31 Jul THE BEST HUT HIKE IN SWITZERLAND
A hut hike is a multi-day trek through the mountains, where you spend the night in mountain huts along the way. During this trail, you will experience the mountains in all their glory and you immerse yourself fully in nature. Guest editor Iris went on a 5-day hut-to-hut hike through the Swiss Jungfrau and Kandersteg region. Find out about her route and why it was awesome.
Together with a group of 8 people and 1 mountain guide, I signed up for this hut-to-hut hike in Switzerland. If you want to know how this absolute beach girl turned into a mountain lover, read on. I will share my opinion, THE hiking route, and the insides of how to prepare for your first hut hike in Switzerland.
MUST READ: 9X BEST HIKES IN EUROPE
Traveling to Switzerland
We travelled to Switzerland by train – next to environmental reasons, it’s way more comfortable compared to flying. Besides, you can walk around the train compartments and enjoy more space. Secondly, you don’t experience the “hustle and bustle” of airports with security, baggage check-in, and long waiting lines. This train ride takes around 9,5 hours – in our case from Utrecht to Basel. One train change and you will arrive at fairytale village Lauterbrunnen. Most hikers will stay the night in a hotel so you can get ready for your 5-day hut hike.
Your Packing list for a hut to hut hike
Fully packed with a backpack of 7 liters, we were heading for the mountains. Because you will carry your backpack for many hours every day, you should only take the essentials with you. Both for good, and bad weather. Here you can find a good and complete list of what you should bring. TIP: At Bever, you’ll find good hiking clothing and accessories in case you need to buy something for your trip.
The huts along this trail
Almost all mountain huts are owned by the Swiss Alpine Club SAC/CAS. They own over 150 cabins with room for around 9.300 hikers in total. I would advise you to book these cabins in advance as the chances are quite big that they are fully booked on arrival. Overnight stays cost between 20 and 30 francs per day. If you would like to book a night with dinner and breakfast included it gets more expensive (70-90 francs). It’s important to realise that you don’t expect too much luxury in the cabins. You often sleep in a large dormitory and there are no showers available. On the other hand, the cabins are very cozy (and clean). You’re supposed to be quiet in the huts at 10 o’clock – but believe me – then you’re pretty tired!
In addition, you often have nice encounters and conversations with other mountain hikers. It truly is a special experience.
THE HIKING ROUTE
Day 1: Isenfluh to Löbhornhütte
After a morning of exploring the beautiful picturesque village of Lauterbrunnen, we were ready to start our mountain adventure. A bus took us to the mountain town of Isenfluh where our hike began (1081m). This hike will take about 3+ hours and you will ascend 850 meters. In the beginning, I had to get used to the steep walk up, but after a little while, I had my breathing under control. You don’t have to be a fanatic athlete but it is recommended to prepare yourself (condition) a little bit. Along the way, we came across beautiful meadows, farms, and viewpoints. Take your time and stop several times to have a sip of water and enjoy the beautiful views you will encounter along the way. After 2 hours you will reach above the tree line, where our path continued along the Sulzbach. Around 4 o’clock we arrived at our first stop: the Löbhornhütte! The Apérol Spritze they served was a toast to a successful first day.
Lake Oberhornsee is only a 10-minute walk away from the hut and an ideal spot to go for a refreshing swim. The water is so calm that the mountains are perfectly reflected in the water – an absolutely beautiful view. After a dip in the water, we went back to the hut for dinner and played board games on the terrace. During sunset, we went exploring around the hut and a group of cows came to join us. How idyllic can it get haha, see the photos below for the ultimate Swiss mountain feels.
Day 2: Löbhornhütte to Rotstockhütte
Don’t expect to have a long lay-in because at 07:00 am the alarm rang and we headed to breakfast. I expected the breakfast to be basic, but it was quite nice! After a bowl of yogurt with granola and some fresh bread with Swiss cheese, we were oﬀ hiking again. On day 2 you will hike from Löbhornhütte to Rotstockhütte in 6 hours. In the morning we did 3 hours where we ascended 100 meters and descended 500 meters. We followed the road from the farm to Grütschalp (1486 m) where we got on the train for a panoramic train ride to Mürren. Here we had a little break in the delightful sun and got some coﬀee at a cute restaurant before heading on.
Along the way, you will pass a cool waterfall and several beautiful viewpoints. The nice chemistry of the group – we were continuously chatting, sharing stories, and laughing – made time fly by. Around 4 o’clock we arrived at our second place to stay: the Rotstockhütte. Here we had a beautiful view of the glaciers where the sunset made the mountains look pink-colored. Slept like a baby after this hike.
It was at this moment I realised I was enjoying hiking and being in the mountains.
Day 3: Rotstockhütte to Gespaltenhornhütte
Another day, another hike! Waking up energised and looking forward to getting out in nature again. The sun was shining once again and at 9 o’clock we continued our journey. From the hut, we kept on walking over alpine meadows (which are covered in seas of flowers) in a westerly direction. The road runs parallel to the course of the Sefibach. Soon we ascended towards the pass Sefinenfurgge (2612 m). The last part of the climb was steep and stony with a wooden staircase at the end.
We were expecting that this day would be the easiest climb, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. Our guide recommended we take a detour through the valley because it would be a tricky climb for a rather inexperienced group. Because of this, we hiked for almost 8 hours instead of the 4 hours we had planned.
TIP: Hiking through the Swiss mountains can be quite challenging, depending on the trail you choose. Good travel insurance is therefore important, should something happen. The NKBV developed special travel insurance with mountain sports coverage for their members. It includes all mountaineering risks: search, rescue, and repatriation are reimbursed whenever and wherever in the world. Ideal for the adventurous mountaineer!
From the Sefinenfurgge we descended to Bürgli and from there we took the road up again towards the Gespaltenhornhütte. Despite the long and tough trek, it had spectacular views. After one challenging crossing over a waterfall, we saw the Gspaltenhornhütte (2455 m) lying in the distance against the massive walls of the Gspaltenhorn. As a result of the detour, we arrived much later than expected, but we were proud of our performance and it gave us an incredibly great feeling. By all means worth it (despite the blisters)!
Day 4: Gespaltenhornhütte to Blüemlisalphütte
Starting with a descent to the Gamchigletsjer. Afterward, we climbed back up via the moraine on the other side. A layer of gravel was covering the ice, which made for a peculiar but beautiful moonlike landscape. We walked over a deeply eroded, spectacular ravine via a bridge. A steep climb awaited us now. We could already see the zigzag paths towards the Blüemlisalphütte (2834 m) as we looked up. The last stretch consisted of many stairs and we were delighted when we arrived at the top. The reward is big once again because the view from the Blüemlisalphütte is breathtaking.
My face pointed to the mountains and when I opened my eyes I shed a few tears. A special moment where I was in awe of the mighty mountains.
Day 5: Blüemlisalphütte to Kandersteg
Today was our last day of hiking! A long descent to our final destination Kandersteg was lying ahead of us. Halfway through the valley, we could already see the Oeschinensee lying in the distance. You probably have seen this famous lake before on Instagram. The clear blue water, rugged cliﬀs, and large waterfall create an astonishing view. We walked along the banks of Oeschinensee and stopped for a refreshing dive in. You can imagine the joy after 4 days of not showering! You can indulge in some apfelstrudel at a restaurant at the end of the path but be sure to bring cash and be aware that prices here are sky high. (Bring your lunch to save money) or check our article with more tips on how to travel through Switzerland on a budget.
The trek we walked is called de Hintere Gasse – Jungfrautrek. It was such a beautiful tour: from Lauterbrunnen, along Kiendal, and ending in Kandersteg. To be honest, it was one of the most memorable and special trips I have experienced so far. Even despite the blisters, heavy legs, and not showering for a few days, I enjoyed every minute of it. The feeling you get when reaching your hut is worth it tenfold. Also, it felt like I was indulging in nature. I mean, how often do we surround ourselves with nature while actually being far away from civilization?
From now on you’ll find me in the mountains more often.
Given these points, would you ever go on a multi-day hike trip? Or are you already planning a hut-to-hut hike in Switzerland? The website of NKBV provides lots of information and useful articles to prepare you for your first trip. This article contains tips and advice for planning a hut tour. Another useful thing to know is that NKBV provides a special membership program. As a member, you get many advantages and unique benefits, such as a discount on your overnight stay in mountain huts and aﬀordable travel insurance. You also have access to extensive information to prepare for your trip as best as possible. Worth checking out!
Let us know in the comments!