Stockhorn is a beautiful peak that overlooks two stunning alpine lakes, Oberstockensee and Hinterstockensee. At 2,190m the panorama viewpoint and restaurant atop the Stockhorn provides 360-degree views of the Erlenbach region and beyond. Our Stockhorn hike was a tough but epic route along ridges, down to lakes, and with incredible views.
STOCKHORN & OBERSTOCKENSEE HIKE
The Stockhorn region, located in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland, is an incredibly beautiful area with breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and lush alpine vegetation. The stunning Stockhorn peak, which stands at 2,190 meters, is the centerpiece of this captivating region, offering sweeping views of over 200 alpine peaks and the shimmering Thunersee Lake. In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about the Stockhorn & Oberstockensee Hike.
STOCKHORN HIKE DETAILS
- Hike Distance: Depends on the route taken as there are many on offer. We clocked 11.2 km from the top down including our stop at Oberstockensee.
- Hike Duration: 5 hours (Again this depends on whether you hike up, down, or both. It can range from 3-10 hours depending on what you choose.
- Hike Difficulty: Steep but safe and not technical. Some walk through the forest on a dirt trail and steep descent through farm fields.
- Hike Incline: Starting point at Erlenbach: 700m – Stockhorn: 2,190
HOW TO GET TO STOCKHORN
The Stockhorn hike is just a 45-minute drive from Bern and a couple of hours from Zurich. When we visited we were based in Fribourg and it took us about 1.5 hours to reach the parking spot for Stockhorn.
The pin on the map below will take you directly to the parking lot, where you will drop the car and either begin the hike or jump into the cable car to take the easy, scenic route to the top. We took the cable car up and hiked down to the lakes and then back down to the foot of the mountain. I’ll add the GPX tracking map below of the route we took from the top down so you can replicate that route if you want.
If you have the Swiss Half-Card you will receive a huge discount on your tickets. I bought mine when I arrived in Switzerland and it has saved me over a thousand dollars.
Stockhorn to Oberstockensee GPX Map: Download Here
STOCKHORN BAHN (THE CABLE CAR)
The cable car station is located near the parking lot and you can buy a one-way or return ticket. Here you can use your Swiss Half-Fare Card so you only need to pay half of the ticket price. We caught the last cable car, which was at about 5:30 pm. To be sure of the current operating times you can check here.
The ticket prices were $36 for a one-way ticket and $58 for a return trip to Stockhorn. You can, however, take the cable car just to Chrindi. This is the halfway point and is a bit cheaper.
BUNGEE JUMPING AT STOCKHORN
Before we get into the hiking experience, you may want to know about this epic activity available at Stockhorn. The Stockhorn Bungee Jump is not just any ordinary bungee experience, it’s one of the most stunning in the world as it involves jumping from a cable car over a crystal-clear mountain lake.
This jump site is at an elevation of about 134 meters and provides thrill-seekers with a spectacular view of the snow-capped peaks and the shimmering waters of Lake Stockensee. The jump itself is a free-fall experience that lasts about three to four seconds, providing a surge of adrenaline that’s hard to match.
The bungee jump at Stockhorn operates from the end of May through to the end of October, weather permitting. Safety is a top priority, with all jumpers provided with a safety briefing and checked for health conditions before the jump.
For anyone looking to add a thrilling adventure to their Swiss itinerary, a bungee jump at Stockhorn is an unforgettable experience. However, it’s essential to book the Stockhorn Bungee Jump in advance as this popular activity often sells out during peak season.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING STOCKHORN
Not sure what to expect after seeing some moderately interesting photos online, Josh and I lined up to get our tickets at 4:30 pm. The lady nervously told us it was the last cable car up. We asked her how long it would take to hike down and she said 4.5 hours.
In reality, at our quick pace, it was under two. This meant we could stay up at the summit and lakes for sunset and quickly hurry down to make it back without too much hiking in the dark.
Our ticket cost $18 with the Swiss Half-Fare Card, but regularly it would have cost $36 for the one-way ticket up. The cable car itself was quite nice and Josh and I are still intrigued by the raw power these things generate to pull the cable car up the mountain on such a steep incline.
The cable car stopped at Chrindi, where we had to get off and switch to the next cable car. You could just catch the cable to Chrindi, which is right next to Hinterstockensee (one of the two alpine lakes). You would then have to make quite a trek up the hill to reach the Stockhorn summit though! We decided to take the cable car all the way to the Stockhorn summit and then trek our way down through the lakes from there.
When we reached Stockhorn after about 25 minutes of cable car action, we took an overpriced coffee at the Stockhorn Restaurant before heading up to the viewing platform above. It was still quite bright but the lighting was amazing with all of the ridges in the background creating a depth of layers. Josh and I stepped slightly over the railing, although in fairness we were still on a worn path and it looked as if it was frequented regularly. Now we had epic views back over the Oberstockensee lake, which we would explore later on the way down at golden hour.
The shape of the ridges below Stockhorn is truly unique and the more we ventured down the clearer the shapes became. Oberstockensee seems to be surrounded by an amphitheater, almost like the Stockhorn Arena.
Having enjoyed ourselves for an hour up the top of the Stockhorn summit viewpoint, we began to head down the hill towards Oberstockensee Lake. Our plan was to skip Hinterstockensee as we had seen it from above and at the station. We decided it would be best to enjoy Oberstockensee during golden hour then quickly hurry down the hill to the parking lot before it got too late.
The walk down to Oberstockensee from Stockhorn is listed at 35-minutes, which we found to be pretty accurate despite the fact that we ran down the hill instead of taking the path the whole way. Not advised but very fun.
At the entrance to Oberstockensee is a big cabin where groups were having a bbq dinner and seemed to be settled in to stay the night. They seemed a little perplexed to see us in t-shirts and shorts at 8 pm as they were huddled around a fire with warm jackets on. We were hot after running down the giant hill and just enjoying life!
We walked through the cabin area and followed the signs to Oberstockensee, which led us through a beautiful little forest area. Because of the golden hour, it was a magical walk down to the lake with light flowing in through the trees.
We had been up on top of Stockhorn just 45 minutes earlier, but now we found ourselves lakeside at Oberstockensee. It was very calm and peaceful with just a few campers set up o the edge of the lake. Cowbells rang and birds chirped in what was a truly idyllic scene.
We watched an old Swiss man fly fishing out the front of his tent where he would spend the night. It seemed to be a great place to take it all in.
The reflections on the lake were already great at this time despite it being another hour till sunset. The forest reflected clearly on the still lake as the golden lighting couldn’t have made it any more perfect.
As sunset approached the colors in the sky began to trend into a pastel pink, which only made the arena even more spectacular. After consulting with this friendly cow, I decided it was time to capture some aerial shots of the Oberstockensee and Stockhorn in the background.
HIKING DOWN FROM STOCKHORN
We definitely had lucked out with the weather conditions but because of our eagerness to enjoy the sunset at Oberstockensee, we were well and truly the last ones up near Stockhorn. Everyone had gone down hours ago on the last cable car. The sign said we had a 3-hour hike down from Oberstockensee but we knew it would be quicker. We snapped a few last photos of the trail down with an epic sunset in the background before we turned up the speed.
The trail actually cuts through the forest and across farms regularly as you follow the red and white ‘wanderweg’ flags throughout the trail down. We ended up using our headlamps as we hiked the last hour in the dark but it wasn’t too dangerous with no drop-offs or anything. It was an uneven dirt path and often through uneven fields so the light was useful but don’t be afraid to come down in the dark on this one as it is well-signed and relatively safe.
I can’t recommend this hike enough, especially if you are looking for an easier hike given that you can still get in a big adventure but it is all more or less downhill once you catch the cable car up.
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