Hiking in May

Hiking in May

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Posts: 10. This thread is closed.
Bill50
Bill50
6 posts
new member
Mar 8, 2011 - 1:29 PM
Hi...we will be in Switzerland in mid-May. We have 7 to 9 days total. Our goal is to see the beauty the Alps and to meet the people of Switzerland. We want to take our time to enjoy ourselves and not feel rushed. We would like to take a couple of rail trips and hike some moderate day and overnight hikes too. We are not interested in large cities or tourist areas. Staying in villages and mountain inns is what we are looking for. Is there an itinerary that you can suggest for us? We would be arriving in Zurich. Thank you for your suggestions.

Bill
Olga
Olga
461 posts
top member
Mar 9, 2011 - 5:08 AM
Hello Bill,

This year I hope to spend my holidays in Switzerland for the 30th time, and you know what: it never stops to amaze me. My favourite part of Switzerland is the Bernese Oberland with Graubünden as runner up. If you follow these links, you will find lots of day trips and hiking tips. If you choose to spend time in the Bernese Oberland, places like Wilderswil, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Grindelwald are really beautiful and will give you lots of opportunities to make trips. You may not want to miss Jungfraujoch or the Schilthorn - the views from there are really astonishing (you need good weather though). Travelling by train in Switzerland is something special. A day trip to Luzern, for example is something I gladly suggest.
Then of course there are special trains like the Glacier Express (seat reservations have to be made) or the Golden Pass Line. Maybe a travelling pass may come in handy for you, more information can be found here.

I hope this gets you started. If you have more questions, I will be happy to look for answers!
jwishz
jwishz
4 posts
new member
Mar 11, 2011 - 6:01 PM
I am planning a similar trip in the Oberland. Five days hiking between villages. Ideally, no more than 4-6 hour walk each day. Is there a map with accommodation information you can recommend?
Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 12, 2011 - 3:20 AM
Hi jwishz,

I personally like the yellow hiking maps at scale 1:50,000. They show every tiny trail and main trails are marked red. Mountain huts and inns (the remote ones) are marked with a red circle. But they just show the location. Additional information is not on the map and should be found elsewhere, e.g. on the website of the Swiss Alpine Club. The maps can be found on our partner's website.
Bill50
Bill50
6 posts
new member
Mar 12, 2011 - 6:02 PM
Thank you Olga! We will most likely spend most of our time in Bernese Oberland area. Do you think in mid-May that most hiking trails are accessible without snow? And are most of the mountain inns open, or is this an in-between season? Lastly, what would be your best recommendation for a an overnight hike to a special mountain inn where I could spend my 50th birthday while in Switzerland? Thank you again,

Bill
Annika
Annika
4413 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 13, 2011 - 7:23 AM
Hello Bill! Mid-May isn't the best season for mountain trails, as tracks at higher altitude may still be covered in snow. Chances of snow-free trails are a lot higher in June, but the best months are July, August and September (although snow can fall even then). Some mountain huts are open in May, but many of them don't offer catering yet. Please refer to the Swiss Alpine Club mentioned above by Arno. They have an excellent overview of mountain huts, with opening and catering times.

A glacier walk can be made to the Mönchsjochhütte, with the Jungfraujoch as your starting point. The hut is open from April, so you may like the idea of spending your birthday there. Please note though that this is a high alpine region, requiring good shoes and water proof hiking gear.

Besides from mountain trails, there are numerous beautiful hikes to be made in the Bernese Oberland in May at lower altitude. Our overview may help you select some routes.
Bill50
Bill50
6 posts
new member
Mar 16, 2011 - 12:18 PM
Thank you Arno. It looks like we will have to stay in lower elevations as you suggest. That is ok, I'm sure we will see some beautiful scenery and have a great time!

I have heard of hiking the Jungfrau Loop, where after riding a cog railway we hike and overnight in Grindelwald. From there a hike and overnight in Wengen, then hike and overnight in Murren. This seems like an easy route, however, is this route going to be to high elevation for hiking in May? Should we just stay in the valley and do day hikes?

Bill
Annika
Annika
4413 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 16, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Hi Bill. I can't quite figure out what the exact routes for this 'Jungfrau Loop' hike are. It's not an official route, so it can be composed in different ways by different tour operators. Are you referring to this description? There's no clear hiking map included here. However, the basis seems to be a fairly doable hike over good hiking paths. There are still chances of snow though; I've been there myself in May and the section between Kleine Scheidegg and Alpiglen was still covered in snow. Just check weather forecasts each day, or ask the lokal tourist offices whether the routes you plan to hike are snow free. A bit of snow doesn't have to be a problem of course, but you should avoid steep sections that are snow covered or wet and slippery. The ascent to Mürren (if not made by cable car) will definitely involve steep tracks, so stay informed about weather circumstances when getting up there. A great advantage of this route - besides of the fact that it offers beautiful scenery - is that each section can easily be replaced by a public transport ride, so you can decide whether to hike or to take a train, bus or cable car for each individual leg.

I hope this helps you decide!
Bill50
Bill50
6 posts
new member
Mar 16, 2011 - 3:13 PM
Yes, I was looking at the description, wondering if it was accessible in mi to late May. Or even starting in Stechelberg then to Murren. I am sorry, I don't know the area, and my searches are not turning up any good hikes in May. That is OK though, we just want to be there and enjoy what we can. We will find out what we can do while there, but I'm sure whatever we do we'll have a great time! Thanks again.

Bill
Annika
Annika
4413 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 17, 2011 - 5:05 AM
You're right Bill: it doesn't really matter what you do, just being there is wonderful. Nature is beautiful in May and I even prefer it over the summer months, as everything is fresh and green and most mountain peaks are still snow covered. I'm sure you'll find some good hikes. And you may be able to do the Jungfrau hiking tour after all, if spring is warm and sunny. Of course you're more than welcome to report back how your holiday turned out!

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