The Eiger Trail is your chance to get up close and personal with one of the most legendary mountains in Switzerland! The Eiger North face is one of the most notorious mountains in all the Alps, not only because of the difficulty of the climb, but also because of the number of deaths. It is an insanely difficult, exposed, long and often weather inflicted alpine climbing route!
There have been over 60 deaths since climbing the Eiger North face began, back in 1930s. There are still injuries, rescues and sometimes deaths, even to this day. But on a more positive note, there are also world records set, with the famous Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck climbing the North Face solo in a record shattering in 2015 – it took him only 2 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds. Most other climbers take days!
The Eiger Trail takes you from the Eiger Glacier on the western side of the iconic mountain, along the base of the North Face to where the climbers begin their ascent. You can see the start in the bottom left of the image below (the grass below the glacier).
It’s fun to do a little research before you start the hike so you can see the route they take from their point of view at the bottom.
The first part of the hike drops around 100m through rocky terrain below the Eiger Glacier train station. Alternatively, you can also start the hike at Kleine Scheidegg and cut across to join the hike not long after it starts. The only downside of this route is that you miss out on seeing the Eiger Glacier.
As the hike continues along the bottom of the Eiger North Face you also get great views down into the Grindelwald valley below. Gradually, you will descend over 700m and enter the forest around Alpiglen, the end point of the the Eiger Trail itself.
You can catch the train back down to Grindelwald from here.
After coming to Alpiglen you can continue along the Via Alpina into town directly. Just be aware that it is another 600m descent, and does not add all that much to the view or hike as a whole.
Another option is to leave the trail a little before the end at Alpiglen and head to the Glacier Canyon – Gletscherschlucht in German. Not only is it a nice end to the hike, with forest and rushing water all around, there is also a fun tourist attraction here: Glacier Canyon Grindelwald, which has a cool hanging net amongst other things.
The hike also has some fun elevated walkways hanging from the canyon wall itself, which makes for a little more excitement than your average forest trail!
Also keep in mind that the starting point for the hike is part of the Jungfraujoch train trip. So, one option is to combine the train journey with a hike back down via the Eiger Trail. After all, once you are back at Kleine Scheidegg, the trip is more or less done, and the Eiger Trail is a better way to descend if you have the fitness!