Favourite hike in the whole of Jungfrau Region? That’s a big statement, you might say, bet trust me – this hike is truly breathtaking and one that will stay with you for years to come. What makes this hike so good is the combination of easy access and affordability, a bit of a challenge, a fun trail and incredible views of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier. If this sounds appealing to you too, keep reading and make sure you add it to your hiking bucket list!
It seems like the famous mountain village of Grindelwald, sitting below the Eiger north face, needs no introduction. In winter, masses of ski bums will flock to the town for their skiing holidays, while summer will attract hikers, mountain bikers, paragliders among other adventurers and holidaymakers. Grindelwald, after all, is the best starting point for many key excursions in the Jungfrau Region, like First, Kleine Scheidegg, Männlichen, Jungfraujoch, Pfingstegg and others.
How to Get There
One of the major advantages of this hike is that you don’t need a car, plus you don’t need to spend loads of money to get to the trailhead. With the condition that you are up for the uphill challenge, of course!
If you’re arriving in Grindelwald by train, you can start your hike right from the train station. As you exit, just walk straight up the main street, Dorfstrasse, and in about 850 m turn righ onto Grabenstrasse. There will be road signs towards Parkplatz Pfingstegg, making it hard to miss. Alternatively, use Google Maps to navigate to the Pfingstegg gondola station (Luftseilbahn Grindelwald Pfingstegg).
If you’re arriving by car, navigate to the Luftseilbahn Grindelwald Pfingstegg where there will be a big car park with plenty of space for your vehicle. You’ll need change for the parking, or you can use the SEPP parking app. Last time I paid CHF 5 for nearly 5.5 hours of parking – that’s a great deal if you ask me!
At the Pfingstegg gondola station you’ll also be able to find toilets and fill up your water bottles. There are not any proper water points on the trail (a few streams that might run dry in summer), so make sure you have plenty.
There are plenty of yellow hiking signs around for you to be able to find your way up to Bäregg, but if you want a bit more guidance and information on the trail, keep reading.
Bäregghütte Hike from Pfingstegg Car Park
Starting from the Pfingstegg valley station, you’ll have to walk down the road (Grabenstrasse) for a bit before you get to the trail. Make sure to use the marked section for pedestrians on the right side to stay out of the traffic. After a short walk, you’ll reach the Mettenberg bridge that’ll take you over Schwarze Lütschine.
Right after the bridge, you’ll need to turn left to continue uphill (make sure you get on the steep paved road with trail sign directing you towards Bäregg). This road will lead you through a little hamlet of houses (Halten) before turning into a gravel road. Follow the yellow hiking path signs to ensure you stay on route.
Soon after you’ll see a trail to your left leading to Pfingstegg and Milbach (which will also eventually take you to Bäregg), but we’re keeping straight in the direction of Bäregg. Here you’ll get the first glimpse of the Lower Grindelwald Glaceir giving you a taste of what stunning scenery lies ahead.
The gravel road will start to get narrower and turn into a grassy path through a meadow past the last houses before turning left up a hill. There will be signposts on every turn, just follow them! If you look back, you’ll see more and more of Grindelwald as you gain altitude.
As you reach the top of the grassy hill, the trail will lead you into the forest – a steep path with exposed rocks and roots lie ahead for quite a while. During the hot summer months, the forest will provide refuge from the sun, but you’ll be guaranteed to break a sweat on this section nevertheless.
As you keep climbing, you’ll be passing some high cliffs to your left, and the trail will turn into steps every now and then giving you a taste of what this hike is all about – a good physical challenge. As you exit the forest, you’ll see Grindelwald again and Eiger Mittellegi ridge in all its glory. Can you spot the Mittellegi hut? When you turn the corner past Wyssefluh, the glacier will come into view again.
This is also the spot where the trail from Pfingstegg top gondola station joins in, so you’ll notice more and more other hikers. You’re about halfway en route to Bäregghütte, but the best is still ahead!
As you continue, the trail will get rockier and you’ll be conquering many steps steadily gaining more altitude. The higher you’ll go, the more exposed the path will get at times. Not to worry – the trail is absolutely safe if you stick to it. The trickier parts will have a railing or net on the outside to separate you from the steep drop down into the gorge.
If you can’t help but take tons of photos when you’re out and about, this part of the hike is one you’ll be enjoying the most. As the scenery unfolds with each step, I can never help myself and I stop way too many times to put my camera to use. It is incredibly breathtaking to be able to experience this beauty!
Waterfalls roaring on the other side of the gorge, sheer rock faces towering above you, glacier glistening in the distance, and alpine flowers dotting the meadows at your feet – if this isn’t a picture perfect location, then I don’t know what is!
It goes without saying, though, that this beauty is also bittersweet to enjoy. The main reason we can now hike all the way to the hut on a reasonably safe hiking trail, is the massive retreat of the glacier. The scenery you get to enjoy, is literally carved by the very same glacier that is now only a fraction of its former glory and size. Make sure to stop at the informative posters along the trail to learn more about the Grindelwald Lower Glacier and what it took to form the scenery around you.
But back to the trail… Besides all the beauty, you’ll also notice that the trail will be getting steeper and steeper at times, but it’s well worth the effort! Just a little longer and you’ll be able to have a well-deserved break.
Watch out for a Swiss flag poking out in the distance – the first sign that Bäregg hut is not far. As you keep pushing further, the hut itself will come into view revealing the iconic scenery in front of the glacier. This is it!
If mid-hike lunch and drink at a mountain hut is your thing, this will be a great spot to enjoy your hiking ritual. We chose to relax in the nearby meadow and devoured our packed sandwiches . Both times I’ve been here, I’ve spent close to an hour enjoying the scenery, refuelling myself and snapping away tens of photos. What a place to experience!
Before you head back, make sure you refill your water bottle at the fountain next to the hut. The route will then take you back on the same trail for the first half of the return leg. Be warned – it will be tough on your knees!
If the downhill gets too much for you, you can always bail at the intersection with Pfingstegg trail and take the gondola down. I’ve always hiked down to Grindelwald, and to make this hike a bit more enjoying, I opted for a slightly different route on the way back.
At the next trail head after the Wyssefluh / Pfingstegg intersection (pictured above), take the path left towards Marmorbruch. Don’t be fooled by the first part of this trail, though – it starts off mellow, but will soon turn into a steep downhill climb through the forest. Less than half an hour later you’ll arrive at the former marble quarry (Marmorbruch) with its mountain inn and restaurant.
There are two trail options leading you back to the starting point (both marked Grindelwald/Dorf) – pick whichever you like. We opted for what started off as a road to the right leading us through meadows back to Halten and down to Grindelwald.
Other Variations of the Hike
- Grindelwald Train Station – Parkplatz Pfingstegg – Bäregg (walk all the way back down or hop on the gondola for the downwards journey)
- Pfingstegg – Bäregg – Pfingstegg (catching the gondola up and down)
- You can also extend your hike and go past Bäregg (1772 m) to Schreckhornhütte SAC (2527 m), but please be aware – it’s a technical alpine hiking trail (blue and white markings; experience and appropriate equipment is essential)!
Preparing For This Hike
This is one of those hikes you’ll be better off planning on a good weather day. Therefore assessing the weather is one of the most important aspects of the preparation. Make sure there are no summer thunderstorms or heavy downpours in sight, as that can make the trail rather dangerous.
MeteoSwiss is my go-to app for all things weather-related in Switzerland, and I would always advise using local services, especially when you’re out in the mountains. Also worth checking local resources to learn the condition of the trail.
Even if you’ve made sure it’s a good weather day, I would still advise packing waterproofs, especially a waterproof jacket. The weather in the mountains can change so quickly, and even the most accurate weather forecast might not predict that odd rain cloud.
This hike has quite a few steep ascents and descents, therefore hiking poles are recommended. Using them or not is your own personal choice and preference, of course, but it could be a great help in saving your energy and giving you more stability.
Same goes for footwear – it’s your personal choice, but the sturdier are your shoes and more ankle support you have, the better off you’ll be. If you’re an experienced hiker, the trail is manageable with trail runners.
Bring loads of water – enough to last you until you reach the Bäregghütte where you can use the fountain to refill. If you’re not planning on lunch at the mountain hut, pack some snacks or sandwiches.
One thing I never go on a hike without anymore, is a small bin bag for the waste created on the trail (energy bar wrappers, banana peels, tissues etc.). Leave no trace, right?
Oh, and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Information & Statistics
Hiking Trail: Parkplatz Pfingstegg – Wyssefluh – Bäregg – Marmorbruch – Parkplatz Pfingstegg (for the above described route, see here on FATMAP)
Distance: 8.9 km total
Duration: 4-5 hrs
Elevation: + 843 hm / – 843 hm
Difficulty grade: Medium to difficult
When to go: This hike is only doable in summer when the trail is open. Generally between June and October. Please check the status of the hiking trail here or at the local tourism information office before heading out.
If you have any questions at all about this hike, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below – I’ll be happy to help!
I wanted to show you the various features and sections of the trail as best as possible, therefore pictures featured in this blog post are from two different hikes and both my phone and DSLR camera, and due to the varying weather conditions affect how the surroundings look.