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Schynige Platte – Faulhorn – First Hike

09 October 2019

This day trip took us to the Bernese Alps, in particular to the region of Grindelwald. We have both heard a lot about this spectacular hike and wanted to check it out for ourselves. And indeed, the panoramic views onto the Swiss snow mountains are absolutely amazing! Especially the famous trio – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – can be marveled at during almost the entire hike.

In short:

  • Where: region of Grindelwald in the Bernese Alps
  • When: end of August
  • Accommodation: optional (Berghotel Faulhorn or wild camping)
  • Budget: CHF 16.00 per person with the GA travelcard or half-fare travelcard (CHF 32.00 full fare) for the historical train from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte and CHF 15.00 per person with the GA or half-fare travelcard (CHF 30.00 full fare) from First to Grindelwald village
  • Length: approximately 16km
  • Altitude difference: about 800m
  • Hiking time (without rest and photo stops): roughly 6 hours

Route: Train station Wilderswil – Train station Schynige Platte – Oberberghorn – Louchernhorn – Egg – Berghütte Männdlenen – Faulhorn – Bachalpsee – First – Grindelwald village – Train station Grindelwald

Once you get to Wilderswil, a great number of tourists and hikers await you. The Schynige Platte – Faulhorn – First hike has become famous with both Swiss people and foreigners and, especially on a perfectly sunny day, attracts many people. Yet, don’t be afraid because during the hike everybody spreads out quite well.

Before getting onto the historical Schnynige Platte train, buy your ticket inside of the train station. Even people who have the GA travelcard need to pay half the fare for this mountain train. The train ride from Wilderswil to Schnyige Platte takes slightly under an hour. Have a warm jacket ready for this ride as a big part of the train is open, and even in the summer, it can be chilly in the morning.

When you get to the Schynige Platte, the views are astonishing already. The three famous mountains – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – display themselves in all their beauty. Further, the alpine flora is extraordinary. You can get to see gentians, alpine roses and many other plant species.

At the beginning of the hike, there are a few different paths. We decided to go for the one, which leads to the ridge right away. Once you get to the feet of the Oberberghorn, there is a beautiful view onto the Thunersee, the Brienzersee and the impressive Brienzergrat. For the next few kilometers, a relatively leisurely stroll follows where you can entirely focus on the awe-inspiring scenery around. Then, shortly after you walk around the Louchernhorn, the next ascent is waiting.

The higher you climb, the more the landscape is starting to change – it is getting more and more barren. Slightly below the Berghütte Männdlenen, we decided to make our lunch stop. This gave us the possibility to fully enjoy the vista of the Brienzersee and the Sägistalsee in the foreground. Fueled up, we then continued to climb upwards towards the Bergütte Männdlenen and finally towards the Faulhorn.

The last ascent before you reach the top of the Faulhorn is short but exhausting. However, it is totally worth the effort. This place was definitely one of the highlights. From the Faulhorn, you have an incredible 360° view onto the Bernese Alps and the Brienzersee. We highly recommend climbing to the top of the platform and resting your legs for a moment while taking in the breathtaking panorama. If you fancy a night up in the mountains, you can also stay at the Berghotel Faulhorn.

The rest of the hike is relatively easy as it’s mostly going down. A short while after you leave the Faulhorn, you get to the next highlight – the Bachalpsee. If you are lucky – unlike us – there is no wind and the Bernese alps with the Schreckhorn in the center are mirrored in the picturesque lake.

During the last few kilometers down to the First station, the famous “Eiger Nordwand” is always right across the valley. It is mainly famous for its climbing routes, which belong to the most difficult and most exhausting ones you can find in the alps. Moreover, it also is an excellent photo subject!

Finally, after checking out the First Cliff Walk, the cable car takes you back down to the village of Grindelwald. There you can catch a train to Wilderswil (if you arrived there by car) or to whatever destination you were coming from in the morning.

How to get there:
By public transport: Take an intercity train to Interlaken Ost (or an intercity train to Spiez and then a regional train to Interlaken Ost), where you change to the regional train in direction Lauterbrunnen. Get off at the Wilderswil train station. There, you need to change for the historical train to Schynige Platte.
By car: There is a car park next to the train station in Wilderswil. Park the car there, take the historical train to Schynige platte, do the hike and get down to Grindelwald. From Grindelwald, take the regional train in direction of Interlaken Ost to get back to the Wilderswil train station.

Where to stay:

The hike can easily be done in one day, so there is no need for accommodation. However, there exists the possibility to stay in the Berghotel Faulhorn overnight or to do wild camping. If you want to wild camp, please check out https://www.wildruhezonen.ch/wr400.php, to make sure not to be in a conservation area.