Day Hikes

Day Hikes

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jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 15, 2015 - 1:11 PM
Hi, I have been searching around Switzerland and think I am going to stay in Bernese Oberland area. I am wondering if this area has good day hikes and is a good place to stay. Also, which town would be the best place to make my home base? I will be there from July 1st to July 5th. Thank you for your help.
Olga
Olga
461 posts
top member
Apr 15, 2015 - 1:53 PM in reply to jennifer517

Hello jenniffer517,

What a great choice ;)! After having spent about 30 vacations in Switzerland the Bernese Oberland will always be our favourite. It is a great area to stay and there are many hiking possibilities. Which town would be best for you is a personal choice. Many of the forum visitors will say: Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Wilderswil, or otherwise. In my opinion, all places are "the best". This page may be of help, you will find tips for hotels etc. as well.

Also, this website has great tips for hiking and other activities.

If you have more questions, please feel free to get back. There's a lot of expercience here.

Have a nice trip,

Olga

kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Apr 16, 2015 - 1:41 AM in reply to Olga

Hello Jennifer and welcome to the forums!

I agree with Olga that the Bernese Oberland area fits your requirements. We have been there 18 times in past 19 years and love it. Our favorite base is Wengen, which is a stunningly gorgeous car-free village up in the mountains but with good connections to other attractions in the region.

If you would like to read more about the area I suggest looking at the links to a document I have written and the good folks here at myswissalps have posted up. See
myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

And please post if you have further questions

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 16, 2015 - 7:51 AM in reply to jennifer517

Hi Jennifer -

This site (My Swiss Alps) has a lot of information about the Berner Oberland, as you can see from the replies you have already received. The moderators and contributors have worked hard to provide a lot of information tailored to that specific area, as well as supporting materials, such as transportation to and from, etc. You'll likely find what you need on the site..

If you are curious to look further, for details in all of Switzerland, a web site provided by Switzerland mobility has lots of good information about hikes and other modes of personal transportation. It includes the Berner Oberland. I use it a lot to select possible day hikes in various areas. The maps showing specific trails are a good way to learn that there are some really tough trails available in the BO, as well as easier ones. ;-)

wanderland.ch/ en/hiking-in-switzerland.html

You can enter the names of various towns in the area. If you enter Berner Oberland, you don't get any useful result.

You can also start by selecting named national routes, or regional or local routes. Really easy routes suitable for wheel chairs can be selected.

Choosing one of the tiles in the menu bar will get you information about Hiking, Biking, Mountain Biking, Skating and Canoeing.

A lot of the hikes offered on that site in the Berner Oberland are tougher than I like, but the enlarged map shows other trails besides the named ones. And, information such as Kim has provided in her very thorough report points out some easier ones.

With any luck on the weather, you will enjoy some walks with wonderful views. My favorite for first time visitors is the easy walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. See attached image.

Wengen is one excellent base town, and the gondola lift takes you directly up from Wengen to Männlichen. At the other end of the trail, at Kleine Scheidegg, the cog rail train can return you to Wengen, or take you down to Grindelwald, or on a separate line, for a stiff fee, take you on a fantastic climb up to the Jungfraujoch.

Please login to see the attached documents
jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 17, 2015 - 2:19 PM in reply to Slowpoke
Thanks for all the help. Do many people know English In the area? Unfortunately that is the only language I can speak. Also, I will be landing in Geneva, is it complicated to get to B.O. from there?
Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 17, 2015 - 2:36 PM

Most people working in the tourist industry speak English, or at least have a colleague that does. From Geneva you can take trains to the Bernese Oberland (all about train traveling is here). Simply fill out 'Geneva airport' to your destination in the timetable for details on the journey. If you prefer the most scenic route then travel to Montreux first, and take the Golden Pass line from there.

If you have a rail pass the trains are either free (no tickets required) or discounted. Please find all the passes here.

jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 17, 2015 - 2:50 PM in reply to Annika
Thank you for all your help. I will be traveling and hiking alone. Is it safe to go on hikes alone? Do I need to worry about wildlife? Are there groups I can join with to hike?
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 17, 2015 - 9:50 PM in reply to jennifer517

jennifer517 said: Thank you for all your help. I will be traveling and hiking alone. Is it safe to go on hikes alone? Do I need to worry about wildlife? Are there groups I can join with to hike?

Jennifer-

Safety includes a lot of concepts.

Safety depends on managing risk and conditions....knowledge of trails, equipment, training, experience, etc. Matching the trail to your level of experience....

At that time of year, there will be a lot of people on the trails, assuming good weather. You will be unlikely to hike without seeing other people. You will not need to worry about wildlife. They will either be avoiding you, or watching with amusement from a distance.

Some trails are for beginners; some are for experts. You can, indeed, be very far up, with a slip and fall leading to a long trip down. However, there are many trails that have good surfaces and adequate safety, including occasional hand rails, rock steps, etc.

I belong to REGA, a Swiss ski ( and hiker) helicopter rescue organization that costs me 30 or 35 CHF per year. Two of my Swiss friends, both experienced hikers - have used their services for broken ankles after a slip and fall. Excellent service. If you are concerned about accidents on the trail, you should consider it. (REGA is the oldest, but there are a couple of competitors now. I don't know anything about them.)

Google search for "Swiss REGA."

Here is a link to their home page.

rega.ch/en/ home.aspx

Trails are classified by difficulty, so you can chose the degree of difficulty. The home page of the Wanderwege organization is only in French and German, and discusses that..

wandern.ch

Also

swiss wanderwege blogspot

I cant find an english description of the three trail types at the moment, but the basic class - Hiking Trails - only requires sturdy shoes. They are marked with yellow signs.

The others are mountain trails which require boots and possibly even more equipment (red and white trail signs.)

What hiking experience do you bring with you? Do you hike at elevations above one mile high now? Do you have good boots? What kind of distances do you cover when you hike now?

Know how to read topos?

Check the map on the right of the home page here:

swisstopo.admin.ch/ internet/swisstopo/ en/home.html

Answering your questions requires some knowledge of your skills and experience.

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 18, 2015 - 9:02 AM
@Jennifer517: The links to "Preparation" and "Do's and don'ts" on the hiking page are useful resources too.
jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 10:33 AM

You guys are awesome! I do a lot of hiking, I can cover up to 18/20km if I want to, but with that being said....that's over rolling hills. There are no mountains from where I live. (Nova Scotia, Canada)

I hike every weekend that I can in the summer. I have good boots and a day pack. I am just worried about the elevation. I don't plan on doing any challenging hikes. I do want to see the views though.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 2:23 PM in reply to jennifer517

<<". Do many people know English In the area? Unfortunately that is the only language I can speak. ">>

The English practicallly colonized the B.O. in the 19th century.

Many of the guests are English who return every year.

English is very common there.

English is required of the train conductors. Most do it very well. Wherever I am, before I try to speak English, I always ask -"May I speak with you in English?"

It give a moment for the mental language selector switch to be set to English. It usually workd for us Americans, too, and our version of English.

;-)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 2:54 PM in reply to jennifer517
<<"! I do a lot of hiking, I can cover up to 18/20km if I want to, but with that being said....that's over rolling hills. There are no mountains from where I live. (Nova Scotia, Canada)

I hike every weekend that I can in the summer. I have good boots and a day pack. I am just worried about the elevation. I don't plan on doing any challenging hikes. I do want to see the views though.">>

You'll be in good shape. You are well prepared. You might take a day or so at altitude before you do any long ones. Try a short one and see.

The link to Hiking Tips that Arno provided is an excellent summary.

I'd add that a special version of the 1:50,000 maps (called Wanderkarten) with the yellow orange covers, is very useful for hikng.

I find a hiking staff (German - ein Spazierstock) very helpful on the inclines. Especially, if you stick to the yellow marked Wanderwege, the trails will have generally good surfaces, but you won't avoid hills and valleys. ;-(

The Red and White marked Mountain Hiking Trails (Bergwanderwege) may have more difficult stretches. Boots are a necessity on them. Trails may be rougher.

If it is open and clear of snow, the really easy and spectacularly scenic short modestly downhill trail at 2200 meters, from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg will not likely cause any altitude problems. At Männlichen, if you turn left instead of right after you get off the cable car from Wengen, you can climb up to Männlichen Gipfel. Worth the climb for the view. (Gipfel means "summit" or "peak"). About 100 meters higher. When I do that, especailly on the steep section with a cable hand rail. I really pant and puff. Altitude is noticeable under those kinds of conditions. ;-(

Most of the major lakes in Switzerland (Geneva, Lucerne, Zürich. Konstanz,) are at about 400 M.u.M ( meters over the sea). Lakes Thun and Brienz (der Thunersee und der Brienzersee) are at about 560 M.uM.

So, you start out well above sea level, even in the lowlands. ;-)

If you like rolling hills, on your next trip you might like the Emmental.

See, for example,

myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/langnau-in-may

Please login to see the attached documents
jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 7:03 PM in reply to Slowpoke
Thanks again for all the responses. My last set of questions. Still trying to decide between Wengen and Murren. Do those towns have hostels? I am looking for an inexpensive place to stay. Also, once I get to the town is it possible to not take any trains and just travel right from my door to the trails? I am nervous about getting lost or not back before the stop running when I am out on my hikes. I will only have three full days where ever I decide to go. I just want to make sure I see the views and go on three hikes :)
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2015 - 9:58 PM in reply to jennifer517

You won't get lost. The layout is obvious, once you are there.

You will walk or take a short, obvious ride on public transport to get to the beginning and from the end of your hikes. Wanderweg signs are everywhere. Your innkeeper or hostel will have directions. Using a map is a known method of reducing confusion.

Wengen used to have a nice hostel. Down hill a bit from the train station. I'll bet ti still does. Don't know about Mürren.

I would not be surprised if the information on various towns that Arno and Annika have organized has those answers. Dig into this web site.

I'd pick Wengen for better connections, but some would argue with me.

jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2015 - 10:11 PM
Awesome! Thank you so much for all the help. Yes I am guessing it will be easier once I am There. I cannot wait :)
Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 19, 2015 - 11:32 AM
You can have a look at Chalet Hotel Bernerhof, very close to the rail station in Wengen. For Mürren, you can consider pension Sonnenberg (out of the village, so check if that suits you) or hotel Regina in the village.
jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2015 - 9:36 PM in reply to Arno
I have come up with another question. I will be traveling from Zurich to Wengen to Geneva. What would you suggest getting in terms of tickets for the trains? Should I buy one in advance? I have read about them, it seems a little confusing as to which one I should get. Thank you :)
Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 20, 2015 - 9:29 AM

Hi jennifer517,

Before deciding on tickets, you'd better first check whether a rail pass would be convenient for your plans. The pages below get you started:

jennifer517
jennifer517
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2015 - 5:40 PM in reply to Arno

I am having troubles deciding which hikes to do. If you all had to pick three hikes while you were in Wengen. Which ones would you pick? Is it worth a day to travel to jaunfraujoch? Would you just hike directly from Wengen or travel to do a hike? Thanks again :)

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 26, 2015 - 7:51 AM

Hi jennifer517,

Jungfraujoch is wonderful. It can be done in half a day if you leave early. Afterwards you could hike from Kleine Scheidegg or Wengeralp down to Wengen on an easy wide trail along the railway (details here).

As already mentioned, Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is a pleasant short hike with good views.

Both of the above require short train/cable car rides. Very easy to do and very much worth it in order to see more than just the village and its immediate surroundings. Nevertheless it is relaxed to also do a walk directly from town. You probably find this topic worth reading as well.

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