Key information: Eiger Trail
- Short, medium-level hike through some of Switzerland's most iconic scenery.
- Hike through the glorious high alpine pasture and lakeland scenery of the Grindelwald, pass a wonderful waterfall and come within touching distance of the Eiger's iconic north wall.
- Easy public transport to both trailheads from Grindelwald make this stunning walk an easy excursion; hardier walkers have many options to extend.
Walkopedia rating(Top 100)
- Walkopedia rating89
- Natural interest16
- Human interest8
- Negative points2
- Total rating89
- Note: Neg: popularity.
- Length: 6km
- Maximum Altitude: 2,220m
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The Eiger, a sheer limestone buttress protruding from the Munch, is one of the most-coveted icons for mountaineers. Its forbidding north face, hanging over the high pastures of the beautiful Bernese Oberland, strikes awe into anyone who sees it. Within, but not geologically part of the Alps, it draws climbers from all over the world and its magnificent snow-capped presence has inspired books, films and imagination for generations.
The Eiger Trail, part of Switzerland's impressive footpath system, allows the unequipped to walk the six kilometers between the Alpine stations of Eigerglestcher and Alpiglen and gaze up at this looming monolith, and the equally spectacular Munch and Jungfrau, at close quarters. A relatively easy (easier starting from Eigergletscher) trail, it can be extended at either end by walking up to Eigergletscher from Kleine Scheidegg (5km) or extending on from Alpiglen to Grunewald (6km).
The high pastures of the Grindelwald, are exquisitely beautiful; both peaceful and foreboding, examples of the human ability to tame even the most demanding landscapes. Great fields of scree, darkly overshadowed by the sinister rock-face - you may well be able to make out groups of lunatics making their way up its unforgiving wastes - give way to swathes of gentian-dotted green echoing with the ring of cowbells, a stunning waterfall, lakes and occasional isolated dwellings, and, even in Summer, surprisingly common snowfields.
Halfway along, the trail leads through a field of small cairns; a surprisingly moving memorial to the many individuals who have tried and failed to conquer this iconic rock-slab.
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Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
The Bernese Alps: A Walking Guide (CiceroneMountain Walking)– Kev Reynolds /Cicerone
Tour of the Jungfrau Region: A Two-week Trek in the Bernese Oberland – (Cicerone Guide)Kev Reynolds/Cicerone
Bernese Oberland (Alpine Club Guides) – Les Swindin/Alpine Club
Bernese Oberland East - Interlaken, Grindelwald, Meiringen – Daniel Anker/Rother
Walking in the Alps (Lonely Planet) – Gareth McCormack,Sandra Bardwell,Grant Dixon / Lonely Planet
Walking in the Alps: A Comprehensive Guide to Walking and Trekking Throughout the Alps – Kev Reynolds / Cicerone
Lonely Planet Switzerland – Nicola Williams, Kerry Walker/ Lonely Planet – good general guidebook will at least let you know what you’re looking at along the way.
Switzerland without a car – Anthony Lambert/ Bradt travel guides – Swtizerland’s public transport is second-to-none; this reliable guide will help you navigate to just about anywhere.
Central Switzerland: A Walking Guide – Kev Reynolds / Cicerone – not specific to the Jakobsweg, but the most useful English-language walking guide to the area
The Rough Guide to Switzerland – Matthew Teller/ Rough Guides
Michelin Guide Switzerland – Lura Seavey, Alison Coupe/ Michelin – with lots of maps, of course.
Maps can easily be bought locally.
An online map of the route can be found here
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk.An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Late June-early October; weather most stable in August.
These are high mountains, and weather is changeable at all times of year. Because much of the track is overshadowed by the mountain, it often runs through snow, even in June, and thunderstorms are common, especially in July. Come prepared.
Eigergletscher (1hr) and Apiglen (20mins) stations from Grindelwald, which connects to Kleine Scheidegg and stations beyond. Swiss Railways timetable here.
No permits are needed to do this walk.
At Eigergletscher station, follow the splendid yellow signs marked “Eiger Trail – Alpiglen 2h”. The route begins by hugging the foot of the Eiger through a monumental scree field – the path itself is stable but make sure to stick to it. With the north-facing cliff towering above, don’t be surprised to find yourself in a snowfield, even in early Summer. After a small climb 25 minutes in, the trail descends consistently through scree fields and Alpine pasture, passing, about 3km in, through a collection of small stone cairns memorializing the victims of the unforgiving Eiger’s unwillingness to be climbed. It then crosses a series of narrow gullies, passing waterfalls whose spate depends on the state of recent snow-melt, until it reaches a really spectacular torrent. Here, the trail switches to the left for another kilometer or so of up-and-down to Alpiglen.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Mountain weather: snow, rain, severe cold and wind are possible at almost any time of year. Come prepared.
- Heat and strong sun. Though much of the route is in shadow, there are open section where the sun can be strong. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
- Heights and scree: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights. Stick to the path.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
You can do this walk independently.
This walk can be done as part of greater walking holidays. Organisers include:
- Wilderness Travel
- Sherpa Expeditions
- Pure Adventures
- Alpine Hikers
- World Walks
The guidebooks have a selection of possible accommodation.
Click here for a list of budget accommodation in Grindelwald at Hostelbookers.com
There are various accommodation websites. Search Bernese Oberland accommodation or try:
Other information and tips
Although this is a well-made path, proper footwear is a good idea as stretches pass through scree fields.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
- Wanderland Eiger Trail page
- Wandersite Eiger Trail page
- Some nice photos here
- Swiss Tourist board guide
- Nice blog here
- Everything you could want to know about the Eiger on Wikipedia
- Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Many. Try sections of the Jakobsweg.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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