You (or at least we) can’t go to Switzerland without doing some hiking. On our first day in Grindelwald, we forced ourselves out of bed to hike to Kleine Scheidigg in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps.
We wanted a challenging hike, some sort of destination as motivation to keep going, and great views of the North Face of the world famous Eiger Mountain. The less adventurous can take a train up the hill, but where’s the fun in that? Plus you gotta earn your beer at the top of the mountain!
Starting at our hotel in Grindelwald, at an altitude of approximately 1,000m/3,300ft, it was warm for early May as we hiked along single track paths to get out of town and start the proper hike. Leaving the town, you see the swarms of tourists, all decked out in high-end hiking gear as they are corralled by tour guides off luxury buses and out of hotels towards the train station. Don’t worry – you won’t see them on the hiking trails!
The main path is paved, but basically consists of walking uphill for 3-4 hours with the occasional break to look back at the valley below and try to not think about how much higher you still have to climb.
Just to rub it in, every once in a while you’ll cross train tracks where you can see the occasional crowded train pass by on its way up the hill. You can exchange knowing glances with the train passengers, as they give you a confused look as if to ask “Why are you going up that way?” while you look back at them thinking the same thing.
The hiking path passes by the train stations of Brandegg and Alpiglen in case you change your mind, or need a break at their chalet-style restaurants.
Throughout the hike, the North Face of the Eiger towers over you and you get amazing views back down at Grindelwald, along the valley, and the surrounding hills and mountains.
We literally didn’t run into a single other person hiking up the hill during our entire walk. Towards the top, where the grassy terrain transitions to snow, we started running into some people who took the train up and were walking down but, other than that, we were alone. It’s so rare to be able to visit a place so amazing and with plenty of facilities and good cell phone service, but still be almost entirely alone.
Once you make it up the final steep hill, you’ll arrive at Kleine Scheidigg at an altitude of 2,061m/6,800ft. Unfortunately, you’re back into the world of tour groups and souvenir shops, given that this is the home of the busy train station where you can continue up to Jungfraujoch or down towards Wengen and Lauterbrunnen. There are several restaurants as well, and trust us, a beer and rosti has never tasted so good!
Additional pictures are available in our Switzerland gallery (Click Here).
Please also see our article on where to stay near Interlaken (Click Here).