The hike to the Oeschinensee is the first hike that Anna and I did together in Switzerland, so it holds a special place in my heart. I picked the hike out of the Lonely Planet Switzerland hiking book, and it is absolutely stunning.
There are a number of ways you can slice this hike. You can hike up from Kandersteg as we did, or take the cablecar up from town and make the hike a whole lot easier.
If you just want to hike up to the Oeschinensee, the hike is not at all technical, however it does ascend around 430 meters, and will take you 1.5 hours hiking time.
Once you are there, you can enjoy the stunning views of the sheer, waterfall-filled cliffs surrounding the crystal clear blue lake on 3 sides. It is stunning! The turquoise blue color of the lake is also something to behold, especially if you have never been to a glacial fed lake before.
You can stop and enjoy lunch here at the lake, either with a picnic like we did, or at either of the two mountain hotels at the head of the lake – Berghaus am Oeschinensee, and Berghotel Oeschinense.
You can also rent boats here, which is a fun way to explore the lake from another angle. Or you could go for a swim, if you don’t mind glacial-fed waters. They are very cold!
If you really want to get a great view of the lake, you should continue your hike from the lake (or where the cablecar station is), along the left hand side, up to Oberbärgli.
It is another 410m ascent from the lake, and definitely not for those of you with a fear of heights. That is not to say that it’s extreme in any way, just a little exposed in parts. Which is why the view is so stunning!
You can also look across to the other side of the lake and imagine hiking along the lake’s edge and then up to one of the hut on the other side – the Fründenhütte.
The walk up to Oberbaurgli is actually part of the Swiss Alpine Route, with this stage running between Kandersteg and Lauterbrunnen. It is quite a long hike, but definitely worth it if you have the time, and fitness!
Kandersteg is in the Berner Oberland, not too far from Interlaken (1 hour 10 by train) and Bern (1hr by train). It is also on the way to Wallis by car from the north, so makes a good stop before catching the car train (Lötschberg Tunnel train) south.
If you come by car, there are some parking lots around town. I recommend arriving early in summer because this is a very very popular hike. Below you can see the parking options in Kandersteg. The cablecar station is probably the best place to park.