Walk from the top of the Sunnbuel cable car station through varied high alpine valley scenery and pass the Daubensee before reaching the Gemmipass station – from here take the cable car to Leukerbad.
Leave Kandersetg behind and hop on the Sunnbuel cable car. From the station follow a track on the forested slopes below the sharp Uschenegrat ridge on your right, then ascend to pass the Berghotel Schwarenbach and gain your first glimpse of the Daubensee. You can walk to the Gemmipass station on either side of the lake; the left side is a broad track, and the right side takes a more meandering route on a narrow path skirting the lake. Both of the routes rejoin just below the Gemmipass cable car station.
Before descending to Leukerbad via the cable car you can make a stop at the restaurant overlooking Leukerbadand and enjoy refreshments . Alternatively, if you feel sure-footed and have a head for heights (and conditions are dry!) follow the steep path carved into the cliffs below down to Leukerbad town. Taking the cable car into Leukerbad shortens the route by ~4.5km and is recommended after rain and if you're not good with heights as the drop is precipitous.
If you prefer a bit of peace and quiet instead of lunching at the Gemmipass restaurant we recommend finding a good picnic spot by the Daubensee.
Take care on any sections of the route that you might share with bikes, between the Sunnbuel cable car station and the Gemmipass restaurant.
After wet weather we DO NOT recommend walking the narrower path on the right-hand side of the Daubensee or walking down the cliff path from Gemmipass to Leukerbad as the rocky areas on these routes could be slippery and tricky to pass. If this is the case please use the track (as seen on the map) on the left-hand side of the Daubensee to reach the Gemmipass and catch the cable car down also.
The route is well-walked but please make sure that you’re suitably equipped (see your information pack for a complete recommended kit list). Waterproofs, warm layers, gloves, hat, sunhat and sunscreen are all recommended in a ~25 litre or less backpack. Make sure to bring plenty of water (around 2 litres per person) and food for the day.
If you prefer to wear sturdy walking shoes rather than walking boots feel free to wear those (as the terrain can be rocky you’ll find that gym trainers won’t have enough support). Walking poles are a useful aid for helping to take pressure off your knees.
Points of Interest
The mountain lake of Daubensee is situated in the valley between Sunnbuel and Gemmipass, just below the Gemmipass. At the end of July (the last Sunday of the month) a yearly festival takes place where shepherds from Valais and the Bernese Oberland gather on the lake shores with approx. 800 sheep to celebrate cooperation between their districts.
The Gemmipass is a high mountain pass (approx. 2270m) connecting the canton of Valais, to the canton of Bern, where Leukerbad is situated. The area is popular for winter walking and cross-country skiing so the restaurant here, with great views out onto the Grosses Platterhorn mountain and the valley of Leukerbad, provides refreshment for active people almost year-round.
Kandersteg Sunnbuel cable car timetable: http://www.kandersteg.ch/en/s/timetable-sunnbuel
Gemmipass-Leukerbad cable car timetable: https://www.gemmi.ch/summer/cable-car/the-cable-car-gemmi/?L=2
Food & Drink
You can pick-up provisions and a picnic lunch for the day in Kandersteg from the Volg or Co-Op convenience stores. Alternatively, you will be able to buy refreshments and food from the Berghotel Schwarenbach around half way between Sunnbuel and Gemmipass, it’s situated in a quiet spot with a delightful sun terrace. The Gemmipass itself has a larger self-service alpine style restaurant with views down onto the Leukerbad valley. Make sure to bring at least 2 litres of water per person.