Trails accessible in early June?

Trails accessible in early June?

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Posts: 6. This thread is closed.
iswetlitz
iswetlitz
2 posts
new member
Apr 5, 2015 - 8:05 PM

Hello all,

I am planning a trip to the Swiss Alps in early June. I will be coming to Switzerland from Milan on June 7, and flying out of Zurich on June 17. I have been reading the posts on these forums and it looks like that some of the high-altitude trails will be inaccessible at this time due to the snow.

I'm definitely interested in spending time in the Bernese Oberland and the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and I definitely want to take the train to the top of the Jungfraujoch. Right now, I am looking for walking trails that are safe to do solo (I'm 22 and relatively fit, but I have no mountaineering or solo camping experience). From reading other posts, it seems like I could pick a base town and do day hikes from there, and it also seems like it might be possible to do multi-day hikes from cabin to cabin (I would rather do this if possible). I am wondering if any of you have suggestions for such multi-day hiking trails, or for base towns.

I will not have a car, so I'm looking for hikes that are accessible via public transportation completely.

Thanks,

Ike

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Apr 6, 2015 - 2:19 AM in reply to iswetlitz

<<"Hello all,

I am planning a trip to the Swiss Alps in early June. I will be coming to Switzerland from Milan on June 7, and flying out of Zurich on June 17. I have been reading the posts on these forums and it looks like that some of the high-altitude trails will be inaccessible at this time due to the snow.">>

You got that part right. ;-)

<<"I'm definitely interested in spending time in the Bernese Oberland and the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and I definitely want to take the train to the top of the Jungfraujoch. Right now, I am looking for walking trails that are safe to do solo (I'm 22 and relatively fit, but I have no mountaineering or solo camping experience). From reading other posts, it seems like I could pick a base town and do day hikes from there, and it also seems like it might be possible to do multi-day hikes from cabin to cabin (I would rather do this if possible). I am wondering if any of you have suggestions for such multi-day hiking trails, or for base towns.

I will not have a car, so I'm looking for hikes that are accessible via public transportation completely.

Thanks,

Ike">>

Hi, Ike -

Your questions are well considered and thoughtful. You've clearly done your homework.

The real issue in answering is the time of year.

Cabin to cabin hiking, and other high alpine activities ( except for skiing) are tough to organize until late June or July/August/September.

At those times, many places could be "base" towns as you request, because the public transport system in the region is superbly effective, and efficient.

Then, you could pick Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, probably Interlaken, and perhaps Wengen or Mürren.

For early June, I can't really offer good ideas.

In early June there are plenty of things that you can surely access by trains (Jungfraujoch, for example), ski lifts, etc. and lots to look at, but IMO the hiking will be tough to organize until later.. Perhaps the moderators or others can get more precise and come up with a some hiking suggestions for early June, other than the floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Thats OK. I hope that they can be more positive... Some forum memebrs have more precise details at there fingertips.

Last modified on Apr 6, 2015 - 2:22 AM by Slowpoke
iswetlitz
iswetlitz
2 posts
new member
Apr 6, 2015 - 3:19 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you for this information. This is good to know. I look forward to hearing from others. Perhaps there are parts of the Swiss National Routes that will be accessible in early/mid-June as well? I'm not sure which, though.

Thanks,

Ike

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Apr 6, 2015 - 9:38 AM in reply to iswetlitz

<<"Perhaps there are parts of the Swiss National Routes that will be
accessible in early/mid-June as well? I'm not sure which, though. ">>

Ike-

There will be many sections of the National Routes open for good hiking in early June. They may not match what I believe you re seeking, however.

But, to further answer your specific question, check the height profiles for each of the National Routes at

wanderland.ch/en/national-routes.html

I did not look at them all. (Of course, you can look at other routes as well.)

The Via Jacobi and the Alpine Panorama Trail caught my eye immediately.

The Via Jacobi is a pilgrimage route. It avoids high altitudes and minimizes difficult hiking trails, because of the range of people of all ages and health conditions who use it.

Here is part of the height profile, which has 5 sections.

images0.schweizmobil.ch/WL_004_00_HP.pdf

Only one part ( after Einsiedeln) is above 1000 meters. That might be the only part with snow problems, and probably not even there, because of the way the route was developed, for pilgrims.

Parts of the Alpine Panorama Trail meet that condition, and so do parts of other routes.

I picked 1000 meters as a semi-arbitrary height. The snow line will probably be higher than that, but there may be shaded patches that are not snow free. The moderators and others can surely refine my guess at an altitude guideline for early June. It is not a sure-fire method to screen routes, and 1000 meters may not be the exact number to use, but it is one that I use as a first guideline when I'm walking at that time of year, or in the Fall.

The winter weather reports in Switzerland routinely report the altitude above which snow is falling, useful for skiers and for road travel.

The problem with that approach is, of course, that you will avoid essentially all of the High Alps. That seems to defeat the purpose of your hikes.

You can also factor in climate.

The BLS Südrampe rail-trail discussed earlier, and in the inventory of trails on this website somewhere , is on the dry, sunny south-facing wall of the Rhone Valley. Check stages 3 and 4 of The Walliser Sonnenweg, in this link:

wanderland.ch/en/routes/route-061.html

I have walked it in early April, before it is officially open, and the winter debris was not yet removed. See attached images. (Note the red sign stating that the trail was not open that I missed.) I did it in error, and had no problems, but I'd not do it again, cause there were a lot of fallen rocks on the trail. I could have been blocked and had to backtrack a few km. In June, there will be a lot of walkers on it, and the trail will have been cleaned up.

I've reached the limit of my small ability to deal with High Alpine hikes at that time of year. Those with specific knowledge of local conditions will have to refine or refute my comments.

In the many years since 1980, when I've been in Switzerland in June, usually late June, I've had a lot of pleasant and scenic hiking or walking, but not up in the High Alps. We did find that some lifts/gondola cars, etc., were not open, which added to the problem of getting "up" in many places, and I had to check the SBB listings to see about opening dates for specific lifts. Those that are the principal access to mountain villages remain open all year; those that serve ski country/hiking country may not be.

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Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 6, 2015 - 10:32 AM

Hi iswetlitz and Slowpoke,

My guess is that most trails below 2000 m should be accessible by early to mid June. Perhaps a bit lower this year, and perhaps some trails will be muddy, but accessible. Just check with the local tourist agency or train station if you're unsure about trail conditions. The higher terrain will not be accessible, and therefor hut to hut hikes at altitude should be done later in the Summer. The Via Jacobi is an excellent suggestion by Slowpoke for a multi-day hike.

There are plenty of wonderful hikes available, but whether they match your goal I don't know. I've done Alpiglen to Grindelwald in early May, without any snow, for example. More day hikes can be found in the Jungfrau region section. The Valais is a warmer region, and the south facing slopes of the Rhone valley may provide more options.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Apr 6, 2015 - 12:48 PM in reply to Arno

<<" I've done Alpiglen to Grindelwald in early May, ">>

Arno - thanks.

I have immensely enjoyed the immense Käseschnitte at the restaurant at Alpiglen. A friend makes a special point of stopping at Alpiglen when ever he is nearby, in order to have one.

<<"My guess is that most trails below 2000 m should be accessible by early
to mid June. Perhaps a bit lower this year, and perhaps some trails will
be muddy, but accessible.">>

Thanks for the 2000 meter number. I did not want to be too optimistic.

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