Backpacking

Hiking in the Jungfrau

The Jungfrau region is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s a glistening mountain landscape with colliding glaciers, lush alpine meadows, moist forest trails, and hundreds of dazzling waterfalls. Located in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland and most easily accessed from the city of Interlaken, the Jungfrau region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized worldwide for its stunning natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Most travelers to the area visit the village of Grindelwald and gaze at the North Face of the Eiger. Over half a million passengers per year take the Jungfrau mountain railway to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe where they can overlook the Aletschgletscher, the longest glacier in the Alps, and even walk through tunnels inside the glacier. You’ll also want to visit Staubbach Falls, the highest waterfall in Switzerland. And just across the Lauterbrunnen Valley, within walking distance of Staubbach Falls is Trummelbach Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular underground waterfalls, where torrents of water have created a series of caves made easily accessible by a funicular cut into the mountain, and a series of stairs and tunnels to discover the 10-tiered majesty of the falls. The village of Lauterbrunnen is set in the world’s largest glacial valley, and is ringed by over 70 waterfalls.

But with all these natural wonders and well-known visitor attractions, don’t overlook the spectacular scenery in lesser-known areas like Obersteinberg, the Grindelwaldgletschers and the Bachalpsee. Without a doubt, the best scenery in the Jungfrau is found on foot, and most of these walks are on well-marked and easily accessible trails. On many of these hikes you can quickly access high elevations and panoramic vistas by gondola, funicular, or mountain railway-systems of mountain transport perfected by the Swiss.

In addition to accommodations in the villages of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, you can also find wonder inns and hotels in car-free villages like Wengen, Murren, and Gimmelwald. And beyond these villages on high alpine trails you can stay in mountain huts or refuges where you’ll have great meals in a dormitory-style accommodation and be right in the heart of the scenic splendor.

Some of the best hikes in the area are dayhikes of less than 5 miles such as the Eiger Trail, a spectacular but safe mountain trail at the foot of the Eiger’s imposing North Face. Across the valley, the popular walk from First to Bachalpsee delivers a jaw-dropping panorama of alpine peaks and glaciers. Another easy and relatively level walk is a wooded stroll from Murren to Grutschalp high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Jungfrau hiking tours and guided hikes in other parts of the Swiss Alps are an excellent way to experience the mountain scenery and the undeniable charm of the Alps. These tours can be tailored to hikers of all skill, activity, and age levels.

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