For those of you feeling really lazy, having caught the chairlift up and not wanting to hike here, then simply sit at one of the restaurants with a drink and enjoy the sparkliing blue lake and the mountain scenery around. The restaurant is also a hotel - a few rooms are available - 9 doubles and 40 spaces in a dormitory. Truly a wonderful place to stay and be able to watch sunrises and sunsets up here.
At long last summer of 2008 and we had one last day to tackle the Heuberg Rundweg and we made it! The hike involves a loop walk from the top station of the Oeschinensee chairlift to Oberbärgli, down to Unterbärgli, which is quite steep and has rock steps with hand holds to help you. The walk from here down to the Oeschinensee, is much easier and finally back to the top chairlift station on tarmac roads. A good walker will do this hike in 3-4 hours of moderate hiking but we just enjoyed taking the whole day over it stopping at the mountain hut and then the restaurant overlooking the Oeschinensee before heading back to the lift station.
The hike provides wonderful views high above the lake and the climb up was not as bad as a I had imagined - just a couple of short sharp steep ascents in the woods. Once at the Heuberg viewpoint the path undulated over to the Oberbärgli (a tiny hamlet of few small huts) and we spotted chamois in the rocks above us....after that its all downhill.
Reaching the lake
On the eastern side of Kandersteg village a lovely old fashioned chairlift (oh how I wish there was more of these left) takes you up the easy way to the beautiful Oeschinensee above Kandersteg. Enjoy wonderful views of the valley as you glide effortlessly up. Each time on two previous day trips I have taken this chairlift. This visit I didn't - I used my legs for a change!! Well it was a steep path up the valley and next time it'll be back on the chairlift!
Cost was 19 Sfr return and 14 Sfr for a single - reductions available with your kandersteg guest card though so don't forget it.
UPDATE 2008: The chairlift is sadly being replaced with a modern gondola and last ride on this historic chairlift will be Sept 7th 2008.
Hikes around the Lake
If you only have time for a short hike then there are trails just above the lakes edge in the trees. Lovely glimpses of the blue water and look out for the sculptures too. Seems to b a popular theme at the moment to have sculpture trails. The ones here were fairly new - indeed we saw some of the woodcarvers/artists at work on them.
You can partially walk around the water's edge - it can be a bit rocky in places so wear suitable footwear. You will be rewarded with a surprise view of a waterfall - its not always visible as you view the lake from the restaurants. Lovely spot to cool down in in the summer heat too :-))
Fancy a dip?
Not into hiking but want to cool off in the lake - well jump in but don't be surprised if the water is cold!! I didn't brave it but some hardy sousl did - i was just happy to watch their antics. Pedaloes can be hired but I seem to remember they were several swiss francs for only a short time.
Hikes from the Lake
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.
This beautiful alpine lake is 60m deep and is one of the largest alpine lakes covering an area of 1.5 km2. Its depth can vary by some 15 - 20m depending on rainfall and snow melt. The water goes underground and provides electricity and water for Kandersteg so it serves a very useful purpose as well as being a great picnic place.