Lauterbrunnen/Via Alpina hut to hut hiking w/ kids

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3 posts
new member
Feb 5, 2019 - 5:32 PM


I am planning a trip to Switzerland in August and would like to do a hut to hut hike of around 3-4 days together with my wife and kids (12,12,8).
I thought of the Lauterbrunnen area (perhaps do part of the Via Alpina) but have no real limitations regarding to the exact location.

Ideally we will do 8-12 KM each day.

I would appreciate any recommendation!

Thank you all!


616 posts
top member
Feb 6, 2019 - 9:40 PM in reply to Idangeva

Hi Idangeva.

Not exactly hut to hut, but here is one I did last summer:

Giswil - Flüeli-Ranft, 11 km. The next day walk to the other side of the valley to St Niklausen and take bus to Melchtal

Melchtal - Engelberg, 12.4 km, via the Storeggpass, can be shortened by taking the Eggen - Mettlen cable car then the train Grafenort to Engelberg.

Engelberg - Blackenalp, 13 km, shortened by taking either the Fürenalp or the Ebnet cable car.

Blackenalp - Attinghausen, 13 km, mostly downhill. Hike to Brüsti, then take cable car to Attinghausen near Altdorf.

Giswil and Flüeli are villages (Flüeli-Ranft is known for having been the home of Saint Nicholas, the Swiss "national saint" (who left wife and kids to become a hermit...). Engelberg is a tourist resort. Google will suggest accommodations. Blackenalp is a hut. Call in advance to book.

Engelberg to Attinghausen is on the Via Alpina (described in reverse in the link),

If that should interest you, and you have further questions, just ask!

Last modified on Feb 6, 2019 - 9:52 PM by Snowman
3 posts
new member
Feb 7, 2019 - 8:07 AM in reply to Snowman

Dear Snowman,
Thank you for this information.
It looks great.

I have a couple of questions:
It seems that the first 2 stages are going very close to a road, is that the case (I am looking at Google maps).

Is there a more detailed map available online for such route planning?

Thanks again.

616 posts
top member
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:21 AM in reply to Idangeva

Hi Idan,

< the first 2 stages are going very close to a road >

For the first stage, it is true, in part. The entire Giswil - Flüeli-Ranft stage is on tarred paths. From Giswil to Sachseln, however, it is a pedestrian path, along the scenic Sarnen Lake. Then you go through the village of Sachseln, and go up to Flüeli on a low-traffic road. Not the Switzerland Alps you are dreaming of, but maybe a good way to give all of you some training on hiking. This stage is Stage 17 of the Trans Swiss Trail.

The second stage is away from any road, except the section I recommend you do by bus, if you spend the night at Flüeli. You have to walk across the valley to St Niklausen OW from where you catch a postal bus to Melchtal or even further into the valley. Then you take the Obwaldner Höhenweg Trail to Eggen. When we did this, we took steep trails from Melchtal to the said trail, but there are alternatives, that will avoid some or all the steep parts, if you go to Stöckalp, the end station of the bus, from where you can start hiking, or take the cable car further up to Melchsee at the beginning of the Obwaldner Höhenweg Trail. At the other end of the trail, at Eggen, you can take a private cable car to bring you to the bottom of the Engelberg Valley. You won't be able to boast to your friends about the Matterhorn, but instead you will fascinate them by telling them how private cable cars operate. When you arrive at Eggen, you must use a telephone that is there, and order your private cable car ride. You pay the ride at the middle station, and go down to Mettlen, from where you walk on a path (not the main road) to Grafenort where you can take a train to Engelberg.

Now, you need to know about postal buses and trains. Check out HOW TO TRAVEL on top of your screen and navigate from there.

By now I hope you did not try to follow my description on Google Maps, if you did you must be frustrated indeed.

< Is there a more detailed map available online for such route planning? >

Yes, it's called Switzerland Mobility, check the boxes "Hiking", "Rail/bus/boat", and maybe "Route numbers". The base map is the Swiss Topo Map, and trails are highlighted in green. These trails are blazed with yellow signs. Train stations and bus stops are shown. If you click on a trail, you may get additional information. This is free. For CHF 50 per year, you can access Switzerland Mobility Plus which allows you to design your own itineraries and download the tracks as *.gpx files on your GPS.

Let me see if I have some photos of these hikes. That would be in a next post.

616 posts
top member
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:40 AM

Some photos along the proposed trail.

On the section along Lake Sarnen, there are several resting opportunities such as the shown bench or even "wooden hammocks". If you are in Sachseln at lunch time I'd recommend the shaded terrace of Restaurant Bahnhof. In Flüeli you can visit St Niklaus's home and hermitage. The private cable car takes 4 passengers (well, with children maybe 5) and has a separate luggage deck. Trailblazing shows the distance in estimated hiking time rather than kilometers.

Last modified on Feb 7, 2019 - 10:44 AM by Snowman
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69 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2019 - 2:49 AM

Snowman's recommendation is a good one (Blackenalp is especially impressive), but here is another, if you're still looking. I walked this (in the opposite direction) with my (25 year old) daughter this summer, as part of our trek on the Via Alpina. Most Via Alpina segments are a bit long for kids, but you can take lifts and busses to skip portions m which renders it manageable. Here is my alternative suggestion:

Day 1: Engelberg to Engstelnalp, taking the lift to Trubsee. (appx 9 km of walking) Stay at Hotel Engstelpalp, which is an atmospheric, old-time mountain hotel. If someone wants the real alpine hut experience, they can sleep in the attached dormitory, but will need to forego shower.

Day 2: Englestelnalp to Meiringen via Planplatten, taking the lift down to Meiringen from Planplatten. Again, appx 9 km. Stay at any suitable locale in Meiringen, which is a very pleasant, not too touristy town.

Day 3: Meiringen to First via Grosse Scheidegg, taking a post bus from Meiringen to Schwarzwaldalp. Walking distance about 10 km. Stay at First Hotel, and enjoy the environs at sunset and sunrise. Next morning, either walk down to Grindelwald, as a half day outing, or take the lift, which may leave time to do the next part:

Optional Day 4: Walk from Grindelwald up to Berghaus Baregg. Can avail selves of lift for part. Quite steep, but stunning glaciated, high alpine scenery up close and personal. This is a real mountain hut, but more civilized than most.

The Via Alpina gets more demanding as you go West, with longer legs and tougher climbing, so I think the above area is probably the way to go.

You'll have a great time, whatever you do.


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