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Faulhorn Summit: Hiking from First & Bachalpsee

Faulhorn Summit: Hiking from First & Bachalpsee

The Faulhorn hike from Grindelwald via First and Bachalpsee is truly a great adventure for a day-hike that will traverse you through some mindblowing scenery of epic mountainscapes, alpine lakes, fields of wildflowers and some local Swiss Marmots hiding in the bushes.

a lake in the middle of a green valley.


In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about hiking to Faulhorn Summit. I did the hike in both directions actually. I caught the cable car up to First from Grindelwald and then hiked to Faulhorn Summit on my first outing. On the second outing, I hiked from Schynigge Platte to Faulhorn to First. This second option is much longer but an incredible hike. One trip was on a sunny, summer’s day and the second trip was in the snow so you’ll see a mix of photos in this article.

a snow covered mountain with a small building.


  • Hike Distance: After the cable car from Grindelwald to First the hike up to Faulhorn and down to Bussalp was 10km. If you just hike back to First the round-trip is much shorter.
  • Hike Duration: 5 hours of moving time. With breaks and photos, the total time was 7 hours.
  • Hike Difficulty: Steep in parts. The trail from First to Bachalpsee is child’s play on a flat dirt path with just 188m of incline. Bachalpsee to Faulhorn was quite steep throughout but still on a good path with no drop-offs although it was about 400m of incline. Down from Faulhorn to Bussalp was an off-the-beaten-path with a signed dirt trail that often required minimal bouldering and rock-hopping.
  • Hike Incline: Total elevation throughout the hike 550m (Descent 800m)


a person running on a trail in the mountains.


The best way to reach First Station (where the hike begins) is to take the cable car from Grindelwald to First and then trek for one hour along the easy path to the Bachalpsee before continuing up to Faulhorn summit. You can hike all the way from Grindelwald to First Station if you want, although it’s not advised. You would be hiking the switchbacks directly under the cable cars and the trail isn’t that interesting.

If you want to skip the line, which is often quite long, you can book your return ticket to Grindelwald to First (return) online in advance. This ticket allows you to ‘skip the line’ and includes a return trip to First with access to First Cliff Walk.

As you can see on the map below you need to go to the Firstbahn Station in Grindelwald, purchase your ticket, and ride all the way up to First then hike to Bachalpsee Lake then continue on to Faulhorn before descending down to Bussalp. You can then walk back to Grindelwald (as we did because we missed the last bus) or take the bus from Bussalp to Grindelwald.


a red and yellow train traveling through the mountains.
a person holding a smartphone with a map and a qr code.

Enjoy UNLIMITED train, boat, and bus rides in Switzerland for up to 15 days. Click to book a flex Swiss Travel Pass or choose the Consecutive Swiss Travel Pass.

The Swiss Travel Pass starts at $260 for 3 days. Click here to check if it’s available on your travel dates.


The first thing you need to do to begin the Faulhorn hike is to arrive at the Firstbahn in Grindelwald. The ticket was 30 CHF (27 USD) one-way to First. Skip the line, which is often quite long, you can book your return ticket to First from Grindelwald online in advance. The cable car runs about every 30 minutes. To be sure of the current operating times you can check here.

The cable car offered incredible views of Eiger and all of the peaks that look over Grindelwald. It was about a 25-minute ride to First and we enjoyed it all the way!


When you arrive at First Station, it will probably be busy with tourists. Anywhere in Switzerland that is accessible by cable car brings with it the hoards of summer tourists that don’t like hiking but want the views. First is no exception and actually encourages these types of tourists with attractions at their station such as a traditional Swiss-style restaurant where you can grab lunch before heading out on the short hike to Bachalpsee.

There is also a pretty epic viewing point called the First Cliff Walk. This cliff-walk (albeit touristy) is actually pretty cool, and for me to admit that given how touristy it seems is tough. The railed walkway winds along the edge of the cliff, as you walk seemingly on a suspended path until you reach the big ‘cliff walk’.

Here you venture out onto a platform, almost walking the plank pirate-style. You can see through the glass floor and of course, enjoy the incredible views all around you if you can’t bear to look at the giant drop below you.

There is also a zipline and other activities at the top of First including the option to Go-Kart or Scooter back down the hill instead of taking the cable car.


This part of the Faulhorn hike takes you from First to Bachalpsee with a moderate incline of only 188m over the 3km journey. It is a VERY popular route for tourists. How often can you enjoy an alpine lake above 2000m incline in the Swiss Alps after having only walked for an hour?

Lots of tourists accept the challenge and make the short hike out to the lake. Having said that, I went in the peak of summer and even then it wasn’t too crowded and was a good family-fun vibe on the trail and at the lake. There’s plenty of room and plenty of lakes for everyone.

Although it is a simple section of the Faulhorn Hike, you are surrounded by the epic mountainscape for the entire journey. There are many moments too beautiful to pass by and the 1-hour journey took us 2 hours as we stopped all too often to take it in. I advise you to do the same. Enjoy your surroundings because this is truly one of the most beautiful regions on the planet.


After an hour’s journey from First, we finally turned the corner to reveal the Bachalpsee Lake. Wildflowers almost breached the path and probably would have if not for the steady stream of tourists enjoying the lake. With a backdrop of glacial mountains and perfectly still water, this was a truly idyllic location. 

There are no cafes, restaurants, or buildings to ruin the view, just a beautiful lake in the Swiss Alps. The Lake is actually two lakes although often it may be joined. In the winter this entire region is definitely joined as it is covered in a thick layer of snow.

Boys being boys, we decided it would be a great idea to jump into the lake without testing the temperature. Bad idea! It was damn freezing and I was out of that water quicker than I was in it! It took me the whole afternoon to warm up.

After chilling by the lake for a little while I sent the drone up to observe Bachalpsee from an aerial perspective, which was incredible and the views from above were just out of this world.


The trail now gets a bit more serious with some real incline. Over the next 1.5 hours, you will be on a continual incline, trudging up the repetitive switchbacks as you edge your way closer and closer to a coffee at the famous Berg Hotel that sits atop the Faulhorn Summit.

The walk up to Faulhorn

Along the route, there were still a few glaciers melting, with wildflowers fast replacing the areas where snow was just a few months ago. Amidst all the changes, the cute Swiss marmot curiously dashes between the rocks and down the millions of burrows it has created throughout the region.

The journey up to BergHotel

After the final steep switchback, we finally made it up to the Berg Hotel on the Faulhorn Summit. What a journey! A hot coffee was in order and wasn’t it brilliant?

There is a full-service restaurant here as well as dorm/hotel rooms. You can expect to pay $25-30 for a meal and our coffee was $5. That isn’t too bad for Swiss prices, especially considering how far up the mountain it is! Here is the view from the BergHotel.

The view from Faulhorn Summit

This is a beautiful place to hang out for a few hours but you can’t stay too long if you have a cable car to catch. Trust me! We missed our last bus in Bussalp and had to walk all the way back to Grindelwald, adding an extra 8 km onto our hike.

Out the back of the Berg Hotel is an unbelievable view you can’t miss if you visit the hotel. Seriously, take the time to walk out the back. You can look out across Lake Brienz and be inspired by the Hardergrat Ridge on the opposite side of the lake.


You’ve reached the summit and enjoyed the summit but now it’s time to depart. From Faulhorn there are many routes, but a popular one if you are returning to Grindelwald is to head on down to the very small village of Bussalp. Here there is a bus service that will shuttle you to Grindelwald.

You can find the timetable here. If you miss the last bus like us, you will have to walk through Bussalp and then the final 8km to Grindelwald also, which is a bit of a grind after the long journey.

The route down from Faulhorn to Bussalp takes about 2.5 hours and follows the red and white flags painted on the rocks throughout the journey.

Alternatively, you can hike back down past Bachalpsee and return to First to catch the cable car back down. This is a common route but means you need to be back in time for the last cable car, which will depend on the season.

The path is a little less steady on this descent but a little bit of bouldering made the descent pretty fun. The landscape we were heading down into was just incredible as the late afternoon sun poured in through the side. After a while down the hill, we joined back to the road, although it wasn’t long before we were stopped in our tracks by some cows who needed to be herded to greener pastures by the local farmers.

Just before we made it to Bussalp, I turned around and took in the magnificent hill we were descending. Cowbells were ringing and the golden hour was upon us. The cattle farmers were tucked away in their cabins, which were dwarfed by the mountains.

We finally reached Bussalp, but instead of celebrating with a bus journey back to Grindelwald, we were several hours too late. We were so tired we even considered ‘borrowing’ a few of the scooters for rent outside the bus station but decided that we were indeed good people and would walk the 2-hour journey back to Grindelwald despite our tired legs.


We put our heads down and hustled along the road. None of the cars stopped to give us a ride even though many had no passengers. Come on Switzerland help these Aussie boys out!

In the end, though it turned out to be a great bit of luck that we were walking instead of sitting inside the bus as we took a forest route back to Grindelwald and halfway through stopped to watch the sunset on Eiger and the other mountains. It turned out to be some epic lighting and we got to see the tip of Eiger reveal itself right during the last moments where the sun was shining on it.

Despite the darkness bringing an end to the day very quickly, we hung out at this viewing spot and took photos for quite some time. It ended up meaning it was completely dark by the time we arrived back in Grindelwald at 10 pm.

I hope you enjoyed this guide about hiking to Faulhorn from First in Grindelwald.


OPTION 1: Buy the Swiss Half Fare Card: Switzerland trains, buses, and cable cars are EXPENSIVE! I found the best way to get around cheaply was to buy the Swiss Half-Fare Card before I arrived. It gives you 50% off every regular train, bus, and even many cable cars. It only costs $150 USD but pays itself off in just a few days with many train tickets in Switzerland costing close to $100 alone. If you are staying for more than 5 days, I suggest buying the Swiss Half-Fare Card.

OPTION 2: Buy the Swiss Travel Pass: The second option is to get the Swiss Travel Pass, which gives you unlimited train, bus, and (many) cable car rides but it’s pretty expensive at around $100 USD per day so if you don’t travel each day it isn’t worth it.

OPTION 3: Buy the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass: The final (BEST) option is to get the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass, which allows you to buy 8 days’ worth of transit but you can choose the night before if you want to activate the next day. That way you don’t need to travel every day to get your money’s worth, you can just activate the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass on the days when you are doing sizeable transits. My advice is to book the Swiss Half-Fare Card or the FLEXI Swiss Travel Pass in advance before your trip so it’s ready to go when you arrive.


a red and yellow train traveling through the mountains.
a person holding a smartphone with a map and a qr code.

Enjoy UNLIMITED train, boat, and bus rides in Switzerland for up to 15 days. Click to book a flex Swiss Travel Pass or choose the Consecutive Swiss Travel Pass.

The Swiss Travel Pass starts at $260 for 3 days. Click here to check if it’s available on your travel dates.


I spent 100 days hiking in Switzerland and created a guide for different regions around the country. You can click on one of my Switzerland hiking guides below to help you plan your trip.


Mij from the UK

Thursday 11th of March 2021

Mate keep doing what you do ? you seem to have an amazing life and your blog is great!!! Keep writing. I moved to Switzerland 10 years ago and I haven’t seen a fraction of what you’ve written about.


Monday 15th of March 2021

Cheers mate, time to start exploring every weekend!!!


Sunday 14th of March 2021

Cheers mate!


Tuesday 11th of August 2020

hi . i must say you are the first travel blogger i have seen , who cleared each and every word and thing . like too much details . thank you so much . i have few questions . if u get time just send me email or you can even send me msg on facebook . i shall be very thankful. my facebook :


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

This wa a great blog, thanks. We did this hike yesterday and my legs are wrecked, thanks to coming down so steeply. We were worried about your reference to bouldering but it wasn’t too bad.


Monday 19th of August 2019

Thanks for sharing your journey. Beautiful pictures