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Grindelwald is one of the most popular and stunning locations in Switzerland. This typical mountain town is also surrounded by some of the highest and most famous mountains in the country – the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch. And in all likelihood you are are going up to the Jungfraujoch at some point on your trip here!
However, one of the best and most memorable things you can do while in the Berner Oberland, and specifically in Grindelwald is to go for a hike. The hiking trails are almost endless, the views jaw-dropping and many of them are actually quite short and easy. Unlike many other more challenging hikes in the Alps.
This post will give you a mix of the most popular and famous hikes, as well as a few lesser known and even more difficult options. Something for everyone as it were!
One of the best hiking trails to start your experience in Grindelwald is on the Eiger Trail. It is a relatively short, 2 hour hike that runs directly below the legendary Eiger North Face. T
his mountain, and the North Face climb in particular is infamous in the climbing world. It has probably killed more climbers than any other climb in the Alps, and might even rival Everest for its deadliness. And by doing this hike, you not only get great views, you also get up close and personal with the mountain.
The Eiger Trail starts at the Eigergletscher (german for Eiger Glacier) train station and winds its way down to another stop, Alpiglen. It is more or less all downhill, so not very strenuous and can also be combined with a trip up to the Jungfraujoch – just get off and walk on your way back.
You can also continue along the trail a further hour or more to Grindelwald itself, and also cut the train journey out on the return. Saving you a little cash too.
Directly on the other side of the Grindelwald valley to the Eiger is First. A ski resort in winter, and a great launching point for hikes in summer.
Perhaps the most popular hiking trails is from First to Bachalpsee, and it starts at the very top of the First gondola. This is also a relatively short walk, at 2 hours return. It is also very easy, so can be done in normal shoes and with the whole family.
The beauty of this hike is the reflection of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains you get, esepcially early in the morning when the air is very still.
Those wanting a little more challenge can continue another hour up to the Faulhorn hut where you can overnight or just stop for a drink and a bite to eat. You get rewarded here with views over to the other side of the valley, with mountains running all the way along – East to West.
Grindelwald Glacier Canyon - Gletscherschlucht
The last of the short walks on this list is another easy walk into the stunning canyon created by the run-off from the glaciers on the Eiger. The Grindelwald Glacier Gorge walk is an easy jaunt into the canyon, often hanging from the canyon walls itself.
This walk can also be combined with the Eiger Trail above as you can continue down from Alipglen and connect to it quite easily. Or you can hike here from Grindelwald directly – 30min from the main train station
Another bonus of this walk is the recent addition of the Spiderweb at the end of the walk that includes a fun hanging net in the middle of the canyon. Something the kids will love!
This is the first hike I ever did in Switzerland, many moons ago, and I still remember it to this day. It can either be done in one long day from Schynige Platte to First, or split up over two days with an overnight stop in the Faulhorn hut. That is what I did back in the day.
The reason this hike is so stunning is that you have unbroken views of the Bernese Alps for the whole hike. More specifically, the famous – Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Although it is more or less the same view all of the way, it slowly and subtly changes as you hike along.
It can be done in either direction actually, but the highlight, aside from the views, is the reflection in the Bachalpsee lake as you near the First gondola station (this is a separate short hike mentioned above).
If you want to extend the hike as we did, you can also continue on from First and connect with the road near Grosse Scheidegg where the bus comes down from Meiringen into Grindelwald. Of course, as with any hike in Switzerland, there are adjoining trails and options along the way and at either end!
This is another hike I have done a number of times over the years, but it is perhaps a little tougher and scarier, especially if you are not very sure-footed. It is actually a reasonably short hike if split in two days, with an overnight in the Glecksteinhütte (booking recommended) but it can be done in a day by those of you who are fit.
The Glecksteinhütte hike starts at the Abzweigung Gleckstein bus stop outside of Grindelwald, downhill from Grosse Scheidegg. So,you can reach it by foot, but the hike is not that exciting. It then quickly climbs the wall of the gorge, and doesn’t stop from there until you reach the hut at 2316m! There are a couple of “tricker” parts along the way which are worth noting. The first is a small waterfall you pass under (fun but slippery, so be careful) the second is some chains you need to hold to cross some less simple parts of the ascent/descent. None of these is “that” difficult, but this hike is no walk in the park and you should be aware of that.
The views from there are stunning, and watching the sun set or rise while you are there is one of the highlights. The other is the large numbers of long-horned Ibexes (Steinböcke) that assemble outside the hut every night to get their fix of salt!
Note: This hike can also be connected with the Glacier Gorge hike.
Image courtest of Kosala Bandara
Back on the Eiger side of the valley, this is another short day walk that takes you all the way from the Lauterbrunnen valley to the Eiger. It can actually be walked in either direction, however, you get far better views this way, as you are looking on the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau almost all the way!
It is also a pleasant walk in the sense that there is not so much up and down. It is also easy to combine with many of the walks above, because it ends in Kleine Scheidegg (the Eiger Trail starts just above). Those of you who are fit can also make this far longer by adding more on either end. A descent to Grindelwald, or an ascent from Lauterbrunnen.