Easy Hiking in Switzerland: First to Grosse Scheidegg

Swiss engineering amazes me at every turn. What vision they had even a century ago to make it possible for tourists, not just mountain climbers, to enjoy the high ground! The train that is known as the “BOB” (Berner Oberland Bahnen) dates to 1890, and thanks to Italian engineers, a train takes you to the Jungfraujoch at 11,371 feet above sea level.

The gondola to First.

Continuing our series on easy hiking in Switzerland, the trek from First to Grosse Scheidegg is magnificent. Usually, one would have to work much harder and deal with more people to have such stunning scenery. The adventure starts with a three-stage ride in the Grindelwald-First cable car, a 25-minute ride of more than 3 miles. Yes, another marvel of Swiss engineering. It is beautiful and it has been possible to take this ride since 1947. If all you have the energy to do is take the cable car, it is a worthy outing. But try to press on and you will be rewarded ten-fold!

Laurel, on-the-trail. We visited in October and it was still lovely!

From the top of the First lift, a super easy hike is to Bachalpsee. I’ll write about that trek another time. The hike to Grosse Scheidegg is only slightly more challenging and far less crowded.

Grosse Scheidegg is the pass between Grindelwald and Meiringen. A bus makes the trip, which is your easy-hiker return. More on that shortly. After your ascent, stop at the restaurant at the top of the gondola. We always start with a coffee and make use of the facilities. You can also watch the zip-liners on the “First Flyer” and take in the views from the First Cliff Walk.

These hikers consult a map, although the signs above their heads are really sufficient.

Heading out, follow the family-friendly Marmot Trail. We’ve not managed to see any of these critters here, but the whistles can sometimes be heard. Children, in particular, may enjoy the informational signs about Marmots. The wayfinding is excellent, so simply continue to follow signs to Grosse Scheidegg on a slightly undulating but generally downhill track wide enough for you to walk side-by-side. Enjoy views of the Schrekhorn, Wetterhorn and the mighty Eiger. Paragliders propel themselves off the cliffs and sail down to Grindelwald and provide delightful photo ops.

Paragliders – what a view!

After 5.2 kilometers, about 3 miles, you will reach the hotel at Grosse Scheidegg. (It is closed in winter.) From late May until late October,  the bus to Grindelwald will stop here. Simply pay the driver on board. This is your easy-hiker, 25-minute way back to town. Schedule here. Or you can hike back to First and take the lift down.

This hike took us about 1H 45M. We are not fast hikers and the downhill section through the Marmot Trail was a little slow. Hiking sticks and good sturdy shoes are highly recommended.

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