This is a nice easy hike in the Oeschinensee area (in the Unesco world heritage part). It is 7 km long and gives you nice panorama views of the lake and the peaks. It will take you about 3.5 hours. Height difference is 350 m. You start at the Seilbahn Oeschinensee (or walk up which adds an hour to the trip) From the station follow the signs to Heuberg. You will walk above the lake. Then follow signs to Oberbärgli and Unterbärgli. There will be a small hut which serves some drinks. If you are lucky you will see a lot of mountain goats. Otherwise you will see lots of cows as it is a famous place to have the cows and sheep spending their summer (since the 14th century)
This is our favorite hike if we arrive in the early afternoon, or right before a late checkout. The walk is rather steep, especially if you're not an experienced hiker, so bring good shoes and some water if it's a hot day.
Your reward will be a view of a lovely lake, along with a berghaus and a berghotel, both of which serve lunches and beverages. During Summer, they rent rowboats and paddleboats if you want to go out on the lake. You can stay the night if you want, but we prefer to stay in town.
For those who would like to go to the lake, but not take the steep hike, there's a "seilbahn" (gondola) that will get you up the hill. From the top station, it's a more gentle 20-minute walk to the lake.
The Gastern Valley is a very good hike, especially if it's a bit cloudy. You'll climb rather steeply at first along a torrent of water. Eventually, the trail flattens out, and you find yourself in a hanging valley with sheer cliffs and waterfalls surrounding you. Continue the walk all the way to Selden if you like, or even beyond to the hamlet of Heimritz. Just beyond Heimritz, you can see the Kanderfirn glacier in the distance. If you're really ambitious, you can hike the 2-3 hours to a Swiss Alpine Club hut and stay the night. For me, it's better to admire from a distance and go back to cozy Kandersteg.
Note: There is van transportation from Kandersteg to Selden available from July-October, but you must reserve in advance. Ask at your hotel, the tourist office, or the train station.
Probably the most popular hike in the Kandersteg area is the trek to the Gemmi Pass. While many tourists find the hike very strenuous, locals call it the "Grandmothers' Walk," and you will indeed see many senior citizens making the journey.
The most efficient way to get there is to either take the "Sunnbuel-bus" or walk a scenic 20 minutes to the Sunnbuel-Bahn cable car. From Sunnbuel, follow the trail and the signs to the Gemmipass. The hike should take 1 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on your level of fitness. At about the midpoint of the hike is the Berghotel Schwarenbach, a longtime mountain hotel (indeed, Mark Twain once stayed here). If the weather is clear and you manage to make it to the Gemmipass, you will be rewarded by a magnificent view of the Rhone Valley. There's even a cafeteria with view terrace where you can have a lunch break and/or beverage of your choice before making the return trip to Sunnbuel. For those who don't wish to make the return walk, there is a gondola from Gemmipass down to the town of Leukerbad. From Leukerbad, you can take a bus to Leuk, then a train back to Kandersteg via Brig. Of course, you can take the train/bus from Kandersteg to Leukerbad, the gondola to Gemmipass, and then walk to Sunnbuel... but then you have to read this tip backwards.
NOTE: This trail is open year round, but parts of the trail can be snow-covered even into July. Be sure to wear good hiking boots, preferably with Goretex.
One of the most magnificent hikes we've taken is the Heuberg Rundweg, a loop from the top station of the Heuberg (Oeschinensee) gondola to Oberbärgli, to Unterbärgli, to the Oeschinensee, then back to the top gondola station. Allow for 3-4 hours of moderate to strenuous hiking. CAUTION: Do not attempt this hike in bad weather or if you're out of shape. Be sure to check at the tourist office on trail conditions before you go. Bring boots, a waterproof jacket, water, and a map.
From the top station, follow the "Oeschinensee Rundweg" path to start. After about 15 minutes, you'll see the white-red-white "bergweg" trail towards Blümlisalp, Hohtürli, and Heuberg-Unterbärgli, ascending steeply to the left of the main trail. Follow the trail steeply upwards as you see the Oeschinensee and the Blümlisalp in front of you. On a clear day, the scenery will take your breath away. NOTE: Be aware that the ice and snow on parts of the trail can be quite challenging, especially early in the season. Oberbärgli itself is just a collection of farmhouses -- a landmark on the way to the much more difficult hiking destination of the Hohtürli. But you want to take the trail on the right running STEEPLY downhill to the Unterbärgli. Take your time and hold on to the cables on the way down. Once at Unterbärgli, you can either stop for refreshments at the small cafe, or continue to the Oeschinensee, then back to the gondola station.
Lake Thun is easy to get to from Kandersteg -- about a 40 minute train ride. From Thun, it's easy to visit Schloss Thun, an interesting castle not far from the lake. After that, head for the lake and follow the hiking trail (yellow signs) in the direction of Oberhofen. The hike is mostly flat, though there are some hills. Just outside of Thun, you'll climb through a vineyard. At the top, you'll be rewarded with an excellent view of the lake.
Continue along the path as long as you like. At Hilterfingen, Hunibach, and Oberhofen, there are docks where you can catch lake steamers to Thun, Spiez, and Interlaken. These boats are covered by Swisspass.
This is a nice place for a lunch or a BBQ or a mystical drink and dinner in the evening. It is a little nature park ( 22ha)with a crystal clear lake. Inside is a Hotel with Spa and Restaurant which offers a lot of meals with fresh trout from their own farm. You will be able to have a look around this farm. You will have to pay 5.- entrance fee which includes a boat ride or free wood for your BBQ pit. For kids there is a big play ground. The hotel has 18 rooms. Once a year there is an Open-Air movie theater. Check home page for dates.
Park is open year round.
For some awesome sights I always recommend hiking in the Oeschinensee area (Kandersteg valley). It's one of the most picturesque mountain lakes in the Bernese Oberland. You will find many different choices for hikes (long, short, steep and strenous ones or very easy stuff).
Checkout the homepage: www.oeschinensee.ch
There is a summer sledge run as well for some fun. BBQ on the lake shore also highly recommendable specially if you are into fishing. You can rent boats as well.
In winter there is a small skiarea.
The Allmenalp is easily reached with the gondola - if you can face the scary ride in it straight up the rock face. Up here you have a good view over Kandersteg, see cheese being made, watch mad paragliders launch themselves off the cliff edge or enjoy one of the many hikes which start here.
August 2007 we made this trip again with VT'ers Rebibi, her husband Remo and Bigs. Its a shortish walk - about 2.5 hours to walk along the path towards the end of Kandersteg and then down by the river back into Kandersteg. Of course an obligatory stop at a mountain hut was made for some cake and liquid refreshment.
Yes, there are not too many churches in town. If you are Catholic, this is your only option. I simply passed by this 16th century church several times while en route to hiking the nearby mountains. It seems like such an ideal setting for the church with the jagged Alps dominating the skyline. If you are on your way to Oeschinensee, you are bound to see the church.
You're in the heart of the Bernese Alps. What better way to risk your life than to set out on some adventure sports. Aside from the more typical climbing, abseiling, and whitewater rafting, there are many other options. Take paragliding for example, where you jump off a gigantic mountain with merely a parachute on you. It's pretty much like hang gliding, except you have a parachute instead of those wing-like structures. I find it a necessity to embark on some type of adventure sport while in pristine Berneroberland. Really, it IS a must. If you don't come back from your vacation in one piece, does it really matter?!
Probably the most distinctive mountain in Europe can be reached fairly easily in a day from Kandersteg. We visited for a day and enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. Although you have to leave your car behind the train journey to Zermat was short and not too cramped and didn’t seem to present any inconvenience. Like everyone else we took to the cable car to have a closer look at the Matterhorn. It’s worth noting that it clouds over pretty quickly. It seemed crystal clear when we set off on our trip but within an hour or so little of it was visible even though we had great views of the surrounding mountains. We got some nice shots from the Monte Rosa aspect of the Matterhorn. You will need to take walking boots and pick a totally clear and still day. Allow plenty of time.
Many hiking trails start from the lake. A popular one is the 3 hour round trip from the top of the cable-car to Heuberg and Oberbargli gives wonderful views over the lake and someday I will be back to do this - just ran out of time this visit. :-( The hike takes in the pastures seen on the left hand side of this pic.
Longer hikes reach the Blumlisalp Hut - proper mountain equipment is required for this hike though but I believe the views of the glacier are amazing.
The most popular excursion from the village of Kandersteg is to Oeschinensee - and rightly so. The blue turquoise water is perfectly framed by the majestic crags of the Blumlisalp range. Its an idyllic setting and very relaxing even just to sit on the cafe terrace drinking in the view.
We were on Allmenalp in late afternoon and pretty much had the place to ourselves. There is a cheesemaking demonstration earlier in the day. From June to October, Monday to Friday, 9am-12pm. The cost is 5 CHF. There is also a small restaurant with terrace seating up here.
A clear day is a magnificent day to be on the trails in this area. A hike or quick gondola ride to the Oeschinensee is a very popular choice. If you're fit and in the mood for a...