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Hiking in Gstaad, in the Berner Oberland
See Trip Planning - Gstaad for general information about this area.
Gstaad is the famous town, but the area is called Saanenland and goes along the valley from Zweisimmen to Saanen to Gstaad. Saanenland is surrounded by lower mountains with the huge mountains behind them and the glacier covered mountains further back. On a clear day from a high level hike, you can see the Eiger and the Jungfrau which tower over Grindelwald. The hikes are all on the close-in lower mountains or along the valley. We have hiked in many areas of Switzerland, and this area is our favorite. The hikes are not difficult, most are two to three hours long, and there is a huge variety to choose from. There are also longer and more difficult hikes in the area. The valley is beautiful with rivers that you can hike along and woods and open fields to hike through. The trails are well signed.
A free brochure from the tourist office shows all hikes and mountain rides in the area, with hiking times and transportation prices.
Mountain Rides Ticket
The hiking brochure that you get from the tourist office lists the most popular hikes in the area. When you start a hike, you can buy one ticket for all the transportation you will use that day (e.g. gondola up, bus back to town). This lets you pay just once and have one ticket to use for the day.
Mountain Ride Pass - Easy Access Pass
Hiking in Gstaad is less expensive than many other Berner Oberland mountain towns because the rides are not as expensive and you can get a 3 - 14 day Easy Access pass that gives you unlimited mountain rides and train and bus in the Saananland area (from Zweisimmen to Saanen to Gstaad). The pass is 33CHF for 3 days ($27), plus 11CHF for each extra day; get it from any of the area tourist offices or from your hotel. You can get the pass at the tourist office before you plan to use it, but you must tell them the dates you want (must be consecutive). Get a pass for the days that you plan to use one or more mountain rides and you will save money.
Note, these are only available to people staying in the region. You must should your tourist pass to purchase the Easy Access pass. Read more on the Gstaad Tourist website.
There are six high altitude hiking areas in Saananland. Many of these areas have restaurants (they are marked on the hiking map).
From Gstaad: Gondolas Wispile
From Schonried: Chairlift Horneggli and gondola Rellerli
from Zweisimmen: Gondola Rinderberg and bus Sparenmoos
There are two valleys accessed by bus.
From Gstaad: Gsteig valley
From Gstaad: Lauenen valley
There are miles of low level walking trails connecting the towns in the valley, from Rougemont to Saanen to Gstaad to Schonried to Saanenmooser. You can also walk up the Gsteig and Lauenen valleys and take buses back. There are other valleys to walk up with no transport back.
There are enough easy walks (2 - 4 hours) to last for over three weeks.
From Gstaad: Wispile (gondola)
From Gstaad. Good long gondola ride. You can trotti from here (from the middle station). The restaurant at the top station is not great. The two main hikes have a nice one hour walk back into the mountains followed by another hour of very steep downhill (to Gsteig or to Lauenen). Not recommended for your first hikes in the area because there is such a strain on your knees going downhill.
The first sign shows the hikes from the top of the Wispile gondola. One day we did the 2hr 15min hike to Gsteig, but took a wrong turn and ended up doing a long route to Feutersoey, then took the bus back to Gstaad. Another day we did the 2hr 10min hike to Lauenen and took the bus back to Gstaad.
The next sign is from part way along on the hike, before Krinnenpass where the route splits one way for Gsteig, the other for Lauenen.
From Gstaad: Eggli (gondola)
Note: In 2007 the Eggli gondola was closed in summer. You can still do these hikes, but you must start by walking up to Eggli. I am not sure if the restaurant is open. Trotti are no longer available.
From Gstaad. You can hike to highlevel places from here, but the one easy hike back to Saanen is one hour back into the mountains followed by another hour of downhill, most on paved road (unused).
This sign shows the hikes from the top of the Eggli gondala. We did the 1hr 20 min walk to Kalberhoni, then down to Saanen from there (another 1hr). Another good hike would be from Videmanette (the gondola from Rougmont) to Eggli.
From Gstaad: Gsteig Valley
Long valley from Gstaad up to Feutersoey to Gsteig. We walked from Saanen to Gstaad (30min) then to Gsteig (2hr 30min) then took the bus back to Gstaad. An easy mostly flat walk.
Another good hike from this area would be to get the bus from Feutersoey to Arnensee (only runs a few times a day), then hike back to Feutersoey or Gsteig.
From Schonried: Rellerli (gondola)
Long gondola ride with a scary inbetween bit like a rollarcoaster where it changes direction. Beautiful views. Many hikes.
We did the 2hr 50min hike to Sparenmoos and took a bus from there to Zweisimmen, then the train back to Schonreid. This hike is across the mountains (some up and down) to Sparenmoos at the other end. This would be an excellent first hike. Be sure to do it in good weather because the views are extraordinary.
From Schonried: Horneggli (chairlift)
Short chairlift ride. Restaurant at the top, but if you walk for 30 minutes you get to several good looking restaurants at Hornberg.
We did the 1hr 50min (plus the 30 minutes to get from the gondola to this intersection) hike to Rinderberg, where we got a gondola down to Zweisimmen, then the train back to Schonried. Incredible views, easy walk for the first half, quite a bit of uphill for the second half.
From Zweisimmen: Rinderberg (gondola)
Long gondola. Restaurant at the top. You can do a long hike to Lenk or hike along the mountains to Horneggli. We hiked to here from Horneggli.
On our summer 2003 visit, you could rent Trotti from both gondolas in Gstaad (Eggli and Wispile). In 2007 we saw Trotti at the Wispile gondola and at Sparenmoos. Trotti are a scooter for adults that you rent at a gondola station, usually part way up the mountain, where you can ride back down on paved roads. You return them at the lower station.
In 2003, it cost 15 CHF to rent them. It was all very casual; you handed over the money, he handed you a helmet and pointed at the scooters, then at the sign you had to follow. The signs take you down a paved road to the valley and then you follow the signs back to the bottom gondola station where you return them.
www.gstaad.ch: Gstaad Tourist Office. Travel information for the area and accommodations bookings.
www.mygstaad.com: MyGstaad, links for Gstaad
www.skigstaad.ch: Ski Gstaad, you wouldn't guess it from the name, but this site has a good hiking map and hiking information
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