Mannlichen to Wengen

Distance: 10.8 miles (one way)

near Grindelwald in Bernese Oberland

Introduction

The big three, the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, from the overlook

Jaw dropping views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau top the list of scenic highlights on this terrific hike between Grindelwald and Wengen. From the top of the gondola at Mannlichen, the route follows a popular trail descending to Klein Scheidegg with panoramic views of the high peaks, including the Wetterhorn, Streckhorn and the Eiger, towering above the emerald green meadows of Grindelwald.

Beyond Kleine Scheidegg the trail travels to a pretty lake nestled beneath the Eiger’s massive north wall and then climbs to an overlook atop a moraine with magnificent views of the Eiger Glacier spilling down the rugged slopes between the Eiger and the Monch. The trail then turns northwest, descending a valley through lovely meadows with breathtaking views of the glacier clad slopes of the Monch and the Jungfrau. On warm summer afternoons lucky hikers may see icefalls crashing down the rugged cliffs.

As you descend the valley, views open to the Bietenhorn and Schilthorn towering above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. To the south the Gspaltenhorn, rising above the Sefinental Valley, and the Breithorn, at the head of the Lauterbrunnen valley, dominate the view. At the foot of the valley the trail turns north on a long descending traverse to Wengen, where trains head down to Lauterbrunnen and a cable car ascends to Mannlichen.

Walking from village to village is one of the joys of hiking in Switzerland. This trail is a good option is you would like to walk from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen, or vis-versa.

Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

View of the Monch and the Jungfrau

Distance from Trailhead: 2.9 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 7,313-ft.

Elevation Gain: -551-ft.

This trail starts by taking a gondola to Mannlichen (7,313-ft/2,229-meters), a small alp is situated on a scenic ridge separating the Lutschental (Grindelwald’s valley) and Lauterbrunnental (Lauterbrunnen’s valley). (See directions to lift below.) Overlooks near the lifts on the west side of the ridge enjoy great views up the length of the Lauterbrunnen valley to the Jungfrau, Breithorn and Tshcingelhorn along with the peaks lining the Sefinental valley. The Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, Eiger and Monch dominate the skyline on the eastern side of the lift stations.

Outside the exit of the lift station signs point toward Kleine Scheidegg aka the Hohenweg 2100m (1h 30min). Follow the broad gravel trail as it heads southeast through meadows on an easy descending traverse along the base of Mt. Tschuggen (8,270-ft/2,521-meters). In route enjoy wonderful views of the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and the massive north wall of the Eiger tower above the Grindelwald valley to the southeast.

At 1.5 miles the trail curves to the left (south) to circumvent a ridge extending southeast from Mt. Tschuggen. Soon the trail curves to the right (southwest) as it travels along the southern base of Tschuggen, crossing under the Honegg chairlift along the way. Ahead are views of the rugged eastern wall of the Lauberhorn. To the south the Monch and Jungfrau form a beautiful backdrop to the trail descending to Kleine Scheidegg.

Cross the creek draining the slopes between Mt. Tschuggen and the Lauberhorn (8,110-ft /2,472-meters) at 2.1 miles. Beyond the creek the trail turns to the left, heading southeast and then south along the base of the Lauberhorn. Ignore the trail branching to the right and climbing toward to Lauberhorn at 2.5 miles. Continue straight ahead toward Kleine Scheidegg.

On a clear day the views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from this segment of the trail are nothing short of spectacular. Look carefully to see the Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe, housed in a gleaming silver building on the saddle between the Jungfrau and the Monch.

Not far beyond the junction reach Rotstockli (2,110-meters), a scenic overlook with terrific views of the Eiger’s north wall towering overhead. From here the trail drops down moderate grades to Kleine Scheidegg (6,762-ft/2,061-meters) on a saddle between the Lauberhorn and the Eiger, at 2.9 miles.

The railway station at Kleine Scheidegg connects trains going between Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen with trains headed for the Jungfraujoch, a line that partially runs through tunnels dug through the mountains. The Jungfraujoch (11,371-ft/3,466-meters), or “Top of Europe”, is an extremely popular destination with several panoramic restaurants and overlooks. As a result the area around Kleine Scheidegg, including the restaurants, souvenir shops and bathrooms, are often quite crowded with hordes of tourists.

Kleine Scheidegg to Eiger Glacier Viewpoint

Looking up at the Jungfrau on the trail to the Eiger Glacier

Distance from Trailhead: 4.3 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 7,250-ft.

Elevation Gain: 488-ft.

From Kleine Scheidegg there are a number of routes to Wengen. The shortest and least scenic descends along the rail line to Wengen. A quick look at a map will show you a variety of possibilities.

My preferred route is a longer and quite scenic route that visits the Eiger Glacier before descending to the beautiful alps of Biglenalp and Mettlenalp. The route then swings to the north, heading to Wengen. Terrific views of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and the high peaks towering above the Sefinental and Lauterbrunnen valleys are your constant companion along much of the trail.

When you are done exploring the Kleine Scheidegg area cross to the south side of the rail tracks and locate the trail signs near the base of the steps climbing to an old hotel complex. Follow the signs pointing to the Eigergletcher (Eiger Glacier) that direct you to climb the stairs and the turn right, following a broad track ascending on moderate grades above the left (east) side of the train tracks for the Jungfraujoch.

Reach the Fallbodensee, a pretty little lake, at 3.5 miles. On a still day the mirror-like surface of the lake is a photographer’s dream with beautiful reflections of the Wetterhorn and Eiger. On the south side of the lake a small building houses an interesting exhibit showing the various routes climbing the Eiger’s north wall. It’s definitely worth a stop.

At the southeast end of the lake the trail turns right (south) and drops down a gravel track passing through a culvert going under the train tracks. Beyond the culvert the trail resumes its moderate climb, heading south/southwest toward the moraine of the Eigergletcher. At 4.0 miles the trail curves to the left (southeast) as it drops into a small bowl and then climbs to an overlook atop the moraine, with great views of the glacier tumbling down the rugged slopes between the Eiger and the Monch at 4.25 miles.

Eiger Glacier Viewpoint to Wengen

Looking back toward the Eiger, Eiger Glacier and the Monch

Distance from Trailhead: 10.8 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 4,190-ft.

Elevation Gain: -3,060-ft.

Signs atop the moraine point left (northeast) toward the Eigergletcher train station and right (southwest) to Biglenalp , Mettlenalp and Wengen. After viewing the glacier, turn right and descend the steep, narrow trail running along the crest of the moraine. Keep an eye out for a small herd of chamoix that graze along the slopes of the moraine wall.

At 4.4 miles, where continued travel along the top of the moraine is no longer safe, the trail turns right (west), drops off the moraine wall and descends steeply through pretty meadows. The Monch and the Jungfrau tower overhead. To the west views extend to the peaks rising above the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Turn left toward Biglenalp (35min) and Wengen (2h 20min) upon reaching a junction at Haaregg (6,529-ft/1,990-meters) at 4.8 miles. The trail to the right heads toward Wixi and Wengernalp, a stop on the train going to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen.

The trail now descends southwest on moderately steep grades along the top of an old moraine. As you descend, the meadows give way to low-lying shrubs and small conifers. At 5.3 miles reach an intersection with a trail branching right toward Wengernalp. We turn left on the Bergwanderweg that drops down switchbacks to a trail junction at Weisse Fluh (6,020-ft/1,835-meters) at 5.5 miles. Here we turn left, descending south/southeast toward Biglenalp (15min) Mettlenalp (50min) and Wengen (2h). The trail to the right leads to the Wengernalp train station.

Follow the root-covered trail as it drops through trees on moderate to moderately-steep grades toward the valley floor. Soon the trees give way to beautiful meadows beneath the Jungfrau. A short descent leads to Biglenalp at 6.0 miles, situated alongside a pretty stream. The meadows around Biglenalp enjoy gorgeous views of Eiger, the Monch and the Eiger Glacier. The Jungfrau looms overhead. Across the valley, waterfalls cascade down clefts in the rugged walls along the base of the Jungfrau. This is a great spot for a picnic or to take a break.

Don’t cross any of the bridges at Biglenalp, instead turn right and descend along the right (north) side of the stream. Soon the trail curves right (west/northwest) away from the stream, traveling through meadows and clusters of trees.

At 6.6 miles the trail begins an easy ascending traverse that ends at a junction with a gravel road at Mettlenalp (5,660-ft/1,725-meters) at 7.2 miles. Continue straight ahead on the gravel road in the direction of Stalden (15min) and Wengen (1h 20min). The road descends on easy grades through open pastures, passing a few farm buildings along the way. This section of the trail enjoys excellent views of the glaciers cascading down the slopes of the Monch and the Jungfrau. On a warm summer afternoon lucky hikers may see an icefall crashing down the rugged cliff.

Take a detour along the narrow trail branching left at 7.6 miles, which leads to a scenic overlook with breathtaking views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. To the west the Bietenhorn and Schilthorn fill the skyline above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. To the south the Gspaltenhorn, rising above the Sefinental Valley, and the Breithorn, at the head of the Lauterbrunnen valley, dominate the view.

Beyond the overlook follow the signs pointing toward Wengen. The road soon enters the trees as it swings to the right (north/northeast) and climbs over a low hill. Here you get your first distant views of Wengen, nestle in a bowl beneath the west flanks of the ridge separating the Lutschental and Lauterbrunnental. Look carefully along the top of ridge to see the top of the cable car station at Mannlichen.

The trail now starts a long descending traverse on moderate grades, heading northeast toward Wengen. Ignore any trails branching off the left toward Lauterbrunnen. Along the way, pass through Lagentrejen, Hannegg and Allmend before the final descent to Wengen. Near Wengen the gravel track turns to a paved road and soon passes under the rail line. Turn left (west) at the next intersection, following the road to the Wengen Bahnhoff (train station) at 10.8 miles. Here trains descend to Lauterbrunnen or go up to and over Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald. Alternatively you can take the cable car from Wengen back to Mannlichen and then the gondola from Mannlichen down to Grindelwald.

Hike Facts

 

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Mannlichen to Wengen

 

 

Driving Directions

From the Grindelwald Bahnhoff to Mannlichen: From the Grindelwald train station (bahnhoff), walk a short distance to the east along the main street to the main bus stop and catch a bus to Mannlichen. Alternatively, from the train station follow the yellow signs pointing to the Mannlichen lift station, which is to the northwest of the Grund Station for Kleine Scheedegg. The walk descends the hillsides to the south/southwest of the train station, using a combination of walkways and roads to reach the large carpark for the lift. The lift is located at the northwest end of the car park. Allocate about 20 minutes for the 0.9 mile walk. The ride up the world’s longest passenger-carrying gondola takes about 30 minutes and is quite scenic.

From Lauterbrunnen to Mannlichen: From the train station in Lauterbrunnen, catch the cog railway heading toward Wengen/Kleine Scheidegg. The ride to Wengen takes about 14 minutes. Get off the trail in Wengen, walk behind the train station to Dorfstrasse (the main street) and head northwest along the street for a short distance. Soon you will see signs pointing right along a road that passes the main tourism office on its way to the lift station. The cable car ride, which climbs over 3,000-ft., takes about 5 minutes. Keep an eye out for chamoix grazing on the grassy slopes beneath the cableway.

From Wengen to Mannlichen: In Wengen the bottom of the cable car station is located to the north/northeast of the train station (bahnhoff). Walk behind the train station to Dorfstrasse (the main street) and head northwest along the street for a short distance. Soon you will see signs pointing right along a road that passes the main tourism office on its way to the lift station. The cable car ride, which climbs over 3,000-ft., takes about 5 minutes. Keep an eye out for chamoix grazing on the grassy slopes beneath the cableway.

 

Trail Resources