This July we had the opportunity to carry out a recce of the Tour of the Jungfrau Region (TJR), this has been on my to do list for a while and after an enquiry from a walking group based in Seattle, we did not need much encouragement to go and take a further look.
The Jungfrau Region, located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is a breathtaking and iconic destination known for its dramatic landscapes, towering peaks, and charming Alpine villages.
Nestled in the Bernese Oberland, in the canton of Bern, Switzerland, the Jungfrau Region is easily accessible from major Swiss cities like Zurich and Geneva. It encompasses several towns and villages, including Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, and Mürren.
The Jungfrau Region is dominated by three majestic peaks that define its skyline: the Eiger (3,970 meters), the Mönch (4,107 meters), and the Jungfrau (4,158 meters).
We made our way to Interlaken from Chamonix, a 3-hour easy drive via Martigny, Montreux, and Bern. We arrived late and camped at a small and friendly campsite in Wilderswil, just next to Interlaken and the starting point for the trek. Early the next morning, we dropped my campervan off in the long-stay car park and headed for the railway station.
Day 1: Schynige Platte to First - Amazing Views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau
The day began with a picturesque train ride to Schynige Platte. Under blue skies, the cogwheel train chugged its way up through pristine Alpine landscapes, offering breathtaking views of the Jungfrau region. After a quick check of the map upon arrival at Schynige Platte (1980m), my companion Mabel and I hit the trail. It was truly a fabulous day, with stunning views as we traversed high above the Grindelwald valley, with the iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains in sight throughout the day. We made our descent past beautiful lake Bachsee before our 4pm arrival at Berghotel First (2167m).
Day 2: First to Hotel Wetterhorn - Beating the storm!
By daybreak, the weather looked set for change, and as this was not a long day's hike, there was a good chance of reaching Hotel Wetterhorn before the storm arrived. We started on an easy traverse high above the valley to Grosse Scheidegg (1962m), where we paused for a cup of tea at the Berghotel, avoiding a brief shower. As we descended, the picturesque Grindelwald valley emerged once more, with the majestic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks serving as a breathtaking backdrop. Our arrival at the Hotel Wetterhorn, nestled in the peaceful hamlet of Hasliberg, couldn't have been timed more perfectly, shortly after, the heavens opened up! Option to take the short free bus ride to the charming village of Grindelwald, we opted to stay dry in the hotel!
Day 3: Hotel Wetterhorn to Alpiglen and the Eiger Trail - A damp one!
The forecast today was not good. We woke up to heavy rain. Working on the premise that once you are out in it, it's never as bad as you think, breakfast done, rucksack packed, we headed for the trail. Fortunately, most of the route to Alpiglen is spent in the forest, which gave good shelter. On emerging from the trees above Alpiglen, we continued on the Eiger trail, an uphill traverse under the imposing north face of the Eiger. I would imagine this section of the route would be stunning in better weather. Unfortunately, we didn't get sight of the Eiger due to low cloud; at least the rain had stopped by this point. Once at Eigergletscher (2320m), there is an opportunity to take the train up to the Jungfraujoch if time and weather allow. We decided to use the train to descend to Kleine Scheidegg and stop for the night here.
Day 4: Stechelberg to Berghotel Tscingelhorn- Getting away from it all
Using the beautiful mountain railway from Kleine Scheidegg to Lauterbrunnen, I then took the bus along the valley to Stechelberg to start today's hike. This half of the TJR (Trail of the Jungfrau Region) is much quieter, and the day promised to be something special; we were not disappointed! We climbed steeply into the upper reaches of the Lauterbrunnen valley. This is a wild environment of glaciers, waterfalls, and old moraines—beautifully quiet and remote. Once up high, the trail contours round below the Schmadri refuge and on to Oberhornsee lake. From here, we traversed the opposite side of the high valley, which took us beyond Obersteinberg to Berghotel Tschingelhorn. What a wonderful place to spend the night.
Day 5: Berghotel Tschingelhorn to Mürren- Back to semi-civilisation
An easy start to the day as we made our way back to Obersteinberg. From here, the trail climbed to our first high point below Tansbödeli. We then descended into the Sefinental valley. There are many options to Mürren; we descended to take the longer route via the Rockstock Hut, which made for the second steep ascent of the day. After refreshments at the refuge, we headed on a beautiful high traverse with fabulous views of the Jungfrau. A final descent via Spielbodenalp into the village of Mürren.
Day 6: Mürren to the Lobhorn Hut- Yet another beautiful high traverse
One thing we decided against was the inclusion of the Schilthorn. When visiting the Rockstock hut and taking the cable car to the top of the Schilthorn, the route looked exposed and very loose. The Schilthorn is also not an attractive peak, and the cable car station has seen better days! Therefore, we headed on the beautiful high traverse from Mürren to the Lobhorn hut. Fabulous views across to Wengen and the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. A quiet, peaceful trail that takes in the high Soustal valley.
Day 7: Lobhorn Hut to Wilderswill- Our final day
Our final day of the TJR took us past the small lake of Sulssee to a small col with great views over to Schynige Platte and down to Interlaken. The trail continues on a delicate traverse below the Sylertal across to a grassy saddle named Bällefurgge (1998m). From here, it's all downhill. We made our way down to the farm buildings of Hinter Bällen (1769m). There are many options from here. You can make your descent shorter by taking the trail to Saxeten and then catching the bus to Wilderswil. We decided to hike all the way down on a more direct trail through the forest, reaching the valley bottom. With tired legs, we found the van and headed back to the Chamonix Valley.
Yet another fabulous trek in the beautiful Swiss Bernese Oberland. There are many options available, and the route can be easily tailored to suit any duration. Lots of transport options to make some days easier; this area is very well connected in true Swiss style! Look out for our new itinerary for 2024 or get in touch for further information.