This is a very exposed hike(Fründschnuer) for brave people! Depending on you fitness it will take 60 to 120 minutes for the loop.
For a about a kilometer you litteraly hike in the middle of a cliff. No missteps or fear of heights allowed! So it is only for very good hikers with good hiking boots. You are about 200m above the lake.
However the sights are stunning!
Once you reached the lake follow the signes to Freundenhütte. About midway up the trail separates. You should not be able to miss it.
Lotschenpass Crossing - ascent 1510 metres, time - 9 hours
'Oldest glacier pass in the Bernese Alps. The trail after Selden is clearly marked, the route across the glacier is usually marked with poles. After the Lotschenpass, steep trail down to Ferden.'
start/finish: Kandersteg - Selden - Lotschenpass Hut - Ferden.
A short and pleasant hike, especially on a cloudy day, is a hike through the Hoh Forest to the Hoh Overlook. With your back to the train station, turn left down the path (downhill as though you were going to the Blausee). After about 5 minutes or so following the river, you'll emerge on the far side of town. Turn left, taking the passage under the tracks, and then continue past the power station. Follow the path downriver until you see the trail for the Hoh branching left. Continue to climb until you see the signs for the "Ausichtspunkt" (viewpoint). You get a very nice view of Kandersteg, even when it's cloudy. We actually took this photo in the pouring rain. You can either return the way you came, or follow the "Hoh Panoramaweg" around and emerge on the opposite side of Kandersteg, near the Allmenalp gondola.
When we went to the Gasternal valley we heard of people startiing a hike there over the Lotschental Pass. Well that hike was beyond us but in 2008 I recalled this area and having looked up the valley on a that map decided the valley would be a good day excursion from Kandersteg. It took less than a hour to reach - through the tunnel to Goppenstein where a post bus waits to take you the length of the valley. We got off the bus at Wilder and took the gondola to Lauchernalp. From here a classic walk begins along the Lötschentaler ridge path to Fafleralp on the sunny side of the valley, giving you a wonderful view of the Bietschhorn mountain chain. It is not a difficult walk and takes about 2 1/2 hours and what a surprisingly beautiful valley too with stunning and varied scenery of meadows, woods and lakes along the route. A pleasant mountain hut to stop at for a snack pus plenty of eating options at Falfleralp. This walk is also known as the SAGENWEG - and tree stumps along the path have info about local customs. There is a bus stop here for the post bus back to Goppenstein and train to Kandersteg. A wonderful day out and round tickets can be bought. You could of course do the walk in reverse order but I preferred our direction, always walking towards the glacier.
This small cafe, called the "Bärgbeizli," is located at Unterbärgli on the Heuberg Rundweg. It has a nice view terrace with simple meals available. We just stopped for a Rivella and a Citro (soft drinks). It made for a refreshing pause along our hike.
The heavily glaciated Berner Oberland region makes for fantastic trekking, but during the summer the routes can be a bit dangerous. Warm temperatures and sun cause snow and ice meltage, and some routes may have loose footing. However, an advantage to this climate is that you'll encounter many a beautiful arctic fall. Everywhere you turn your head, you'll spot another. Just pristine, glacial water trickling down the mountain slopes.
We gave the Balmhornhutte detour a miss - I'd done my fill of ladder climbing the previous week in Saas Fee. Instead we just walked on for a bit and came to the lovely Waldhaus settlement where we passed this lovely farmhouse adorned with its cow bells - a feature often see in the mountains. Just past this is the Waldhaus restaurant where we stopped for a coffee break.
Half way down the Gasterntal valley there is an option to hike to the Balmhornhutte - you'll see this lovely marker with its carvings of marmots on it, showing the way to narrow path heading through shrubs and trees towards the foot of the steep crags which look imposible to climb. However a series ladders and some cable protection guides the way up. Eventually the path levels out and enters a cirque. The Balmhornhütte can be seen ahead with the Balmhorn Glacier above on the right. There are warning signs of potential danger and you are advised to make quick progress over the next section before reaching the safety of the hut.
From Allmenalp, it is a 2 hour 15 min. hike back to Kandersteg. Be aware that it is a mountain hike (see the red and white marker). It is all down hill, which we have discovered, has different but just as challenging difficulties, as going uphill. (We're talking losing toenails here, as your foot is continually rammed into the front of your shoe.)
Many other hikes originate from here:
Adelboden is a popular one. about 5+ hours.
First is almost a 3 hour hike.
Once we got to the top of Allmenalp, via cable car, we found we had the place pretty much to ourselves. There were these lamas. Their enclosure allowed them quite a bit of the mountain and they followed us to and fro as we canvased the area. (I think they were looking for handouts, which they didn't get.)
The top of Allemalp is where the paragliders take off from. There were a few up there beginning their flights and we watched them as they took off to soar over the village. The road leading up to the cable car passes the field where the gliders land, so afterwards we stopped to watch them come down. Looks easy enough, but no thanks...
Towards the end of the Gasterntal valley there is the Klus Gorge and bridge across it. The water is quite torrential here - we heard a story that a dog fell in here, I hate to think what happened :-( At the side the road, which we followed for a short while, passes through a short tunnel and then the path drops drop the side of the overhanging cliff here - aided by steps thankfully! The entrance to the valley emerges near the cable-car station for Sunnbuel from where it is a flat walk of some 40 minutes to the centre of Kandersteg.
High above the cliffs of the Gasterntal valley we could see the glaciers (on the other side this would be in the Gemmipass) with the meltwater causing the waterfalls. You wouldn't think from the blue sky here that there was abank of cloud nestled over kandersteg!
The walk started off on a well defined gravel track and soon descended into some woods, zig-zagging down for a short while but soon opened out to the river bed and the valley walls with the many waterfalls were visible - some literally spouting out of the rock.
For a shortish hike we decided to take the minibus (see transport tip) up this secret valley to Selden and then walk back to the town of Kandersteg. Its only a 2-3 hour hike but we took it leisurely and stopped off for a coffee halfway down. let me show you some of the scenery....
A 40 minute walk north of the village brings you near to a cable-car station - just near here an amazing road climbed into the wild Gasternal valley. Its literally a hidden valley, you hardly know it was here unless you'd see it on a map or had this view as we descended on the Sunnbuel cable car after walking the Gemmi Pass.
Of course, Kandersteg is built around the tourist trade. But there are a few less-traveled paths that can make you feel like you have the Alps all to yourself.