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Hut-to-hut itinerary help: Bernese Oberland


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Hike n Ski
Hike n Ski
5 posts
new member
Dec 26, 2021 - 5:39 AM

Hello!

I hope you are all having a lovely Holiday Season!

I am looking for some helping building a good itinerary for a 14-21 day visit to the Alps. My Fiancé (soon to be wife!) and I will be spending our honeymoon in Europe, starting in Grimmelwald (at the pension hotel) and we would like to transition immediately to a hut-to-hut hiking trip. Our trip will span Europe over 8 weeks, and the first 2-3 weeks will be in Switzerland. I only mention this so you understand we are not picking about traveling an extra day to reach something spectacular!

Here is where you come in! I feel like i have enough information from reading this forum to build a reasonable itinerary and then book accommodations at the correct huts/villages. However, I have not been able to figure out what sections of which trails would be best to attempt. Please critique my sample itinerary below and let me know if you think there is a better idea for our trek. i am especially interested if you think we should hop on a train and do a completely different trail!

Our Background

  • Live in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Extensive hiking, backpacking, and planning experience.
  • 4-5 day self-planned, self-supported trips in the Alaskan wilderness (summer/fall) including glacier travel, snow field descents, & river crossings.
  • Many standard single-night or multi-night backpacking trips through the mountains of california and arizona.
  • Extensive international travel, very used to hostel accommodations and being flexible with unexpected happenings.

What we are looking for:

  • Spending majority of time in the mountains, minimal travel into towns with cars/tourists.
  • Hiking 8-16km per day or 5-6hrs. Prefer to spend more time enjoying the scenery than marching! However, we are fit and prepared to hike much further on some days if it's necessary for any reason.
  • carry almost nothing! Want to stay in huts and purchase breakfast and dinner (and bag lunch if possible).
  • ideally our route would depart on foot from Grimmelwald since we are already there, but we are not opposed to traveling farther away to start a better route.

Fixed itinerary

  • Jul 10 Fly to Zurich (land jul 11)
  • Jul 11 Travel to Interlaken
  • Jul 12 Travel to Grimmelwald
  • Jul 12-20 Stay in Grimmelwald, explore area with day hikes.
  • Jul 20-Aug 03 Hut-to-Hut trip (end date flexible, but want to see more of europe!

Sample itinerary 1, Green Trail, Sections 11-14 Grimmelwald => Lenk (~45km)

  • benefits: beautiful part of the bernese oberland (according to your recommendations!), walking start from grimmelwald
  • not as good: only 3-6 days of hiking

Sample itinerary 2, Green trail, sections 11-1, grimmelwald ==> ??

  • benefits: walking start from grimmelwald, as many days of hiking as we want!
  • not as good: perhaps not as beautiful as the other direction? This is where i need your help!
Anna
Anna
3241 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 27, 2021 - 9:32 AM in reply to Hike n Ski

Hi Hike n Ski,

Welcome to MySwissAlps.

For day hikes in the Gimmelwald area, you can find more options here: www.myswissalps.com/hiking (please use the filter and select Jungfrau region in the subregion category)

If you're planning a multi-day hut-to-hut hiking in Switzerland, I would recommend looking up the following links:

Based on the info you provided, you are probably looking at the Via Alpina trail, which is a network of trails covering 30 stages and over 300km in distance. Stages 11 - 14 cover the Bernese Oberland from Lauterbrunnen to Lenk. If you would like to add more km to your hike, you could optionally continue towards Gstaad. Or you could simply break the journey with a train ride and start your hike from another starting point or stage of the trail. The stages between 4-8 from Elm to Engstlenalp will take you across the beautiful Klausen Pass and Engelberg, so that would be my personal recommendation. You can find more information about the Via Alpina trail, including maps and detailed routes, from the Schweiz Mobility website: www.schweizmobil.ch/en/hiking-in-switzerland/route-01.html

Hope this helps. Feel free to post again if you need more information.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Dec 27, 2021 - 9:34 AM by Anna
kim11
kim11
566 posts
top member
Dec 28, 2021 - 10:35 PM

Hello Hike n Ski, and welcome!

I agree 100% with Anna's suggestion to look into the Via Alpina route.

We did the entire route a few years back, started in Sargans and ended in Montreux. It's really fabulous. Our algorithm was to hike 3 or 4 days then take a day off to rest, do laundry, what have you. At the end our average day was 16km with 915 meters of vertical ascent.

Our preference was to stay in small village inns rather than huts so we varied from the described route a bit to accomplish that (our idea of backpacking is a a bed, a down comforter and a wine list!)

For your days based in Gimmelwald (please note that it is Gimmelwald, not Grimmelwald -- easily confused with Grindelwald) there are only about 3 dozen fabulous day hikes. Some starting in Gimmelwald, others easily reachable using the perfect public transportation services.

The good folks at MySwissAlps have posted up a lengthy document I've compiled based on our 24 (and counting) hiking holidays in the Jungfrau region. It's pretty old but you may find some helpful tidbits in there (all the hikes are still in place :-) It's a series of 3 PDFs at www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
42 posts
active member
Jan 2, 2022 - 1:20 PM in reply to Hike n Ski

Hello,

Firstly I want to say that the Bernese Oberland region is a heavenly spot on this planet!! I have spent endless hours researching huts and trails!!! In June 2019, I spent 10 spectacular days there. We did not go directly hut-to-hut, but we slept in two wonderful huts. We had planned to go back in June 2020, but due to CoVid, our trip was cancelled. Keeping my fingers crossed that 2022 will work out! Here are some ideas:

Starting in Mürren, you can hike up to the beautiful rustic Rotstock Hut. The views going there are breathtaking. So you could sleep there one night. From the Rotstock, you could hike up over the ‘Sefinenfurgge’. Unfortunately we were not able to do this (in 2019) as the trail was still closed due to snow. I have read so much about this hike, and it seems awesome. It is rated as quite difficult, but you seem to both be experienced hikers. Your ‘destination’ could be the Gspalthorn hut. I have never been there, but had made plans to go in 2020 (as I mentionned earlier, had to cancel due to CoVid.) We were to go in June again, so we had planned to hike up from Griesalp.If you google the Gspalthorn hut, you will see proposed hikes to other huts. Keep in mind that at this point you are in a completely different valley, that is, not where Wengen is.

Going back to the Wengen area, a beautiful little hut where we slept is the Lobhorn Hut. You can either hike there or take a bus from Lauterbrunnen to Isenfluh, followed by a quaint old gondola up to Sulwald. From there it is a short hike to the hut.

Another area of hiking with spectacular views is by the Schynige Platte. You take a charming cogwheel from Wilderswil in order to start hiking. There are more tourists here. We did not have time to do the entire trail, but you may want to look into going as far as First, and to the Manndlenenen Hut.

Finally, a spectacular hike is from Stechelberg or Mürren (different trail options) up to the Hotel Obersteinberg. Don’t worry, the name hotel is misleading. It is a charming place with no electricity, chickens and a few cows near by, and the most magnificent views you can imagine. They have a few beds (we did not stay there, but had a hearty sausage soup lunch!). From there you can continue up to the Oberhorn See (See is lake in German). We wanted to come back ‘down’ via a trail going by a hut (no service hut) called the Schmadri hut. Apparently it is a beautiful little place, but once again, there was too much snow when we were there.

As you are preparing your wonderful trip, you will see that there are endless useful links!! Have fun planning, and wishing you a fabulous trip!! And congratulations on your wedding! I am still happily married after 37 years!!

Monica, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hike n Ski
Hike n Ski
5 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2022 - 5:02 PM

Hello everyone!

Thank you all so much for your replies. I have been away from reliable internet for several weeks, but now I am back!

@Anna -

Thank you for those links! You are correct, I am looking at the Via Alpina trail. Stages 11-14 are definitely my primary target, but we will want to add more km to our trip. I will look into stages 4-8, they look amazing!

@kim11

You are 100% correct - i mashed "Grindlewald" and "Gimmelwald" together! I definitely meant to say we are starting in "Gimmelwald".

The link you sent is extremely helpful! I will read through it carefully.

Would you be willing to share your trip itinerary with me if it's in an easy-to-share format?

@Mshwalbe

This is extremely helpful! I think you have given me an excellent starting place for my trip planning.

thank you all so much for your replies, I will do some detailed planning and post here again!

kim11
kim11
566 posts
top member
Jan 11, 2022 - 6:51 PM

Hello, Hike n Ski, and welcome back from wherever you were!

It will take some work to get our APR itinerary in shareable format. In the meantime, here is a great list of recommending lodgings at various points along the trail www.wandersite.ch/Alpenpassroute.html#Unterkunftliste

Hike n Ski
Hike n Ski
5 posts
new member
Jan 26, 2022 - 5:34 AM

Hello again!

I have made an attempt at an itenerary. The google sheet link below has additional links to GPS maps of each day. The summary is attached to this post as an image.

docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sFY0hHXYGO4jCGjGxhan9CYkrW8MsrCR5B606TqXntA/edit?usp=sharing

some of my specific questions:

  • all days: are any of these huts not a good place to stay? we are planning on buying a hot dinner each night and breakfast in the morning.
  • all days: is it common for huts to sell a sack lunch or snacks to take during the day? most days we can stop somewhere to buy lunch, but i think it would be nice to have a backup option.
  • day 1: How is the approach to Gspaltenhorhutte from gimmelwald? is it very technical or otherwise challenging?
  • day 2: we can either hike more miles and go through Griesalp or hike less miles and cut accross the mountain directly to blumlisalphutte. does one option sound better than the other to you? where would you rather have lunch?
  • day 3 & 4: how is the oeschinensee lake area? my plan has us having lunch there two days, i want to make sure it's worth spending so much time there!
  • day 7: is the hiking route from lammerenhutte to engstligenalp very technical or difficult? will we need any special equipment or ropes?
  • day 7: is engstligenalp a fun place to explore for a day, or should we plan to just sleep there and head out early?
  • day 9: is lenk a nice place to stay for a day, or should we plan to quickly move on to wherever is next?
Attachments
Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
42 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2022 - 2:01 PM in reply to Hike n Ski

Hello Hike n Ski,

Wow! Your spreadsheet is really great!

I will let the Swiss experts on this forum answer most of your questions, but you might find the following link helpful to answer your quesion #1. It explains the trail over the Sefinenfurgge, which would be the trail after you leave the Rotstockhut and head up and over the pass to the Gspalthornhut. It appears to be quite steep, but surely a most spectacular walk!! You may recall from a previous message that I was not able to walk this during my 2019 trip due to snow (mid June).

www.hikingwalking.com/destinations/sw/sw_bernese/lauterbrunnen/murren_griesalp

I will be reading other person's answers with interest!

Monica

Hike n Ski
Hike n Ski
5 posts
new member
Jan 26, 2022 - 4:10 PM in reply to Mschwalbe

thank you, Monica! that post is very helpful, especially the pictures. i was not expecting to see stairs on the mountain pass!

Hopefully the snow will be clear by mid-july.

Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
42 posts
active member
Jan 26, 2022 - 5:36 PM in reply to Hike n Ski

Hi again Hike n Ski!

Glad you found the photos helpful! I am always fascinated to see the details that are posted, with great descriptions of the mountain peaks, valleys, etc However, based on my 10 day 2019 hiking trip, reality is absolutely breathtaking, which most photos cannot capture!!!

Monica

Ildiko
Ildiko
2128 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 27, 2022 - 5:58 PM in reply to Hike n Ski

Hi Hike n Ski,

to make sure about the food at the huts, I recommend contacting the huts directly and asking them. It can happen that they've changed their opening hours or services because of Covid, so the best who can tell you if they are serving food - are they, themselves :)

Sorry, I have no personal experience on these hiking routes, I only know family-friendly hikes. But I've tried to find answers to your questions.
Regarding Gspaltenhornhütte, I've found these for you: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/hiking-from-murren-to-kandersteg-in-4-days and log.mjhb.com/2018/07/11/day-4-gimmelwald-to-gspaltenhornhutte/.

Lake Oeschinen: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/hike-around-lake-oeschinensee-frudenschnuer and www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/from-wengen-hike-lake-oeschinensee-overnight-stay. + Information about the Kander Valley: www.myswissalps.com/kandervalley

Hiking at Engstligenalp: www.myswissalps.com/hiking/engstligenalp-unterdembirg/route

I am sorry, I could not help you more, I hope that some other forum members will read your post and will share their knowledge and experiences with us.

You'll find general hiking tips at www.myswissalps.com/hiking.

Take care,
Ildiko

Hike n Ski
Hike n Ski
5 posts
new member
Mar 9, 2022 - 4:18 AM

Hello everyone!

I wanted to post an update to thank everyone for all their help and to post our final plans for the summer!

I hope this information is helpful to anyone else planning a trip like this for themselves.

General Info

Dates: Jul 11 thru Jul 27

Activities: Hiking, Rock climbing, via-ferrata, mountain biking, photography

Key areas: Geneva, Monteux, Gimmelwald, Huts (see below), Adelboden

Transport: Eurail Pass

Itinerary:

Jul 11 - Arrive in Geneva, train to Monteux. Enjoy jazz festival

Jul 12: Travel to gimmelwald, settle in, explore.

Jul 13 thru Jul 18: Stay in gimmelwald, Enjoy local rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking.

Jul 19 thru 26: Hut-to-hut hiking (see below). End in Adelboden

Jul 27: Travel from adelboden to zurich, depart for Barcelona

Hut-to-hut travel

  • Total distance: 46mi (74km)
  • Ave distance per day walking: 6.5mi (10.5km)
  • Total elevation gain: 25,549ft (7787m)
  • ave elevation gain per day walking: 3649ft (1112m)

All huts serve half-board (dinner & breakfast). Most advertise selling a to-go lunch on their websites, but i am waiting to hear back from each hut about their specific offerings.

See attached image for the daily breakdown of distance and elevation.

This calculator was used to estimate hiking times based on distance, elevation, trail surface, and pack weight. It is an estimate only, used for planning purposes.

  • Day 1: Gimmelwald to Gspaltenhornhutte (6-7hrs)
  • Day 2: To Blumlisalphutte (5-6hrs)
  • Day 3: to Frudenhutte (4-6hrs)
  • Day 4: to Doldenhornhutte (3-4hrs)
  • Day 5: to berghotel-schwarenbach (4-6hrs)
  • Day 6: to lammerenhutte (3-4hrs)
  • day 7: stay in lammerenhutte area for rock climbing
  • day 8: to adelboden (2-3hrs)

Rock climbing

These huts have climbing gardens and will rent equipment (except climbing shoes!):

Blumlisalphutte, lammerenhutte

You may hire a guide out of kandersteg here

Gimmelwald has a very high-quality crag, more information here

GPS Links

Hut links

Each hut has its own webpage with much more info - the SAC portal has a link to each one.

Last modified on Mar 9, 2022 - 4:18 AM by Hike n Ski
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Arno
Arno
15269 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 9, 2022 - 6:34 AM

Thanks a lot for your extensive update, much appreciated!

Mschwalbe
Mschwalbe
42 posts
active member
Mar 10, 2022 - 2:19 AM in reply to Hike n Ski

Wow! What a detailed plan!

Thanks for sharing all that info.

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

Monica

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