If you are looking for a short but sweet hike in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland, the Eiger Trail is a great one to consider. This point-to-point hike follows the north face of the Eiger mountain. Along the way, you get jaw-dropping views across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Mürren and also down to Grindelwald.
This was one of our favorite hikes in the region. The views are unbeatable, it is mostly a downhill walk so you don’t have to be super fit to hike this trail, and it can be easily added onto a visit to Jungfraujoch or Kleine Scheidegg.
And did I mention that the views are spectacular?! 🙂
One of the most confusing things, at least for me, was figuring out how to get around the Bernese Oberland. In this article, not only will I tell you what to expect on the trail, but how to get around by train.
Here we go!
Facts About the Eiger Trail
Distance: 7.25 km (4.5 miles) point-to-point
Elevation Change: 140 meters up, 800 meters down
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours
When to go: Late June through October
If you read other articles about the Eiger Trail, the distance is consistently listed as 6 km (3.75 miles). Our Garmin GPS said this hike was 7.25 km, from train station to train station. The extra distance could have come from the change in the start of the hike due to construction at Eigergletscher or interference from the mountains. However, this hike felt longer than 6 km, so I believe our GPS was relatively accurate.
Background Information on the Eiger
Eiger is one of three main peaks in the Bernese Oberland. Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau form a trio of mountains that dominate the landscape. Jungfrau, at 4,158 meters, is the tallest of the three but Eiger, at 3,967 meters, is a popular rock climbing destination.
The North Face of the Eiger was first climbed in 1938 by an Austrian-German climbing team. Since this time, 60 others have lost their lives attempting to climb Eiger.
Hiking the Eiger Trail is a great way to get up close with this massive mountain, without risking your life.
How to Get to the Eiger Trail
The Eiger Trail is located in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland.
This is a point-to-point hike, starting at Eigergletscher (Eiger Glacier Station) and ending in Alpiglen. If you do the hike in this direction, it is a mostly downhill walk. Of course, you can start in Alpiglen and walk uphill to Eigergletscher, but if you do so, add another 30 to 45 minutes onto our time estimate since you will be moving at a slighty slower pace.
To do this hike, you will take a train to Eigergletscher station, the starting point of this hike. Then, at the end of the hike, take a second train from Alpiglen to your starting point in the Bernese Oberland.
Below is a trail and train map of the area. I highlighted the key towns (Kleine Scheidegg, Eigergletscher, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen). The Eiger Trail is the red hiking trail labeled #36. Trains and cable cars are the black lines. Hiking trails are the red lines.
Here is a zoomed-in version of the above map. I highlighted the hiking trail blue.
How to get to Eigergletscher
Eigergletscher station is located between Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch. To get here you will first have to take a train to Kleine Scheidegg.
Getting to Kleine Scheidegg
Trains arrive at Kleine Scheidegg from Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen (via Wengen), and Grindelwald.
From Interlaken, you will travel by train to Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. Then, you will transfer to a second train to Kleine Scheidegg.
Here are estimated train travel times and fares:
- Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen: 21 minutes, 2 per hour, 7.60 CHF one way
- Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald Grund: 43 minutes, 2 per hour, 11.20 CHF one way
- Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg: 43 minutes, 2 per hour, 30.80 CHF one way
- Grindelwald Grund to Kleine Scheidegg: 24 minutes, 2 per hour, 31 CHF one way
If you are coming from Interlaken, time wise it makes no difference to go through Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. But it is slightly cheaper to go through Grindelwald.
Kleine Scheidegg station and the Jungfraubahn, the train that goes to Eigergletscher and Jungfraujoch.
Getting to Eigergletscher
From Kleine Scheidegg, it’s a quick train ride to Eigergletscher. It takes just 6 minutes, there are 2 trains per hour, and costs 8 CHF one way. The train does not stop here long, since the majority of people are continuing on to Jungfraujoch, so be prepared to get off when the train makes its brief stop.
What We Did
We did this hike in early July.
We started the day with a visit to Jungfraujoch. Since we had the Swiss Travel Pass, we got 25% off of the fare to Jungfraujoch.
We took the first train of the day up to Jungfraujoch and spent the morning here. After having lunch at Jungfraujoch, we took the train back towards Kleine Scheidegg. We got off at Eigergletscher, hiked to Alpiglen, and took the train back to Kleine Scheidegg.
The Eiger Trail
Currently, the start of the hiking trail is being diverted due to construction work at Eigergletscher Station. A V-Cableway is being built and this is expected to last until December 2020.
However, the trail is very well marked and easy to follow. At the station, look for the bright yellow-orange trail signs or the large signs that direct you to the temporary access to the Eiger Trail.
The trail sign at the trailhead states that it takes 2 hours to hike this trail if you start at Eigergletscher. We typically hike much faster than most estimates. However, it took us 2.5 hours, simply because we stopped so frequently to take photos and enjoy the views.
This place really amazed us.
The first views, just meters away from the Eigergletscher station, are incredible. This is where you can look across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Mürren. Looming over you are Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. On a crystal clear day these views are unbelievable.
View from Eigergletscher Station
Jungfraubahn arriving at the station
Great place for a family photo
View across Lauterbrunnen valley to Mürren and Schilthorn
The trail quickly makes a turn back towards Eiger. For most of the hike, you will hike downhill towards Grindelwald. To your right you will overlook Kleine Scheidegg.
Overlooking Kleine Scheidegg
For most of the way, the trail slowly heads downhill without much deviation. To your right is Eiger. In front of you is Grindelwald. Even though the views don’t change a whole lot, there is still something very thrilling about this hike, especially on a clear day like we had.
Here is a journey down the trail in photos.
Even in early July, there was still snow on the trail.
The turn-off for the via ferrata on the north face of Eiger. If you are interested, learn more here.
A view of Grindelwald.
Alpiglen, Grindelwald, and a view of the trail as it switchbacks down to Alpiglen.
Just before the trail makes a turn towards Alpiglen, you will arrive at this waterfall.
Then the trail zig-zags its way to Alpiglen. This is the toughest part of the hike, since the trail is rather steep here. If you have hiking poles, this is the perfect place to use them.
The trail ends in Alpiglen. There is a small restaurant here, if you need food or drinks or just to take a break before moving on.
From Alpiglen, you can either take the train to Kleine Scheidegg (12 minutes) and onto Lauterbrunnen (50 minutes) or you can go directly to Grindelwald (18 minutes).
What to Bring on the Hike
Hiking shoes. Waterproof hiking shoes are ideal, especially if you are hiking in late June into July or October, when there could be snow on the ground. However, you can get by with a good pair of walking shoes in the late summer if conditions are dry.
Hiking Poles. These are nice to have, especially at the very end of the hike, when the trail becomes a steep, downhill walk that makes the knees ache.
Food and water. There is no food or water along the trail. However, there is a restaurant in Eigergletscher and Alpiglen.
Sunscreen. There is very little shade on the trail.
If you are planning to do this hike and have questions, feel free to comment below!
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