Meiringen - Grindelwald
Distance: 21 Km
Today is long and at times grueling, but the dramatic scenery, serenading cowbells, and friendly people will imprint lasting memories. The first 1 1/2 hours out of town can be steep at times however the gradient eases when you get to Kaltenbrunnen. Staring out of Meiringen (595 meters), walk south towards the Hotel Tourist then turn right in between a house and barn passing several houses and following a dirt/grass trail that passes over a minor road and to Schwendi, about 45 minutes from your starting point. Continue along the road for a few minutes and take the way-marked path to the right entering the forest on a partially paved rough path to Gasthaus Zwirgi. From here the trail leaves the road to the left heading through beautiful forest before coming to the road and a post bus stop next to Berggasthof Kaltenbrunnen with lovely rustic rooms and a restaurant, about 1 1/2 hour from your starting point. Take the red/white blazed path just above the Berggasthof as the road sharply turns left. On the path you walk along the Rychenbach stream, a tiny section or road, and then back on the path to Schwarzwaldalp. A few minutes later you walk along the left side of a stream past the incredible gathering of farm houses & a large converted farm house that now serves as a lodge/restaurant at Gschwantenmad. The view from this point is one of the most memorable on the trail (1st picture in slideshow) of the Engelhorner & Wetterhorn rising from the valley like mighty gods. Keep to the left of the stream and pass the large Victorian style Hotel Rosenlaui, taking a left crossing a small bridge then turning right passing Hotel-Chalet Schwarzwaldalp. You will be hiking on the path for another 1 1/2-2 hours crossing brief forested sections eventually climbing to the right, then turning left and going straight crisscrossing the road that eventually leads to the Grosse Scheidegg (1962 meters). Here you will find more tourists transported by bus, a large hotel with a restaurant and various refreshment stands. ***Note: Make sure to fill up your water bottles and by extra water for the next leg as there are really no facilities until you reach Grindewald. Leaving the Rsenlaui valley, following yellow signs you enter the Grindewald valley. Take a look around to admire the tremendous Eiger & Bernese Oberland mountains ahead. The path descends steeply at times but is quite well marked by yellow signs and red/white blazes. The pastureland, dairy farms, and roaming cattle with a Swiss Mountain backdrop feels like you are traveling back in time. It's simply astounding (see 7:13 minutes into the video). Continue on the trail, which intersects with dirt tire tracks/dirt road past large grassy mountains walking past farm houses until you come to a rather steep paved road. Continue downward for another 30 minutes following the path and a road until you reach the outskirts of Grindelwald (1034 meters), about 20 minutes from the center of town. You can either follow the way marked paved path or the road but both will lead you into the famous town.