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Walk to Kandersteg

Hiking route · Switzerland
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  • Snow on the pass
    Snow on the pass
    Photo: Jack Cunliffe, Macs Adventure
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Starting in Griesalp a clearly marked trail ascends slowly, and then very steeply to Hohtuerli Pass, followed by a long a steady descent into Kandersteg.
difficult
Distance 16.9 km
8:00 h
1,538 m
1,792 m
2,781 m
1,153 m
A tough, varied and rewarding day awaits. Ascend to the Hohtuerli pass, the highest point on the Via Alpina at 2778m. Walk through woodland, pastures and across streams before turning onto a steep slope over moraine and grass. The slog is tough going but rewarded with a wonderfully wild panorama at the pass. The Schilthorn, Wetterhorn and Bluemlisalp are all visible. The descent to Kandersteg is long but steady. Pass the Oeschinensee; one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Switzerland. From here continue to descend steeply on foot or take the chairlift into Kandersteg.

Author’s recommendation

Take a break at the pass. It is the highest point of the whole trip and you should have a moment to enjoy it, there is a cafe about 60 metres above you that is worth visiting for a victory ice cream, cake and coffee or hot chocolate.
Profile picture of Jack Cunliffe
Author
Jack Cunliffe
Update: August 21, 2019
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2,781 m
Lowest point
1,153 m

Track types

Show elevation profile

Safety information

The weather can change rapidly in the Alps, always check the forecast before you start the days hiking and pack appropriately. If the weather is too rough, do not begin the trek.

There can be left over snow drifts early in the season, they have sometimes melted underneath - particularly if it covers moving water. Just because it looks solid, it doesn't mean it is. Exercise extreme caution when crossing such snow drifts and if possible walk around them to where you can see the solidity of the ground clearly.

Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths and even ice. Ensure you have suitable footwear with ankle support, and step cautiously when needed. 

Much of the path is on clifftops and there has been some erosion, for this reason, the path is sometimes unclear, be careful of the drop and of loose rocks and edges to the cliffs.

Some of the gates are cattle deterrents and are electrified, be sure to use the plastic handles and reattach the cable to the housing when you pass through, they are 12 volts, so not dangerous but very unpleasant

Tips and hints

Food and Drink

There is a cafe and hut at the top of the pass, and there are a couple of eateries around the lake. It is a long and tough day so don't be caught out, bring snacks and plenty of water.

 

Points of Interest

Hohtuerli Pass 2778 m

The highest point of the entire Via Alpina. The descent is very steep for a couple of kilometres, with the final stretch so steep that steps and a rope have been installed. There is snow up here way into the summer season but it is still passable without any technical equipment. On the other side of the pass, you are close to a huge glacier and the views are stunning.

 

The Bluemlisalp Hut

The Bluemlisalp Hut is only five walking minutes from the Hohtürli, a pass between Kandersteg and Kiental, up on 2840m. The amazing view and the sensational sunsets make a visit to the Hut an unforgettable experience. You can get all kinds of delicious treats here, and at over 2800 metres it is well worth a visit.

 

Oeschinensee

One of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps, fed from glacial waterfalls visible high above on the clifftops the water is a bright blue. There are beaches and any brave people will be swimming if the weather is good. There are also cafes and the cable car down to Kandersteg in the vicinity.

 

 

 

Start

Griesalp Hotels (1,420 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'624'758E 1'155'178N
DD
46.547437, 7.761434
DMS
46°32'50.8"N 7°45'41.2"E
UTM
32T 405045 5155619
w3w 
///probable.mailer.dialects
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Destination

Hotel Bernerhof, Kandersteg high street

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - With your back to the Griesalp restaurant building, BEAR LEFT and you will see the sign for Kandersteg, 8 hours. Ascend up this path.

0.100 km - BEAR LEFT as you join the small road ascending

0.50 km - BEAR LEFT off the road onto a path, keep following signs for Via Alpina and for Kandersteg

2.00 km - Pass through a small cable gate onto the road briefly, before you BEAR LEFT to continue the ascent

2.80 km - The path passes through the yard of a cafe and farm buildings, pass through and BEAR LEFT to join the ascending track

3.20 km - The path ascends steeply away from the road as you BEAR RIGHT, this path now leads you all the way up to the top of the pass in a very tough ascent

5.80 km - You have the choice of turning left to check out the mountain hut, otherwise, you have reached the pass, continue STRAIGHT ON to begin the long descent

9.60 km - The path leads you through a small farm, BEAR LEFT and cross the bridge to continue the descent

12.90 km - The path has already circled most of the lake, as it passes the cafes continue STRAIGHT ON descending down the bus/bike road, stay on the track as it descends and turns into a smaller path then you BEAR RIGHT following the signs for Kandersteg

15.30 km - Join the road for 200 metres and then BEAR LEFT to join a smaller path that then crosses the river and BEAR RIGHT to continue following the path down into Kandersteg

16.40 km - The path rejoins a small road again, continue on this road until it reaches a T Junction with the High Street, you have reached your destination

 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'624'758E 1'155'178N
DD
46.547437, 7.761434
DMS
46°32'50.8"N 7°45'41.2"E
UTM
32T 405045 5155619
w3w 
///probable.mailer.dialects
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

As well as the appropriate shoes and layered clothing for the changeable weather and other essentials, you should consider walking poles, UV sunglasses and factor 30 suncream. The sun is bright and high UV in the higher Alps and the snow can reflect it and intensify the exposure.

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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
16.9 km
Duration
8:00 h
Ascent
1,538 m
Descent
1,792 m
Highest point
2,781 m
Lowest point
1,153 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna

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