Here’s a breakdown for anyone who might be interested in the tour:
The Eiger Trail
Classic scenery is the hallmark of the Berner Oberland where the famous trio, the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, dominates not only the landscape but the imagination of the traveler– and has so for well over a century. The Jungfrau region is an alpine wonderland: rolling green meadows lie peacefully beneath awe inspiring, glaciated peaks, tiny chalets dot the hillsides, and farmers continue the ancient herding traditions of the land. The resort villages of the Oberland too are legendary, both for their historical charm and their modern comforts and conveniences, including a transportation system supporting a number of carless villages and allowing access to the region’s myriad hiking trails.
Crossing the mighty Bernese Oberland range is a challenging undertaking that demands a good level of fitness, but the rewards are vast. As we link the region’s villages, we traverse high ridges, follow valleys, and climb to a number of high and lonely passes separating the deep and dramatic valleys cutting through the range. Our first days begin quietly, winding through pastoral valleys and woodlands. As we head toward the remote Kiental, the snowy Blumlisalp Massif towers above and challenges hikers to reach the Hohturli, the route’s highest pass and the most challenging day of the trek, taking us close to the realms of glaciers and perennial snow. Our final days are dominated by the Jungfrau Massif and the lovely Wetterhorn, or peak of storms.
The villages along the way range from the glitzy town of Gstaad, one of the more charming villages in the Oberland, to the wonderful old farm community and resort town of Kandersteg. We’ll visit tiny Griesalp– little more than a post bus stop and two small hostelries amid high pastures, as well as the carless resort villages of Wengen and Murren, clinging to the steep sides of the beautiful Lauterbrunnen valley. We’ll finish the tour in cosmopolitan Grindelwald, situated directly beneath the North Wall of the Eiger.
Throughout the week we’ll experience a range of accommodations reflecting the character of both the Bernese Oberland and the individual villages. Gstaad finds us in an intmate hotel with classically Swiss ambiance. Lenk offers a superb kitchen and a peaceful atmosphere. A small berghaus in the Engstligental presents a spectacular mountain retreat surrounded by gorgeous peaks.
Kandersteg, delivers a wonderful Victorian-style hotel, while a simple berghaus offers a cozy welcome in Griesalp. In Murren, we stay in a pleasant inn perched on the edge of the valley with views across to the Jungfrau.
Wengen’s charming “gemutlichkeit”inn offers a warm welcome and famous Swiss hospitality and finally Grindelwald, offers a chalet hotel with typical, regional ambience and charm.
Food ranges from haute cuisine in elegant dining rooms to regional specialties in cozy, authentic stubes. Dinner is typically a four or five course meal shared in the company of the group and breakfast is taken at your leisure. Most days, lunch is a picnic enjoyed in a meadow on or at a pass. Other days, we have access to a mountain restaurant or hut for lunch. Your guide will let you know in advance about each day’s routine, including details about lunch, what to put in your pack, and what to expect on each day’s hike.
Day 1 Arrival Zurich or Geneva Airport. Travel by rail to Gstaad using Swiss Card. Meet guide and group.
Day 2 Gstaad – Lenk. Begin with a chairlift ride to the fabulous Wasserngrat, with beautiful views of the pastoral Saanenland. Wander through enchanting meadows and limestone outcrops with superb vews of the emerging glaciated peaks of the Oberland. Descend to the idyllic Lenk by cable car. Elevation gain: ca. 3700 ft. Descent: 853 ft. Distance: 9 miles.
Day 3 Lenk – Engstligenalp. Today we’ll travel over a high pass by towering waterfalls and impressive peaks to the high alpine meadow, Engstligenalp. Overnight in a comfortable berghaus in this enchanting spot. (No luggage access on this night). Elevation gain: ca. 4523 ft. Descent: 1604 ft. Distance: 10 miles.
Day 4 Engstligenalp – Kandersteg. Ascend through pasture and woodland enroute to one of the local peaks, offering fantastic views to the Eiger on a clear day. This is a relatively short and seldom traveled hike that carries us toward the world of large, glaciated peaks. An optional lift drops us into the enchanted village of Kandersteg and our well appointed hotel. Elevation gain: ca. 2309 ft. Descent: 4874 ft. Distance: 7 miles.
Day 5 Kandersteg – Kiental. Enter the very heart of the high peaks of the Oberland with a scenic chairlift ride out of Kandersteg, to a beautiful cobalt blue lake situated in an amphitheater of rock beneath the dramatic Blumisalp massif. We’ll lunch directly beneath the glaciers tumbling from the region’s highest peaks. Pass through the spectacular Hohturli (“high little door” in Swiss German) to enter into the remote and lush Kiental. (No luggage access on this night). Elevation gain: ca. 3595 ft. Descent: 4389 ft. Distance: 9 miles.
Day 6 Kiental – Murren. Ascend through high alpine pastures to a dramatic high mountain pass that is a portal to the central Oberland. The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau come into full view as we descend toward the fabled Lauterbrunnental. Elevation gain: ca. 3844 ft. Descent: 3194 ft. Distance: 8 miles.
Day 7 Murren-Wengen. We’ll descend to a beautifully remote valley and into one of the high finger valleys above the Lauterbrunnental for lunch. We’ll rest beneath looming glaciers and the brooding mass of the largest peaks, the Eiger, Monch and Junfrau. From there, we enjoy a relaxing ramble along the valley floor to view the thundering falls and the vestiges of pastoral culture in this picture perfect valley. A quick ride by cog railway carries us to carless Wengen. Elevation gain: ca. 1853 ft. Descent: 2683 ft. Distance: 9 miles.
Day 8 Wengen-Grindelwald. A most classic ramble lies before us today as we cross the Kleine Scheidegg, the saddle beneath the infamous Eiger Nordwand, or north wall. Much of our walk today will be through peaceful and untrammeled pasture and woodland. The views over the Lauterbrunnen valley, with its distinctive u-shape, formed by a glacier and its many thousand foot waterfalls, are truly unforgettable! Elevation gain: ca. 2578 ft. Descent: 3369 ft. Distance: 9 miles.
Day 9 Depart.
Difficulty: Distances up to 11 miles and ascents of up to 4000 feet make this a challenging trek. Hikers should be in good condition.
Cost Includes: Hotel costs, breakfast and dinner daily, guiding. Taxes, and porterage at hotels. Luggage transfers for up to two pieces. Swiss Card and all lifts and cog railways incidental to itinerary.
Equipment: In addition to hiking clothes to suit
temperatures from 40° to 80°, equipment for this tour should include a daypack, sturdy hiking boots, rain and sun protection.
Gateways: Zurich or Geneva