Trek the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau Region


Global Adventure - Trek the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau Region

Trek hut to hut for two weeks and 94 miles high in the spectacular Bernese Alps under the snowy crags of the Jungfrau and the Eiger. This very strenuous route samples the best of this UNESCO heritage region, offering intense physical challenge rewarded by incredible mountain and valley views, picturesque Swiss villages, high huts and great food. Carry only a daypack, stay in dorm rooms and shared private rooms along the way with most meals provided.

  • Sun, Jul 22, 2018 — Sun, Aug 5, 2018
  • Global Adventures Committee
  • Global Adventures, Day Hiking, Backpacking
  • Adults
  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 94.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 31,730 ft


Arrive no later than the afternoon of Sunday, July 22, 2018 in Zurich, Switzerland.  We’ll transfer to Interlaken on Monday, July 23, then trek until Saturday August 4 when we take an afternoon train back to Interlaken.  On Sunday August 5 participants can depart back to Zurich for flights home, or proceed on their own to other explorations in the area!

The leader will assist participants with making their transportation bookings and other planning in advance of the trip.

Itinerary Highlights:

The Jungfrau Region of the Bernese Alps in south-central Switzerland contains some of the highest peaks (8 over 4000m!) and the largest continuous area of glacier ice in the Alps, plus hundreds of lakes, lovely villages and excellent food and culture.  The mighty rock massif of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau forms a massive wall overlooking the towns of Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and Interlaken and the Bernese Oberland, one of the most distinctive sights of the Swiss Alps.  Hundreds of miles of developed trails, well-appointed mountain hotels and huts, an extensive system of trains, cable cars and cog railways, as well as easily accessed villages and resort towns, make this a very popular area for trekking.  Still, the very scale of the landscape and the intense physical challenge of some of the trails mean that strong hikers can find solitude along with the exhilaration of challenging themselves among some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet.

This two-week, 94-mile very strenuous high route circles under the Jungfrau massif along portions of the Tour of the Jungfrau Region[1] and the Swiss Alpine Pass Route or Via Alpina 1[2].  Along the way, we’ll stay in rustic inns and mountain huts, some in classic Swiss valleys and others perched on panoramic ridges or on rocky points high above the valleys and glaciers.  The main route is panoramic most of the way, but when weather permits, we will head up from the main trails to traverse along high alternative routes. However, every day we will have the option to head to lower ground by trail or cable car if weather or trail conditions are unsafe.

We will meet in Zurich Switzerland, an ancient city that is now the largest city in Switzerland, a banking center and a transport hub for the country, on Sunday July 22nd.  We’ll spend a night in Zurich, and the next morning take a train to Interlaken, an easy 2 hour ride.  We’ll take an adjustment day in Interlaken, hiking the Harderkulm balcony trail high above Lake Brienz to get our legs and lungs ready for the challenges to come.  On Tuesday July 24th we’ll leave our luggage at our hostel in Interlaken and take a train to Wilderswil and a cog railway – one of the highest in the world! – from there up to the viewpoint of Schynige Platte at 7000’ where we’ll begin our trek in earnest.

For the next six days we’ll circle first east, then south, then west along ridges with near constant views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, climbing as high as 8800’ and dropping as low as 3600’ along the way and seeking higher routes wherever the weather and trail conditions permit.  On this section we’ll stay at rustic high-mountain inns along the trail and will climb from the main trail to stay at two high huts on rocky perches over glacier. On day five we’ll traverse over a 7700-foot trekkers peak for panoramic views and then drop steeply through the scenic villages of Wengen and Lauterbrunnen before climbing (by trail or cable car) to Murren, a stunning road-free Swiss village perched at 5500’ high above the Lauterbrunnen valley with unimpeded views of the massif.  We’ll spend a free day in Murren on Monday July 30th to soak up the ambiance, take rest, do laundry, or for those feeling energetic, options exist to do a nearby Via Ferrata with a guide or hike or ride a lift up to the Schilthorn (9744’) and back for more panoramic views (on your own, not part of the Mountaineers itinerary).

From Murren we’ll climb back to the main trail for five more days near the crest, mostly on the Swiss Via Alpina.   Leaving Murren on the morning of Tuesday July 31st, we’ll walk past Gimmelwald and cross the upper Lauterbrunnen valley to Stechelberg, and climb back toward the walls of the massif to Schmadri Falls and the Oberhornsee at 7400’ before overnighting at Obersteinberg.  The next day we’ll circle back to join the Via Alpina at Rotstock Hutte (6688’) and follow a spectacular high section of that trail to Sefinenfurgga pass (8567’), down into the valley of Gamchibach, and back up to the Blumlisalphutte at 9305’ – our most strenuous day with 10 miles and 6258 feet of elevation gain – but oh, the rewards!  (As backup in case participant wishes or weather preclude the big climb to Blumlisalphutte, we’ll have another booking at Bundalp about halfway up.)  From Blumlisalphutte we’ll drop in a short 3 miles to the incredibly scenic Oeschinensee, a lake at 5176’ surrounded by cliff walls – for our last night on the trail.   On Saturday August 4th,   those who are inclined can hike the steep round trip up above the Oeschinensee to a high hut, Frundenhutte, 2200 feet above the lake;  then we'll all walk 2.5 miles downhill to Kandersteg and  spend our last night there.  First thing the last morning we'll catch a train back to Interlaken (about an hour), pick up our luggage, and catch a train back to Zurich for flights home or on to further adventures.  

At huts and hotels, bedding and half board (breakfast and dinner) are provided so we only need to carry a daypack with a sleep sack, clothing, water, lunch/snacks and our Ten Essentials for emergencies.  We will be able to leave luggage at our hostel in Interlaken and come back to it at the end of our trek.

View the detailed daily distance and elevation profile.  Daily mileage 8-12 miles, daily elevation gain 2500-4000 feet with one day over 6000'.

NOTE:  As with any extended travel, but particularly in an area with unpredictable mountain weather and changeable trail conditions, our itinerary can change without notice and sections may be modified or dropped.  The priority will always be on safety for all participants. 

[1] Reynolds, Kev.  2010. Tour of the Jungfrau Region: A two-week trek in the Bernese Oberland (Cicerone Guide) 

[2] Reynolds, Kev.  2017.  The Swiss Alpine Pass Route – Via Alpina 1: Trekking East to West across Switzerland (Cicerone Guide)

Time of Year: We’ll be visiting during late July, the warmest month of the year in the region. (However, weather in the Alps is notoriously fickle even in summer, so weather can range from warm and sunny to cold, wet and windy in the span of a day or stay miserable for days. ) The temperature in the high valleys ranges from the mid 50s to the low 70s during the day (weather on the high passes and huts can be considerably colder!) .  The region also receives its greatest precipitation during the summer months, but days are long, sunbreaks can be expected even on rainy days and the July-to-early-September ‘high season’ is considered to have the best weather to visit.  Some snowfields may remain by late July so we’ll bring trekking poles for stability and microspikes based on the specific snow levels as the date gets closer. 

Lodging:  Five nights in comfortable 3-star hotels or hostels, and 5-6 nights in mountain huts and rustic inns with limited amenities.  Shared two person rooms will be available on some of the nights (with shared bathroom down the hall) but some nights will be in dormitory style co-ed bunk rooms.  Some huts may have only "massenlager" style bunks where people sleep on mattresses laid side by side.

Food: Hearty breakfasts and dinners are included on all of our trail days.  Participants will have the option to purchase sack lunches for the trail at some of our huts and hotels, though we may also stop at trailside cafes and huts for a meal or cappuccino and snack where available.  Lunches and drinks, and dinner on our free day in Murren, are not included in the trip price.  (Though some or all trail lunches may be covered if the budget allows, depending on how the Swiss Franc-USD exchange rate goes over the next year!)  Accommodations can be made for vegetarians and some other dietary restrictions if the leader is notified in advance.

Leader’s Experience:   Cheryl Talbert has led many Mountaineers hikes and several Mountaineers and private backpacks, treks and cultural trips around the U.S. west and worldwide, including New Zealand, Patagonia, Peru, Turkey, Portugal, Nepal, Colorado and the Wind River Range.  She organized a private group trekking trip on the Tour de Mont Blanc high route in 2016. (

Strenuousness or Difficulty rating:  This route is rated very strenuous, due to some very rugged terrain, some moderate exposure, and long days with significant elevation gain.    On many parts of this trail, the route ascends, descends or traverses steep rock faces and scree with fixed cables or ladders and some exposure – those with a fear of heights or who are not confident with their balance will not find this trail a good fit.

Participant Requirements: Must be a current Mountaineers member with an up-to-date waiver on file. This outing includes very strenuous hiking on rugged terrain (including some steep moraine and scree slopes) for multiple successive days, so participants need to be in excellent aerobic condition with sound joints, higood balance and confidence traveling on rough, sometimes exposed trail with a pack, and with the experience and willingness to deal with some discomfort, cold and inclement weather for extended periods.  Occasional snowfield crossings may be involved, requiring microspikes and trekking poles.  Recent experience with multi-day strenuous backpacking or mountain trekking, plus a positive attitude and a demonstrated ability to get along well with groups under demanding conditions, will be very important.   NOTE:  As a Mountaineers group we will operate as interdependent, capable travelers making our way together and helping one another succeed and be safe.  You are responsible for your own safety and that of your fellow travelers.  You must have the ability to navigate on trails with a map and compass.  

Trip Price Detail: $3100 including all lodging, transportation (trains, some cable car and cog rail trips where part of the main itinerary), and half-board (breakfast and dinner) along the trek.  Your airfare (~$1300), travel insurance ($75-350), lunches, drinks and a few other meals in town (~$250) are not included.   International medical and emergency evacuation insurance are required - see this link for background and guidance on this requirement.

Registration Instructions:  Please complete the Application Form.   After the leader’s approval, please pay the 50% deposit ($1550) in order to hold your space on the roster. Registration will close on Nov 1, 2017 or whenever the roster fills. A place on the roster can only be held with payment of the deposit. The balance of the trip payment is due by April 1, 2018.  Promptly upon approval you are also asked to complete and sign a Trip Agreement and a Global Adventures Liability Release and Indemnity Agreement.

Application          Trip Agreement          Release

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel because of an emergency, you may receive a refund less expenses incurred and a $100 administrative fee.


Trek the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau Region

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Required Equipment

Required Equipment

After receiving your deposit, the leader will send out a series of letters or emails providing information to help participants succeed on the trip, including recommended and required gear, recommended maps and guidebooks.


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