INTERLAKEN HIKING GUIDE: 15 AWESOME HIKES NEAR INTERLAKEN

Interlaken is a stunning town in central Switzerland that is one of the best spots to be if you are into hiking. I used Interlaken as my hiking base for several weeks in the summer and found it to be very central and convenient to nearby hiking trails but also several nearby hiking hotspots that are within an hour or so by trains such as Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, and Thun. I created this Interlaken Hiking Guide to show you all of the hiking trails in the region. I’ve done all of the hikes on this list but there are many more you can explore for yourself (I’ve got a list of more hikes near Interlaken for when I return). 

In this blog post, you will find a description of each of the hikes in Interlaken and some photos I took as well as a link to the individual blog post I wrote about every hike I did near Interlaken. You can click on that link for a more detailed review of the hike including maps, starting points, how to get there, photos, directions, difficulty, and a short story about my experience on that Interlaken hike. 

So, let’s get into it and start looking at all of the top hikes near Interlaken in my Interlaken Hiking Guide. All of the hikes on the list are trails I hiked while based in Interlaken. So, even if the hike is in Murren or Lauterbrunnen, it means that I went from Intlerkaen hiked it and came back the same day (unless I stayed in the hut overnight). It’s a guide to what hikes are possible while based in Interlaken.

 

INTERLAKEN HIKING GUIDE: THE TOP 15 HIKES NEAR INTERLAKEN

HARDERGRAT HIKE

The Hardergrat hike has to be somewhere at the top of this list. It’s known as one of the toughest hikes in Interlaken and also one of the most dangerous. The trail begins at Brienz and runs along the Brienzersee (Brienz Lake) all the way to Harder Kulm Station. It takes fit hikers about six hours to complete and there are many parts with very, very steep drop-offs. It is for experienced hikers and to be avoided on wet days is the steep cliffs can be unforgiving. It is possible to get the train up at Brienz and then down from Harder Kulm but you will need to hike fast and with determination, because if you miss the last train you will be hiking down another 800m of incline. The best route is to get the early train (it’s also half price) at Brienz and then work your way to Harder-Kulm Station and make sure you catch the last train down. Alternatively, if you are a hiking machine, you can hike up to Brienzer Rothorn, along the ridge to Harder Kulm Station and then down to Interlaken for a total of almost 30-kilometers and 3000m+ of incline throughout the day. Good luck with the journey.

 

SCHYNIGE PLATTE TO FIRST HIKE

The hike from Schynige Platte to First via Faulhorn is among the top hikes in Interlaken with an epic view around every turn. Expect a long day on the legs with 16km of the trail ahead of you and nearly 1000m of incline. The soup and coffee at Faulhorn with magical views make it all worthwhile.

This hike is quite special because it has views of Brienzersee along the way before heading up past alpine lakes to the Fualhorn Mountain Hut. I did this hike near Interlaken after the first snow of the season and it was just stunning. It’s also a great hike for the middle of the summer when there is now snow, which would be a unique experience as well.

This epic hike near Interlaken is not extremely difficult with very few areas of concern for moderately experienced hikers. While 1000m of incline is substantial, there are no points where the trail is overly exposed. Many parts of the trail are rocky and involve a tiny bit of clambering but you never need to use your hands or climb.

The hike took me a total time of 5 hours. It could be done in a little less time, especially if you don’t summit Oberberg and Faulhorn but that is the whole point of the hike! I’d bargain for 5-7 hours for the total trip and you will enjoy a coffee and soup at Faulhorn and have lots of spare time to enjoy your hike. The main point to remember is that (at least during summer) the last cable car down from First to Grindelwald is at 5:30 so you need to leave from Schynige Platte before midday to make that. If you miss it, there is a 2-hour trail down to Grindelwald that you will have to take on tired legs.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: SCHYNIGE PLATTE HIKE TO FAULHORN & FIRST

 

MOUNT NIESEN HIKE ‘THE SWISS PYRAMID’

Mount Niesen was a hike I hadn’t heard too much about but it delivered in so many different ways! The cable car is so steep it’s an exciting ride in itself, the views on the panorama trail to the summit were incredible, and then to be above the clouds at Niesen Kulm Berghaus enjoying the sunset was out of this world. 

Because of its distinct pyramid shape, this peak sticks out above the clouds when the conditions are right and with a fancy mountain hut restaurant on top of the peak, it is one of the sights to behold in Thun, which is just one town down the line from Interlaken. Below, in the photos, you will see the pyramid shadow it casts at sunset. This was by far one of my favorite Interlaken hiking experiences as I got lucky with the clouds and an epic sunset on my solo mission.

The distance from Mulenen to Niesen Kulm is 7.7km or you can do as I did and catch the cable car to Schwandegg station, which is halfway up and then hikes from Schwandegg to Niesen Kulm, which took me 1 hour and 13 minutes to complete the 4.8 kilometers with an incline of 646 meters. The recommended time is 2-3 hours if you are coasting.

The trail is quite easy and there are no moments of serious exposure. The incline is the hardest part about this hike and if you aren’t confident, starting halfway at Schwandegg is advised because from Mulenen it is 1700m of climbing, which is a bit too much for a beginner but fine for regular hikers.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING MOUNT NIESEN ‘THE SWISS PYRAMID’

 

MURREN TO GIMMELWALD VIA FERRATA

The Via Ferrata from Murren to Gimmelwald is one of the most epic adventures in Switzerland. Traverse ladders and steps on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lauterbrunnen, but don’t worry you are strapped in with a harness!

For those who don’t know what a Via Ferrata is, it’s basically a series of ladders, steps, and rock climbing that leads you up a wall. You are wearing a harness and clip into a strong wire at the start of the Via Ferrata. From that point, you are always clipped in with at least one clip.

This is one of the most exhilarating hiking experiences you can have while based in Interlaken. You will literally be hanging off the wall over a 500-meter drop down into Lauterbrunnen Valley. You up for it?

I’ve added the instructions to get to the start of the Murren Via Ferrata below.

  • From Interlaken, you will need to catch the train Lauterbrunnen
  • Once in Lauterbrunnen take the Grutschalp cable car, which is right next to the train station. This will take you all the way up to Grutschalp station where you can switch onto the historic, Murren Railway.
  • The Murren Railway is one of the most scenic rides in Switzerland with views of Eiger and the surrounding peaks along the journey.
  • Once you arrive at the Murren Train Station turn left out of the station and walk for 10-minutes past Hotel Edelweiss and you will arrive at the sports chalet on your right and Intersport on your left for the hiring of the gear.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE MURREN TO GIMMELWALD VIA FERRATA

 

 

BAREGG HUT HIKE WITH OVERNIGHT STAY & HIKE TO SCHRECKHORN HUT

Baregg Hut (Bareghutte) is perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the lower Grindelwald Glacier. It’s just a 3km walk from Pfingstegg and is a great place for an overnight stay and a basecamp to hiking to the Schreckhorn Hut (Schreckhornhutte). I caught the train from Interlaken to Grindelwald and began from there and returned the next day. My hostel let me leave my bags in their lockers for free.

The trail follows along the edge of the cliff, alongside the Lower Grindelwald Glacier… or at least where the glacier used to be. This hike shows you exactly how much the glacier has receded in the last century and a half. I arrived at the hut in the late afternoon and dropped my gear off in the dormitory, got changed, and went outside to enjoy the scenery. The dormitory-style rooms have nice bunk beds with comfortable mattresses and brilliant views even from the bunks themselves. Inside the mountain hut, you will find showers, bathrooms, a dining room, and lots of areas to hang out, play cards, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. 

The hike from Baregg Hut to Schreckhorn Hut is a bit more challenging than the route from Pfingstegg to Baregg Hut. It’s a 12km round-trip hike back to Baregg with over 1000m of incline. 

Aside from the ladders and cables, you do have to climb 1000+ meters, which is a challenge in itself so definitely gear up for an adventure! The views of the glacier that are within touching distance throughout the trail make it all worth it!

The distance from Pfinstegg to Baregg Hut is just 2.75km. However, the next day the hike to Schreckhorn and return to Baregg Hut is 11.8 kilometers and then the 2.75km return to Pfinstegg. So all up for this expedition it is 17.3km.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: BAREGG HUT HIKE WITH OVERNIGHT STAY & HIKE TO SCHRECKHORN HUT

 

THE EIGER TRAIL HIKE: EIGERGLETSCHER TO ALPIGLEN

The Eiger Trail hike is one of the most popular routes in Switzerland because the path leads hikers directly under the world-famous Eiger North Face Wall, which is renowned as one of the toughest climbs in the world.

The trail starts off with 200m of incline, although it is spread over a couple of kilometers and is nothing too strenuous. At this point, you cannot see Eiger, but the views across the valley and the towering glacial mountains are incredible and there is something to gawk at in every direction.

It isn’t long before you will reach the Eiger viewing area. It’s about 2km into the trail and there will likely be a little gathering of people and possibly some local cows. Here you will look up towards Eiger Mountain and if you read the signs, you can even identify the path the climbers use to scale the North Face wall of Eiger. 

The distance from Eigergletscher Train Station to Alpiglen along the Eiger Trail is 6.5km. The hike takes about 2.5 hours although if you went straight through without taking photos or stopping it would be well under two hours. It could be run in well under an hour.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE EIGER TRAIL HIKE: EIGERGLETSCHER TO ALPIGLEN

 

HIKING TO FAULHORN SUMMIT VIA FIRST & BACHALPSEE

Bachalpsee is one of the most stunning alpine lakes in Switzerland, surrounded by wildflowers and adorned with an incredible backdrop of glacial mountains. The beauty of the Bachalpsee Lake is that because there is a cable car to First, it just a one-hour trek from the First station to the lake, despite being located at 2,265m in altitude. In terms of having it all… this is up there as one of the most all-round impressive hikes near Interlaken!

Hike Distance: After the cable car to First the hike from First to Bachalpsee was 3km one way and you will need to hike back so 6km in total.

Hike Duration: 2-hours of moving time. With breaks, swim and photos, total time was 3 hours return.

Hike Difficulty: Very easy. Dirt trail the whole way. Some incline but nothing too major just 188m up and 188m down.

Hike Incline: 188m

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING TO FAULHORN SUMMIT VIA FIRST & BACHALPSEE

 

MORGENBERGHORN HIKE: BEST VIEW OF LAKE THUN

The Morgenberghorn Hike is a challenging trail with 1300m of incline but the panorama point has the best view in the region view on Lake Thun! This hike is quite near Interlaken and as you will see, I actually walked all the way back to Interlaken, that’s just how near it is.

It’s a fun little trail up to a viewpoint that overlooks Lake Thun and even has views of ‘The Big Three’ when the clouds clear. Those are Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

The total hike distance was 19km kilometers, which includes the summit of Morgenberghorn and then continuing on all the way to Wilderswil. That is the route I took but you can make it shorter in distance by returning to Aescherid or other nearby descents. You then add on 1.5 hours of transit back to Interlaken if you are staying there so timewise it is similar. It just depends if you want to walk back to Interlaken or take the train.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: MORGENBERGHORN HIKE: BEST VIEW OF LAKE THUN

 

HIKING TO DOSSEN HUT VIA ROSENLAUI GLACIER

The Dossen Hut hike is an epic 19km T4 Difficulty route that starts off at Rosenlaui Glacier, leads you up to the mountain hut and down to Innertkirchen. This one requires a train and a bus from Interlaken but I made it all work as an Interlaken day-hike.

The hike begins by taking you through a canyon and a number of waterfalls before you begin the T4 route up the rocky slopes. Ladders, ropes, and pegs lead you up the scramble to the mountain hut where you have an epic view of the Rosenlaui Glacier. You then return through the canyon on the other side of the ridge before catching the train back to Interlaken.

The suggested duration is about 8 hours from Rosenlaui Hotel to Dossen Hut and down to Innertkirchen. However, as you will see in this blog post, I did the hike in 5 hours but also had to run an extra 5km from Innertkirchen to Meiringen Train Station. So it is possible in less than 5 hours but likely it will take 5-10 hours for most hikers.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING TO DOSSEN HUT VIA ROSENLAUI GLACIER

 

THE ROTSTOCK VIA FERRATA AT EIGER, GRINDELWALD

The Rotstock Via Ferrata is an epic climb right next to the famous North Face Wall of Eiger. Using a harness, stairs and metal stairs you can climb 400m of incline to the 360-degree panoramic viewpoint.

For those who don’t know what a Via Ferrata is, it’s basically a series of ladders, steps, and rock climbing that leads you up a wall. You are wearing a harness and clip into a strong wire at the start of the Via Ferrata. From that point, you are always clipped in with at least one clip.

The total hike distance was 5km from the start of the Eiger Trail and up to the summit and then back down to Eigergletscher Station.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE ROTSTOCK VIA FERRATA AT EIGER, GRINDELWALD

 

THE NIEDERHORN HIKE: A BEAUTIFUL RIDGE WALK

The Niederhorn is a popular summit with lots of action at the time, highlighted by incredible views of Lake Thun, which is very close to Interlaken. It’s possible to ride up or down with the cable car but exploring the Niederhorn ridge hike at the summit is a must!

At the summit, we hung out on the ridge that overlooks the western end of Lake Thun and was all by ourselves the entire time. We watched as paragliders took off (I watched that one from my drone, which was a little scary), scoped out Lake Thun, and looked at the small huts in the valley below.

The way we did the hike was to take a cable car to the summit and then hike along the ridge and then down to Beatenberg Station. This was 7 kilometers. It can be done in reverse or as an entire loop for 14kms.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: THE NIEDERHORN HIKE: A BEAUTIFUL RIDGE WALK

 

HIKING TO GLECKSTEIN HUT AND CHRINNENHORN PEAK

Gleckstein Hut (Glecksteinhutte) sits above Grindelwald with incredible views down into the valley, while dramatic glaciers loom behind in the mountains. It’s an incredible place to stay the night and enjoy the sunrise and sunset. A few hundred meters above the Gleckstein Hut is the Chrinnerhorn summit, a peak accessible without mountaineering experience but with epic views down towards Gleckstein Hut and over Grindelwald.

The suggested duration is 3 hours and 50 minutes according to the sign but I went up in 1 hour and 34 minutes and came down the next day in 58 minutes. The path is a red and white trail rating but has a few exposed areas. There is cable wherever the trail is exposed. 1,100m of incline will challenge many but there were quite a few older hikers making it up the hut so a slow and steady approach will mean most are capable. 

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING TO GLECKSTEIN HUT AND CHRINNENHORN PEAK

 

MURREN TO SCHILTHORN HIKE (PIZ GLORIA)

The hike from Murren to Schilthorn is challenging with 1600m of altitude climbed throughout the trail to the Piz Gloria summit where James Bond ‘007’ was filmed. At the summit, you can reward yourself after the long hike with a warm bowl of soup at the revolving restaurant, which lets you take in the 360-degree panoramic views as you enjoy your meal. From Interlaken, you will want to leave quite early to give yourself enough time to do the hike and get back for what is a very possible day-hike from Interlaken.

The trail from Murren to Rotstockhutte is relatively easy. Most of the way is a dirt path although there are some sections that are a mixture of rock and path. Most families will easily navigate their way to Rotstockhutte with only 300-400m of elevation.

Rotstockhutte to Schilthorn is very steep. You collect over 1000-meters of an incline in just a few kilometers, which means it is just straight up the mountain. Here you clamber over rocks and are constantly heading uphill. However, it is quite safe and there are no drop-offs. If you can manage the steep incline there isn’t much more to worry about.

It’s 12.9km Total distance from Murren to Schilthorn mountain summit. If you want to hike down you will need to add a few more kilometers but we caught the Schilthornbahn down to Murren, which was a nice way to return after a long day on the legs.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: MURREN TO SCHILTHORN HIKE

 

HIKING TO LAKE BACHALPSEE FROM GRINDELWALD/FIRST

Bachalpsee is one of the most stunning alpine lakes in Switzerland, surrounded by wildflowers and adorned with an incredible backdrop of glacial mountains. The beauty of the Bachalpsee Lake is that because there is a cable car to First, it just a one-hour trek from the First station to the lake, despite being located at 2,265m in altitude.

Bachalpsee is one of the most spectacular lakes in Switzerland and probably one of the most incredible lakes you will find on a hike near Interlaken. It’s relatively easy to get there with the cable car or you can refer to an earlier hike on this list: Schynige Platte to First if you want to take the long adventurous route.

After the cable car to First, the hike from First to Bachalpsee was 3km one way and you will need to hike back so 6km in total.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: HIKING TO LAKE BACHALPSEE FROM GRINDELWALD/FIRST

 

AUGSTMATTHORN HIKE FROM HARDER KULM

Augstmatthorn is one of the most spectacular summits along the Hardergrat Ridge. It’s famous not only for the stunning views but for the Ibex colony that calls Augstmatthorn home. There are several ways to reach Augstmatthorn but the most popular route is to begin at Harder Kulm and walk along the ridge to the summit.

The view up at Augstmatthorn with the clouds beneath us was just incredible. We could see all the way down the Hardergrat ridge, had epic views of Brienzersee and beyond. The Ibex colony was hanging around without oo much care for us as hikers and it was pretty magical to watch these amazing creatures in such an epic location. This hiking trail is up there as one of the top hikes in Interlaken for me!

The hike distance from Harder Kulm to Augstmatthorn and then down to Habkern is 16-kilometers. From Habkern you then catch the bus back to your destination. If you plan to do an out and back from Harder Kulm, you should leave quite early in the day to make sure you catch the last train down from Harder Kulm to Interlaken.

Want more details and photos? View the full blog post here: AUGSTMATTHORN HIKE FROM HARDER KULM

 

I hope you enjoyed that list of epic trails near Interlaken in my Interlaken Hiking Guide. If there are any hikes in Interlaken you think I need to check out on my next visit, please comment them below!

 

 

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