Bachalpsee Lake 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 Bachalpsee Lake is that there is a cable car that does 90% of the work. From Grindelwald, the cable car will drop you at First Station, where you have just an hour’s stroll to reach Bachalpsee Lake at 2,265m in altitude.
BACHALPSEE LAKE HIKE
Bachalpsee is an idyllic mountain lake located in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Alps, in Switzerland. The lake is actually composed of two parts separated by a natural dam, the smaller of which is often referred to as “Hinterbachalpsee”. In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about visiting Bachalpsee Lake. There are several hikes in the region that pass by the lake and a couple of mountain huts you can visit. I’ll fill you in on all the details, so you can plan your own visit.
BACHALPSEE LAKE HIKE DETAILS
- 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, swimming, and photos, the 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
YOU WILL ALSO LIKE MY SWITZERLAND HIKING GUIDE: 50 AWESOME HIKES IN SWITZERLAND
HOW TO GET TO BACHALPSEE LAKE
The most common way to reach Bachalpsee Lake is to take the cable car from Grindelwald to First and then to hike for one hour along the easy path to Bachalpsee Lake from First Station. You could hike all the way from Grindelwald, although it’s a grueling hike and not advised. If you are keen on a longer hike than just one hour, continue on from Bachalpsee up the steep hill to reach the Faulhorn Summit.
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.
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.
GRINDELWALD TO FIRST
The first thing you need to do is to get to the Firstbahn in Grindelwald. Here you can use your Swiss Half-Fare Card so you only need to pay half of the ticket price, which is exactly what we did. You can skip the line, which is often quite long, and you can book your return ticket to Grindelwald to First (return) online in advance.
It’s common to book a return trip but on this day, I actually continued to Faulhorn and then hiked down to Bussalp. The cable car runs about every 30 minutes from First so be sure of the current operating times you can check here.
The cable car was pretty amazing with 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!
ARRIVING AT FIRST STATION
At First Station, it will likely be chaotic with tourists everywhere. 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 Station 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 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’.
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 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.
FIRST TO BACHALPSEE HIKE
The hike to Bachalpsee from First is a 6km round-trip on a moderate incline of only 188m over the journey. It is a very popular route because it’s not often can you enjoy an alpine lake at 2000m altitude 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.
The hike may be simple, but the breathtaking view of the mountain range accompanies you throughout the entire journey. We couldn’t resist stopping frequently to admire the stunning scenery, which extended our 1-hour hike to 2 hours. I highly recommend taking the time to appreciate your surroundings, as this region is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth.
After traveling for an hour from First, we finally reached the corner that revealed the breathtaking Bachalpsee Lake. The path was nearly overtaken by wildflowers, but the constant flow of tourists prevented it. The serene lake, set against a backdrop of glacial mountains and perfectly still water, made for an incredibly picturesque and tranquil location.
The breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps is unspoiled by any cafes, restaurants, or buildings, allowing the pure beauty of the two lakes to shine through. During winter, the two lakes are joined by a thick layer of snow, further enhancing the already stunning landscape.
The breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps is unspoiled by any cafes, restaurants, or buildings, allowing the pure beauty of the two lakes to shine through. During winter, the two lakes are joined by a thick layer of snow, further enhancing the already stunning landscape.The breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps is unspoiled by any cafes, restaurants, or buildings, allowing the pure beauty of the two lakes to shine through. During winter, the two lakes are joined by a thick layer of snow, further enhancing the already stunning landscape.
You may see some furry fellas scurrying around. It’s not a cat, not a beaver but in fact, a Swiss Marmot as I pictured below.
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.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Bachalpsee Lake in Grindelwald, Switzerland.
BACHALPSEE LAKE ALTITUDE
Located in the heart of the Swiss Bernese Alps, Bachalpsee Lake boasts an impressive altitude of approximately 2,265 meters (about 7,431 feet) above sea level. This high-altitude location provides a pristine environment and a cool, crisp alpine climate. With its impressive elevation, the lake offers stunning panoramic views of surrounding snow-capped peaks, including the iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
The thin, clear air at this altitude, coupled with the lake’s crystal-clear waters, create mirror-like reflections that are a dream for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. The altitude also contributes to the lake’s seasonal transformations, from a frozen wonderland in winter to a vibrant, flower-dotted landscape in summer.
BACHALPSEE LAKE IS ACTUALLY TWO LAKES
Often admired for its stunning beauty, Bachalpsee in the Swiss Bernese Alps is interestingly not just one body of water, but rather two. The lake is divided into a larger front lake, known as “Vorderbachalpsee”, and a smaller back lake, called “Hinterbachalpsee”.
The division is due to a natural dam made of rocks and sediment that have accumulated over time. Although they appear as a single entity from certain vantage points, a closer inspection reveals the intriguing duality of this alpine water body. The flow of water from the larger to the smaller lake through this natural barrier adds another dynamic element to this already spectacular alpine landscape, enhancing its allure and uniqueness.
BACHALPSEE LAKE SEASONAL CHANGES
Bachalpsee Lake undergoes an enchanting transformation with the changing seasons. In the winter, the lake is often enveloped in a white blanket of snow, with its surface frozen solid, offering an ethereal landscape that seems straight out of a fairy tale. As spring arrives, the snow begins to thaw, revealing the first hints of the vibrant blue lake beneath.
By summer, the ice has fully melted, uncovering the lake’s mirror-like waters that beautifully reflect the surrounding peaks. The meadows around the lake burst into a riot of colors with blooming alpine flowers, creating a contrast with the stark white of the distant snow-capped mountains. As fall approaches, the area takes on a golden hue, with the changing foliage providing a picturesque backdrop to the tranquil lake. These dramatic seasonal shifts make Bachalpsee a stunningly diverse destination to visit any time of the year.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS or HALF-FARE CARD
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.
MY SWITZERLAND HIKING GUIDES
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.
- The Complete Guide: 50 AWESOME HIKES IN IN SWITZERLAND
- The Via Ferrata Guide: 4 EPIC SWITZERLAND VIA FERRATA COURSES
- Lauterbrunnen Guide: 10 AWESOME HIKES NEAR LAUTERBRUNNEN
- Interlaken Guide: 15 AWESOME HIKES IN INTERLAKEN
- Grindelwald Guide: 12 AWESOME HIKES NEAR GRINDELWALD:
- Mürren Guide: 7 AWESOME HIKES IN MURREN
- Appenzell Guide: 9 AWESOME HIKES NEAR APPENZELL
- Chur Guide: 7 AWESOME HIKES NEAR CHUR