The highest pass on the Alpine Pass route, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Swiss Alps and bird’s-eye views of a dramatic glacier are some of the scenic rewards of this steep, strenuous hike to Hohturli Pass from Kandersteg.
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- Distance: 9.8 miles (round trip) to Hohturli Pass
10.4 miles (round trip) to Bluemlisalp Hut
- Elevation: 5,530-ft. at Trailhead
9,114-ft. at Hohturli Pass
9,297-ft. at Bluemlisalp Hut
- Elevation Gain: 3,584-ft. to Hohturli Pass
3,767-ft. to Bluemlisalp Hut
- Difficulty: strenuous
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Kandersteg / Bernese Oberland
Why Hike Hohturli Pass
Many hikers visit Hohturli Pass, the highest pass on the Alpine Pass Route, when walking the challenging trail between Griesalp and Kandersteg. Hikers looking for a slightly easier trail to the pass can opt for this highly scenic out-and-back hike from Kandersteg to Hohturli.
After a quick gondola ride the trail follows an ascending traverse high above the north side of the Oeschinensee, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Swiss Alps. From the trail enjoy splendid views of the magnificent glacial cirque towering above the lake’s turquoise waters. After walking a little over 2.5 miles the trail reaches the small alp of Ober Bergli, perched at the foot of a hanging valley high above the northeast end of the lake.
From Ober Bergli the trail climbs steeply through rocky meadows, along the crest of an old moraine wall and then up very steep scree covered slopes to Hohturli Pass (9,114-ft/2,778-meters). The final push to the pass ascends wood steps up an extremely steep grade. Along the way the trail enjoys great views of the tongues of the Bluemlisalp glacier hanging from a ledge along the south side of the trail.
From the pass great views extend southwest to the peaks towering above the west side of Kandersteg. Sefinenfurgge Pass, the notch on the saddle between the Hundshorn and Butlasse, is visible to the east. To the north, fine views stretch down the length of the Kiental Valley and beyond to Lake Thun. Nearer at hand dazzling glaciers spill down the flanks of the Bluemlisalp massif to the south.
An optional side trip climbs from the pass to the Bluemlisalp Hut and an overlook beyond the hut with bird’s-eye views of the Bluemlisalp glacier and massif.
Be aware that this is a steep, strenuous hike gaining over 3,500-ft. in 4.9 miles. In my opinion the scenic rewards more than compensate for the effort. So pick a day with promising weather, get an early start and enjoy this beautiful hike to Hohturli Pass and the Bluemlisalp Hut.
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