Via Alpina

National route No. 1, Griesalp–Kandersteg


National route
No. 1 (Griesalp–Kandersteg)
17 km
Ascent • Descent
↑ 1450 m • ↓ 1700 m
Lowest point • Highest point
1171 m • 2779 m
Hiking time
7 h 15 min
medium (mountain hiking trail)
Fitness level
The king’s stage over the 2778m-high Hohtürli. Rewarding detour to the Blümlisalphütte and eternal glacier ice. Down over moraine to beautiful, deep-blue Oeschinensee backed by steep cliffs; one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the Alps.
Stage 13, the crowning part of the Via Alpina across Hohtürli (2778 m), leads past impressive glacier ice and deep blue Lake Oeschinen to Kandersteg. Today’s tour starts at Griesalp. The area all the way back in the Kiental Valley belongs to the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschorn UNESCO World Heritage Site. On Europe’s steepest postbus route it takes about 45 minutes from Reichenbach via Kiental village to Griesalp. From the hotel with the same name the hiking trail leads into the beautiful mountain forest with mostly spruce growing at this altitude. After crossing the treeline you will reach the upper Bundalp in about 90 minutes. From this intermediary stop the trail continues to climb across beautiful meadows and seems to get steeper every minute. After the meadows the terrain becomes rocky at about 2400 m. When you arrive at “Uf der Wart” you will see the last hurdle before crossing the pass: The remaining approximately 300 altitude meters up steep steps near the forest to Hohtürli are sure to make your heart race. But now, after at least four hours hiking time a side trip to the phenomenal Blüemlisalp Hut is well deserved. The views of Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Schilthorn, Lake Thun, Niesen, Wildi Frau, Blüemlisalphorn and Blüemlisalp Glacier all the way to the Wildstrubel are incomparable. The rocky trail descends and offers a view of the Kandertal Valley. From above Rossbodensee the Blüemlisalp Glacier suddenly looks huge and magnificent. Lake Oeschinen appears for the first time at the Oberbärgli mountain hut. The deep blue lake is surrounded by 500 m cliffs, glaciers and centuries-old fir trees. This is where the mountain hikers meet up with tourists from around the world. Along Öschibach creek the last descent now follows to Kandersteg at the entrance to the Lötschberg tunnel. Depending on your level of fitness it may require some more willpower to get to the end of this long and physically challenging tour.


Height profile


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