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Hiking in Murren (brief review of the trails)

More of a comment than question for those headed to Murren for hiking. The trail was beautiful with amazing views as described in the forum and Rick's book. That said, the trail is not particularly well marked and there was clearly a detour around the gondola construction site. We had to ask several people on the trail directions to confirm we were going the proper way. I would also give a stark warning to those not in reasonably good shape/don't hike normally or used to regular vigorous exercise. This hike, the Mountain View Hike, and even the Murren to Gimmelwald walk were steep and rigorous.

Murren to Gimmelwald. Rick describes it as an easy 30 minute walk. It is more like an hour with a significant decline the entire way. If you have any knee issues you may want to consider just taking the gondola there and back.

North Face. Described above. Large inclines and declines. You must have proper hiking shoes. We wish we also had purchased or rented walking sticks.

Mountain View Hike. After taking the funicular from Murren, this is a very pleasant hike for most of the trail. Rick only gives it one star, but is has the same general vibe and views as North Face so consider it a three star. The last kilometer or so is extremely steep downhill (or uphill if you start right from the train) with often difficult terrain. You must wear hiking boots and I can not recommend poles enough. Many people were winded and exhausted on the way "up" that we passed.

All this to say, please do not attempt these trails unless you have physically prepared to navigate the steep long winding terrain involved. The views are breathtaking, but all are physically challenging. My wife and I exercise daily with cardio and weights and we were quite exhausted after all of them.

Hope this is helpful and have a wonderful trip!!

Posted by
11439 posts

Good points, dpmonroe. We do these hikes each year (we are 70 and 79), always with good boots and poles. There is a slightly less rigorous version of the Mountain View Trail if one descends to Winteregg instead of going all the way to Grütschalp. It is an amazing area that calls us back each year and we will go as long as we can lace our boots and grip our poles!

Posted by
2771 posts

Murren to Gimmelwald. Rick describes it as an easy 30 minute walk. It
is more like an hour with a significant decline the entire way. If you
have any knee issues you may want to consider just taking the gondola
there and back.

It sounds like you may have strayed from the easy paved route.

Posted by
848 posts

I remember hiking a trail from Murren to Gimmelwald and then walking the paved road back up to Murren. I wouldn’t considered either an easy walk and we hike a lot. Looked it up, it’s two miles with a 820 foot elevation gain. Obviously, Rick is in a lot better shape than we were. I remember our group of six stopping repeatedly on the way back to get our breath…..or maybe we missed the “easy path” too. :)

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the responses. Respectfully, unless you are an athlete, suffice it to say there is no "easy paved road".
Wishing all interested parties a wonderful vacation in the OB and enjoy the hiking!!

Posted by
1788 posts

I remember a paved path from Murren to Gimmelwald. I agree if you are RS and your goal is to just to get to Gimmelwald and meet your friends, it could take only 30 minutes, but who does that? You have to stop and look at a waterfall, a stream running through the woods or just enjoy the views from different points as you angle your way down. Take an hour or 90 minutes and tell everybody back home you did it in 28 minutes!

Posted by
2771 posts

There really is an “easy paved road” from murren to gimmelwald. 😊

Here’s one of my photos from that walk:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/gawLeeq1XVyd2zFD6

I’m not trying to create an argument, but I would hate for people to skip this easy walk because they think it is too difficult.

Posted by
1191 posts

I appreciate the desire to share your experience and offer advice. However, making blanket statements either way (it's easy, it's really difficult, or you must have hiking boots) doesn't account for the incredible variability in people's ability. I did the North Face trail 5 years ago, so I was mid-50's. I wore cross-training shoes, not boots, no hiking poles, and had no problems, even with some knee issues that I have (and had back then as well.) Also walked Murren to Gimmelwald on the paved road and, yes, it's downhill, but again had no problems and it didn't take anything like an hour. So, yes, be advised that the terrain isn't flat, and it's at altitude, but for me the most important thing is to known one's own capabilities and limitations.

Posted by
521 posts

So glad that you posted this! Whenever people say that proper hiking footwear is not needed in Mürren I always cringe. It makes me think of all the tourists that came to Canada when I lived there and took roadside selfies with the wild bears - even better if they have cubs with them…or why not try to feed them by hand?

Of course the majority of these people returned home unharmed. They could then write in their local travel forum that is it perfectly safe - they did it, so it must be!

Every year in Switzerland there are many hiking accidents and even deaths. People overestimate their hiking ability and/or do not properly research the route that they want to take. Anything that is marked with white-red-white stripe on the directional sign or along the trail is for experienced hikers using proper hiking equipment.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/mountain-accidents-in-switzerland--the-figures/47805430

As far as the Mürren to Gimmelwald walk. I dislike taking this route because I am one who wears hiking boots when I go to the mountains - and they are made for walking on trails, where there is some give to your step. Anyone wanting to walk down a paved road like this one would probably be better off in runners, or something with rubber sole to help absorb the shock with each step.

Posted by
1955 posts

Different people have different ideas of what is a hard or easy walk. Remember that a walk like Gimmelwald - Murren is something that thousands of school children in Switzerland. (from kindergarden onwards) do every day... 3 km isn't really a lot if you are used to walking.

My normal everyday shoes are actually low walking shoes. I used to wear trail runners a lot, but now have a more conventional pair. These are my every day shoes, so I do not want them to be to "flashy". And these shoes are suitable for a lot of the walking trails around here as well. I will however wear proper mountain boots when hiking higher up in the mountains.

Posted by
16683 posts

The path along the train tracks from Mürren to Grutschalp (the top of the cablecar up from Lauterbrunnen) is pretty level and also scenic, but only 2.5 miles. After Grutschalp the path (actually a gravel road) continues to the hamlet of Isenfluh, but it descends nearly 2000 feet on the way.

You could run to Grutschalp, ride the cablecar down, and continue your run in the flat Lauterbrunnen Valley to get your mileage in. Or just run laps between Mürren and Grutschalp.

As for the walk down to Gimmelwald and back, the paved road is “easy” in the sense that it is smooth, with no roots, rocks, or other discontinuities to trip over or cause a twisted ankle. But it is steep enough to challenge some, especially if they are not acclimated to the altitude, or used to walking uphill. And it is definitely “easier” than the steeper rocky footpath that diverges from the paved road partway down.

Posted by
11439 posts

Are there any trails from Murren that are relatively level. For example that follow a contour line. Need to run 14 miles there this weekend.

Mango,
Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken and back is about 14 miles, much of which is along the river as far as Wilderswil. Just a little downhill at the start. Or run Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg (some road, some riverside trail) and on to Wilderswil for about 14. Return on the train from either end point.

Posted by
16683 posts

Laurel, looking on Satellite View, it appears there is a small road connecting Lauterbrunnen and Zweilütschinen, which would have less traffic than the busy Hauptstrasse 222. It starts at the Lauterbrunnen Train station parking lot and pretty quickly crosses the river, remaining on the other side from the train tracks and Hauptstrasse. The Zweilütschinen end is labeled “Hunter den Egg”.

Do you now anything about this road? It appears to be a better option for running or cycling than the main road. My son and grandchildren may want to do some cycling when we are in Mürren next month.

Posted by
11439 posts

Lola,
We cover walking the river between Lauterbrunnen and Zweilutschinen as well as Zweilutschinen to Wilderswil in our book. There is a path/gravel road most of the way from Lauterbrunnen to Zweilutschinen, on the other side of the river, as you figured out, and a seldom used mostly paved farm/forest road most of the way from Zweilutschinen to Wilderswil.

Here are links to my map of each. We see lots of cyclists especially from Zweilutschinen to Wilderswil. The Lauterbrunnen to Zweilutschinen route has a rough trail with rugged stairs near the beginning, then is easy.

https://www.plotaroute.com/route/2097783

https://www.plotaroute.com/route/1684249