger, then downhill to Alpiglen where you can catch a train if you do not care to walk all the way down to Grindelwald ( which we did not).

We hiked the "other" North Face trail from Almmendhubel down to Mürren for the first time this past August, and I really liked it. The person above who hiked down following signs to Mûrren may not have actually been on this trail. It ranges way out on a traverse, with views across the valley to the Jungfrau Massif. Signs along the way trace the history of alpinism ( starting with first ascents) in the area, one peak at a time. The trail seems to be lightly used, as we hardly saw anyone on it, on a lovely sunny day in early August. And a low cow population in the area means some interesting wildflowers survive and thrive.

Speaking of August, if you are in the area over the first August weekend, don't miss the Dorffest in Mürren, especially the parade.

Posted by
11294 posts

Whichever hikes you are considering, be sure to check webcams before committing on the day. Be prepared to pivot to a different hike if the webcam shows white-out conditions.

Posted by
1097 posts

Ok, @Lola, we definitely did not come across any signs that traced the history of the Alpine areas, so maybe I wasn’t on the Northface hike. My trail did go past the children’s adventure course that Rick references although it was closed for renovation when we were there last July. Who knows what trail I was on ha ha! But I definitely do recommend it whatever it was.

Posted by
16707 posts

There are a number of trails in that area that intersect and it is confusing. It sounds like you were on the more direct trail between Mürren and the playground at Allmendhubel. We hiked up that trail from Mürren and passed the Childrens' Adventure trail onnthe way. We met our kids and grandchildren at the playground. After lunch they took the Adventure trail down, while we walked away from Allmendhubel ( in the direction away from Mürren) to find the start of the North Face trail. We would not have found it without a map. But it is definitely well-signed as such, once you do find it.

Posted by
396 posts

Stechelberg to Ober Steinberg. Best to stay at the wonderful Obersteinberg Mountain Hotel.
Stay at the lovely rustic Alpenhof in Stechelberg and Marc and Di will let you leave most of your luggage in the basement. Hike up to Obersteinberg Hotel. Have a breather and do some further hiking up to Oberhornsee and back.
You can take a couple of variations on the way back the next day.
Obersteinberg Hotel has no electricity or hot water. You will get a nice candleit dinner though. Remember to take cash with you.
We had to lend a couple enough to pay their bill.

Posted by
396 posts

Gimmelwald to Stech is only a short walk. I ran it in under 20 mins down and 30 mins back up.
Very pleasant trail though.
My wife and I hiked up with full packs in a leisurely sub 2 hours.
Kilchbalm is a lovely little walk from Gimmelwald. Spend some time exploring the area rather than just out and back.

Posted by
396 posts

Gimmelwald to Tonzbodeli is one of the finest hikes in the area.
Gimmelwald to Sprutz and onto Spielbodenalp is a nice hike. You can extend that one further if you feel inclined.
Another nice one is from the Grutschalp station to Sulwald and return.
Of course Gimmelwald to the Shilthorn and return ( take a different track to return) is a great but quite steep hike and quite a long day.
You can cheat and take a ride up to the top and hike back or maybe jump off at Birg hike the rest of the way to the top and hike down.