The Trift Bridge Hike and Trift Hut is an incredible 12km journey from Nessental Station or a shorter version of just 6km can be hiked from Triftbahn Station. Along the route, you will pass the Trift Suspension Bridge that crosses the Triftsee, which was amazing! You can also visit Windegg Hut and of course, enjoy the Trift Glacier views at the Trift Hut where it’s great to stay overnight.
The Trift Hut and Trift Bridge may also be referred to as the Trifthutte and Triftbrucke.
TRIFT SUSPENSION BRIDGE HIKE
The Trift Suspension Bridge Hike in the Swiss Alps is a thrilling expedition that combines rugged natural beauty with a dash of adventure. The trail takes you on a journey through lush alpine landscapes, crystal-clear mountain lakes, and glaciers until you reach the highlight of the hike – the Trift Bridge. Suspended 100 meters high and stretching 170 meters across the Triftsee lake, this is one of the longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps.
TRIFT BRIDGE HIKE & TRIFT HUT DETAILS
Hike Distance: The hike from Nessental Station to Trift Hut is 12km, which is what I did. The return route would also be the same unless you detour to Windegg Hut for an extra couple of kilometers. Making it a 24km return trip approximately. However, if you prefer a shorter route, you can take the Triftbahn from Nessental Station to Triftbahn Station, which will cut off 500m of incline and 6km of hiking. You still get to see the Trift Suspension Bridge if you take the cable car.
Hike Duration: The suggested durations are:
- 7 hours from Nessental to Trift Hut
- 5 hours from Triftbahn Station to Trift Hut
- 3 hours from Trift Suspension Bridge to Trift Hut.
It took me 3 hours and 23 minutes from Nessental to Trift Hut going at a quick pace and breathing pretty hard up the hills.
Hike Difficulty: From Nessental all the way to the Trift Suspension Bridge, the path is classified as a red-and-white hiking trail. This means that it is quite ‘doable’ for most hikers although there is quite a bit of incline. The path is a blue and white alpine rating from Trift Bridge to Trift Hut and has ladders, interesting river crossings, and a number of exposed areas. There are cables and ladders wherever the trail is exposed.
Hike Incline: Starting point at Nessental Station: 1,356m – Triftbahn Station: 2,663m – Trift Hut: 630m
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HOW TO GET TO TRIFT BRIDGE & TRIFT HUT HIKE TRAILHEAD
The starting point for the Trift Hut hike is the Nessental Station and from here you can either start hiking or take the cable car to Triftbahn Station. There are signs from Nessental Station to either Trift Hut or to Triftbahn station.
I’ve attached my GPX map below, which you can download here for use on your Garmin, smartwatch or another app.
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 throughout my trip.
HOW TO BOOK A NIGHT AT TRIFT HUT
In order to book a night (or more) at Trift Hut, you will need to send an email, make a phone call or fill out the form on their website. They are not on other booking platforms, this is how the hut is booked.
MY SUNRISE DRONE VIDEO FROM TRIFT HUT
I woke up at the Trift Hut and with beautiful conditions had a great drone flight over the glacier and the surrounding peaks to capture this video and some of the images throughout this blog post. The next day, after the cloud had cleared, I also flew at the Trift Suspension Bridge. It was quite busy and I didn’t want to bother anyone crossing but I managed to grab a few nice little shots so you can get an idea of what to expect!
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO TRIFT BRIDGE & HUT
The hike begins at Nessental Station. To get there I had to catch the train from Interlaken to Meiringen and then a bus to Nessental Station. Once at the station, I could have grabbed a cable car but I decided to hike up.
The lady at the office was surprised I was hiking as it was already 2:30 pm and she said it was going to take seven hours. I told her I’d walk fast and off I went. There were signs at the Nessental Station pointing to the Triftbahn and also to the Trift Hut. You can follow them from this moment onwards.
The trail begins off through some pretty heavily forested hills as you pass by a number of houses and farms. The trail actually veered quite far to the left before winding back up the mountain and didn’t seem to be the most direct route. It took 500m of elevation from the Nessental Station to reach the Triftbahn Station and was almost 6km in distance.
I quite enjoyed the mix-up from epic mountain views to be back inside the forest with that dense coverage. It was a foggy day so It was quite mystical inside the forest until it finally spat me out at the Triftbahn Station. I didn’t see anyone at all on this part of the trail except a few cows. I think most people are taking the cable car from Nessental rather than walking up.
Once I arrived at the Triftbahn, it had only taken me just over an hour for the 6km’s but I’m assuming it would add on about 2-3 hours to many people’s day. There were now a few other tourists about. Some were heading back on the cable car and others were heading out to Trift Bridge but none were headed up to Trift Hut.
On this day it was very cloudy. The low-level clouds made the scenes pretty gloomy but I was hoping the hut would be on top of the clouds for an epic sunset. This meant the views throughout the hike and at the bridge were a bit eerie but you can’t have it both ways. Unless you hike back down and get golden conditions on the way back, which is about how lucky I got!
The trail passes by the Triftbahn and then heads across the raging river on a cement bridge before ascending up the hill. This was a good spot to make up time as there is no exposure it is just steep and continuous. After the initial incline, it levels out a little as you climb around the mountain to reach the Trift Suspension Bridge.
When I arrived at the Trift Suspension bridge there was no one there. It was late in the day but normally this spot is busy and very popular in Switzerland.
The reason was that the weather was not good. I couldn’t even see the other side of the bridge! The trail to the Trift Hut requires you to cross the bridge but if you are just visiting the bridge you can enjoy it without needing to cross the whole way.
I’ll talk more about the Trift Bridge when I’m explaining my return hike later in the blog and there you can see the photos from the bridge without the clouds! Keep reading.
After crossing the bridge, the trail becomes a blue and white marked alpine trail with a number of ladders, bouldering and interesting river crossings with dodgy bridges. The incline also picks up and you will put in a few back-to-back kilometers with 200m+ of incline.
At this point, you have great views of Triftsee, the lake below the Trift Bridge. On the way up it was, of course, cloudy but on the way down this was a beautiful section of trail.
The final 2 kilometers of the trail is the most spectacular with views down into the canyon or as I saw on my way up a sea of clouds. Here you have cables to help you stay close to the cliff as there is significant exposure. The path is still quite wide and there was not much danger if you stay upright.
The final kilometer to the hut is a bit deceptive as you can see the hut but it still takes you about 25-30 minutes as you are climbing up boulders with cables and it is a bit slow and awkward. By this stage, you are pretty tired and the hut feels like a bit of an oasis that never seems to arrive.
Once I arrived at the hut there was a welcome drink ready and I changed out of my sweaty clothes and got set up in the dorm, which had comfortable beds and views of the glacier. It was a cozy mountain hut with a nice terrace looking out to Triftsee and Trift Glacier.
That evening we had a great dinner inside the hut but stepped outside to enjoy the incredible sunset while we seemingly hovered above the clouds. I love being able to enjoy the sunset, have a hot tea and then go to sleep rather than having to hike down in the dark.
After a great night of sleep, I woke early to catch the sunrise. While you can hike up to a small peak on the right of the hut, I decided to hang out on the terrace and enjoy the views. The bigger peaks around Trift Hut require mountaineering experience and considerable equipment.
The sunrise was incredible with alpenglow lighting the peaks of mountains and with the clouds completely gone we had magnificent views down to the Triftsee and the Trift Bridge. There was something to look at in every direction and it was great to finally see what the landscape looked like when it’s not covered by clouds.
These are my favorite shots from the sunrise at Trift Hut.
After enjoying breakfast and the sunrise it was time to head back down the mountain and this time I could enjoy the view down into Triftsee now that the clouds had been dispersed. Getting back to the Trift Bridge took just over an hour for me but would most likely take a couple of hours for average-speed hikers as the terrain is not easy to make a good pace with lots of rocks and uneven trails.
At the Trift Bridge, there were already quite a few people and it was only 9:30 am. I think most of them had caught the first cable car up from Nessental and then hiked up from Triftbahn. The light was already a bit harsh for photos but it was really cool to see the Trift Bridge in all of its glory after not being able to see 5 meters in front of myself just a day earlier.
After enjoying the Trift Suspension Bridge, I decided to check out the Windegg Hut. It’s only a short diversion out of the way and you can actually take an entirely different route down if you visit the Windegg Hut. I thought why not! It is just a 45-minute journey from Trift Bridge to Windegg Hut.
The views at the hut were nice but nothing near as spectacular as the Trift Hut. I enjoyed not one but two homemade cakes at the Windeghutte before continuing my way back to the Triftbahn.
From the Windegg Hut, it was just 45 minutes down to the Triftbahn Station, where I managed to grab a cable car back to the Nessental Station and then a bus back to Meiringen, and then finally a train to Interlaken. You could, of course, walk all the way back down to Nessental.
I can’t recommend this hike and overnight stay at Trift Hut enough. I hope my photos, videos, and recount of the adventure convince you to make an overnight expedition to the Trift Glacier and Trift Hut!
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TRIFT GLACIER
- Dynamic Changes: The Trift Glacier is one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the Swiss Alps. Due to climate change and global warming, the glacier has been retreating significantly in recent decades. The glacier’s length has decreased by about 1.17 km between 2004 and 2019, demonstrating the real-time effects of climate change.
- Birth of a Lake: As the Trift Glacier has retreated, it has given birth to the Triftsee, a beautiful turquoise glacial lake. The lake, first appeared in the early 2000s, has now become one of the key attractions in the region, with the Trift Bridge providing a stunning vantage point over the lake and the glacier.
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