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Traditional Bear Trek in the Swiss Alps

Bookatrekking.com Trips - 6 days

    Regular days with
  • 15 - 20 km per day
  • More than 1000m ascent per day
  • T2 Trails / no difficulty markings
Overview
Route
What's Included
Accommodation
Packing List
FAQ
Safety
COVID-19
How to Book

Overview

> Complete the famous Bear Trek in the Swiss Alps
> Cross breathtaking mountain passes
> Don't worry about arranging the accommodation, we got that covered!

The Bear Trek is the most popular section of the Via Alpina 1, a longer route that crosses the Swiss Alps. During the Bear Trek, also known as the Bärentrek in German, you will complete 6 out of the 20 stages of the Via Alpina 1, from Meiringen to Lenk. During this trek, you will walk from one valley to the next while enjoying the great views of the towns below and the peaks above, like the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

On this 6-day route, you will cross mountain passes, you will discover breathtaking waterfalls, shimmering lakes, forestes and moorlands, and you will try exquisite traditional local dishes. Get your hiking boots ready and discover this Swiss gem in the Alps!

Why book with us?


You can do the Bear Trek fully independent and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary including all the accommodation together can be a complicated undertaking. Bookatrekking.com has warm contacts with the hotels on the Bear Trek and we can take the load of having to book the accommodation yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your Bear Trek memories stressfree and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it. 

Route

What's the plan?

Stage 1: Meiringen - Grindelwald
Take the bus to Rosenlaui, where the first stage of the Bärentrek begins. Walk up to the “Grosse Scheidegg” from where you will have magnificent views of the mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. From here you continue to Grindelwald.

Ascent: 700 m
Descent: 980 m
Distance: 14 km
Walking time: 4h 30 min
Difficulty: difficult
Highlight: with panoramic views

Stage 2: Grindelwald - Lauterbrunnen
Today, the trail leads up to the „Kleine Scheidegg“.  The walk up involves gentle hills and meadows, with traditional wooden huts and stalls dotted along the way. Berghaus Alpiglen is the perfect place for taking a little break. Here you will find delicious local specialties in a tranquil atmosphere. With your batteries recharged, you will be ready to tackle the final section of this stage and climb the Kleine Scheidegg. If you feel energized, you can even continue walking to Jungfraujoch. There are several small paths you can follow to the Lauterbrunnen via the magnificent Trümmelbach waterfall or past Wengen if you’re in a more laid-back mood. There is also an option to take a train and finish today's stage.

Ascent: 1150 m
Descent: 1400 m
Distance: 20 km
Walking time: 7h
Difficulty: difficult
Highlight: with panoramic views

Stage 3: Lauterbrunnen - Griesalp
Today's stage begins with an 800 m ascent up to the sun terrace where Mürren lies. The ascent is long, but trees provide some nice shade. You can also take a cable car ride all the way up to Mürren.  From Mürren, you then hike across lush meadows up to the Rotstockhütte, where you can recharge your batteries before tackling the steep ascent to the Sefinenfurgge Pass. This pass offers breathtaking views of the Sefinen and Kien valleys as well as the surrounding mountains, including a snow-covered Sefinenfurgge in the early summer months. You will then descend through a long set of steps, black rock, and scree until you reach the valley below.

Ascent: 2000 m
Descent: 1400 m
Distance: 22 km
Walking time: 9h
Difficulty: difficult
Highlight: with panoramic views, over a pass

Stage 4: Griesalp - Kandersteg
Today's stage is the most impressive of the whole trek. It is no coincidence that this is part of the "Swiss Alps" Unesco World Heritage. The first section leads over Bundalp to the top of Hohtürli Pass, where you will find glaciers along the northern flank of Blüemlisalp. The road to Blüemlisalp is long and steep. The second half runs down to Lake Oeschinen via impressive glacier moraines. At Lake Oeschinen you will find the cable railway to Kandersteg. 

Ascent: 1450 m
Descent: 1700 m
Distance: 17 km
Walking time: 7h
Difficulty: difficult
Highlight: with panoramic views, over a pass and mountain peak

Stage 5: Kandersteg - Adelboden
Today your trek starts after taking the cable car up to “Allmenalp”, from where you hike up to Bonderchrinde Pass with its distinctive shape, resembling a cauldron. The view on the surrounding peaks is breathtaking. A narrow trail that runs parallel to the ridge will take you to your next destination. A head for heights is paramount in this section of the trail. The route will lead you down into the valley to Adelboden.

Ascent: 1400 m
Descent: 1250 m
Distance: 16 km
Walking time: 7h
Difficulty: difficult
Highlight: with panoramic views, over a pass

Stage 6: Adelboden - Lenk
From the famous village of Adelboden, you will walk towards the Hahnenmoos Pass. This section of the trail guides you through forests and moorlands. Wonderful views of the peak of mount Wildstrubel guide your way down to Lenk.

Ascent: 700 m
Descent: 1000 m
Distance: 16 km
Walking time: 4h 30 min
Difficulty: difficult

What's Included

Included:

 Booking the accommodation
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead. 

√ Accommodation
We will arrange your accommodation on the Bear Trek in hostels in the towns. We will provide accommodation in shared dormitories when possible, including breakfast.

√ Breakfast
Breakfast is included in the price of this trek. Every morning, before starting that day's stage, you will enjoy a tasty breakfast at the hotels.

Excluded:

× Airfare and Visa
You have to make your way to the Alps. The total amount is exclusive of flights to Switzerland. 

× Transfers
Once in Switzerland, you will have to make your way to the trailhead in Meiringen. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there but the bus tickets are not included. The Bear trek ends in Lenk. At the end of the trek, the transfer back to Meiringen or to your next destination is not included.

× Accommodation before and after the trek
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

× Lunch and Dinner
Breakfast is included in the price of the trek. You can get lunch at the hotels and huts on the Bear trek and dinner at restaurants in the valleys.

× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.

Accommodation

Accommodation

The Bärentrek goes from one valley to the next, which means that at the end of each stage, you will reach a town or small city where you will be able to find different alternatives and accommodation options depending on your budget and the level of comfort that you look for.

On this 6-day trek, we will arrange the accommodation for you in hostels in the towns. We will provide accommodation in shared dormitories, including breakfast. Below you will find an overview of the hotels we usually work with. If any of them is full, we will find accommodation for you in a different hotel of similar category:

Day 1: Mountain Hostel, Grindelwald
This hostel is located only 2 minutes away from the (WAB) cable car and located directly at the new Eiger Express. Here you can find a variety of accommodation options, for groups or individuals, and a great breakfast with regional delicacies!



Day 2: Valley Hostel, Lauterbrunnen
The Valley Hostel Lauterbrunnen has 92 beds in 26 rooms, spread over three chalets. Surround yourself with fresh alpine air, thunderous waterfalls, and snow-covered mountains, and experience the peace and quiet of nature in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.



Day 3: Naturfreunde Haus, Griesalp
The simple mountain house has 17 rooms with room for 50 guests and is with its 111 years the oldest nature friend house in Switzerland. Surrounded by majestic mountains such as Gspaltenhorn, Dünde- and Ärmighore as well as the Blüemlisalp chain, the Naturfreunde Haus is an ideal starting point for hiking and mountaineering.



Day 4: Hotel zur Post, Kandersteg

The simple and cozy Hotel zur Post, (Bed and Breakfast) built in chalet style, is located in the quiet village center of Kandersteg. The train station, local bus, banks, post office, swimming pool, an artificial ice rink, and shopping facilities are within walking distance.



Day 5: Guesthaus Alive, Adelboden

The guest house alive is run by the Kursawe family, including Sarah, Knut, Joya, and Enya. The family enjoys sending time with their guests whenever possible, be it during meals or different outdoor activities.



Day 6: Departure

Packing List

Packing List

Packing the right equipment is key for every trekking adventure. The Via Alpina has several stages and your luggage will depend on the number of days that you will spend on the mountain. Here are our recommendations when it comes to your Via Alpina trekking preparations:

- Hiking boots 
- Hiking socks 
- Hat 
- Beanie
- Scarf
- Gloves 
- Underwear 
- Slippers or sandals for the huts
- Hardshell jacket 
- Shorts 
- Long pants 
- Sunglasses 
- Sweater (warm) 
- Sweater (light) 
- Swimwear 
- Rain pants 
- Sports shirts
- Hairband 
- Personal hygiene items
- First aid kit

FAQ

FAQ

Where is the Bear Trek?
The Bear Trek is located in the Swiss Alps and is a section of the Via Alpina 1. The Via Alpina is, actually, a network of five long-distance hiking trails across the alpine regions of Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Monaco. The Swiss section of the Via Alpina is called the Via Alpina 1, or Swiss Alpine Route, and is 20 stages long. The Bärentrek comprises 6 stages of the Via Alpina 1.

Best season

Like most treks in the Alps, the season for these treks is quite short. Due to snowfall and harsh weather conditions, these treks can only be completed during the Summer season, from mid-June till the end of September. August is considered the best month when it comes to hiking in the Swiss Alps. In August you typically get the best weather, relatively dry and warm, and there are still wildflowers, which are usually gone by September. The first weeks of September are also a good idea. Summer might be coming to an end by then, but the weather is still clear and there will be fewer trekkers on the trails.

Food on the Bear Trek
On each stage of the Via Alpina 1, you will come across some small settlements in the mountains, hotels, and huts. During your walk, you will find different options where you will be able to stop for a break and grab a bite. Just like with the accommodation options, you will find that you can find fancy restaurants at the hotels and also some simpler dishes at the huts along the way. All of them offer their visitors traditional local dishes like Rösti, pasta, and a wide variety of cheeses and charcuterie.

How to get to the starting point
The Bear Trek starts in Meiringen, which is easily reached by train from Zurich or Bern. The train rides take about 3 hours both from Zurich or Bern. If you are traveling by car, you can reach Meiringen via Bern or via Lucerne. If you are traveling from Innsbruck/ Tyrol, take the A3, from Munich/ Bavaria take the A96 to Meiringen. In Meiringen there are parking lots for a weekly fee, the parking lot of the mountain railroads is free of charge. 

You will finish the Bear Trek in Lenk. From Lenk, you can take a train to your next destination. If you want to go back to Meiringen, the starting point of the trek, the train ride takes about 3 hours, including connections. If you are traveling by car, a good idea might be traveling directly to Lenk, leaving your car there, and taking the train to Meiringer to start the trek. That way, you will have your car waiting for you at the end of your adventure.

Guided or self-guided Walking Holidays in Switzerland? 
There are plenty of options to go trekking in the Alps and Switzerland offers some of the most beautiful trails. All treks can be done self-guided or with a guide. However, most trails have been designed as self-guided routes. If it makes you feel safer, you can always hire a guide, but it is not necessary. The Bear Trek, like most other trails in Switzerland, is clearly marked and can be followed without a guide.

Safety

Safety

The Bear Trek 1 is a safe trek. However, over-demanding increases the risk of accidents and reduces pleasure. This applies to all trekking adventures, regardless of the destination. The mountain paths on the Bärentrek are partly steep, narrow, exposed, and require surefootedness. Make a realistic estimate of your current fitness level and take this into account when planning your hike. It is not advisable to undertake difficult routes alone.

The trail is very well signposted with yellow signs at crossings and with white-red-white markings on trees and rocks. The path is clearly marked and easy to follow. If you, however, need to ask for directions, there are several huts and restaurants on the way where you can stop, grab a bite, and ask for help.

COVID-19

Covid-19

The Corona pandemic has had its grip on us, and mountain huts in the Alpine region have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, the first relaxations in the Alps are noticeable, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some Covid restrictions that are worth mentioning:

- Don't go to the huts if you have symptoms!

- Not all mountain huts are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.

- To be on the safe side, always take a mouth mask with you.

- In some mountain huts it is still compulsory to bring your own sleeping bag, in others a sheet bag and pillowcase are sufficient. Your personal travel guide will tell you which rules apply to your route.

- Bring your own towel

How to Book

How to Book?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:

 There is availability 
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.

X There is no availability 
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.

Cancellation Policy
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.

Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via support@bookatrekking.com. We are happy to help you.

 

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