Murren to Griesalp via the Sefinenfurgge

Distance: 10.4 miles (one way)

near Lauterbrunnen in Bernese Oberland

Introduction

Great views of theWestterhorn, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau

The trail over the Sefinenfurgge, the second highest pass on the Alpine Pass Route, traverses beautiful meadows with breathtaking views of the high peaks towering above the Lauterbrunnental, Sefinental and Kiental valleys.

After a walk through Murren, set on a sunny shelf high above Lauterbrunnen, the trail ascends through pastures and past small farms on the outskirts of the resort. Great views of the big three, the Eiger, Monch and Junfrau, are your constant companion. After a short, steep climb up the head of the Wasenegg ridge, the trail enters the Sefinental where an overlook showcases the Tschingelspitz, Gspalterhorn and Butlasse towering above the head of the valley.

A beautiful trail now contours through pastures along the valley’s north slopes to Rotstock Hut. Beyond the hut a steep trail ascends pretty meadows and then scree covered slopes to the Sefinenfurrge Pass (8,570-ft.), a small notch on a knife-edge ridge. Here enjoy your last views of the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. To the west new vistas open to the Armighorn and Dundenhorn rising above the west side of the Kiental. Looking south the Bluemlisalp massif rises above a low ridge.

A very steep trail, with the initial section dropping down wood steps with rope handholds, descends to rocky meadows and then drops steeply down to the Kiental Valley floor. Along the way enjoy great views of the Gspaltenhorn, Morgenhorn and Bluemlisalp massif at the head of the valley. An easy trail now travels along the valley floor, passing through small hamlets on its way to Greisalp, a small village with accommodations and a few restaurants.

Be forewarned that the trails on either side of the pass are quite steep. Be especially careful descending the wood stairs dropping down the west side of the pass. The stairs are extremely slick if wet or covered with snow or ice. If in doubt, turn around.

Please note: There are limited accommodations in Griesalp. I strongly recommend making reservations ahead of time during the peak summer hiking season.

Murren to the Sefinenfurgge

Views of the peaks lining the north side of the Sefinental

Distance from Trailhead: 6.0 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 8,570-ft.

Elevation Gain: 3,190-ft.

Note: If starting from the Murren mid-station on the Schilthornbahn, subtract 0.6 miles from the trail distances in this description. (See directions to the start of the hike below.)

From the Murren train station at the north end of village, walk south along the paved road through the center of the resort in the direction of the Schilthornbahn (15min) Rotstockhutte (2h 20min), Sefinenfurgge (4h) and Griesalp (6h 20 min). The Eiger, Monch and the top of the Jungfau dominate the view across the valley to the east.

At 0.6 miles pass the mid station for the Schilthornbahn in Murren. Just beyond the station signs pointing to a road heading west/southwest toward Spielboden, Rotstockhutte, Sefinenfurgge and Griesalp. Follow the paved track as it ascends on moderate grade through pastures and past small farms.

At 1.4 miles pass a trail branching left (southeast), which drops to Gimmelwald and Stechelberg. A short distance beyond ignore the trail branching right (northwest) toward Blumental, Allmendhubel and the Schilthorn. Views now open to the peaks rising above the Sefinental (Sefinen Valley) to the southwest. Birg and the Shilthorn dominate the view to the northwest.

Turn left on a trail signed for Spielboden, Sefinenfurgge and Griesalp at 1.7 miles. The trail drops steeply down the hillside, crosses a bridge over the Schilthornbach (Schilthorn stream) and then skirts the north side of the restaurant at Spielbodenalp (5,882-ft/1,793-meters). In front of the restaurant, signs point to a trail heading left (southeast) to Grimmelwald and Murren. We continue along the narrow trail branching right (south/southwest) toward Sefinenfurgge and Griesalp.

At 2.0 miles the trail turns northwest and ascends steep, tight switchbacks up the end of the Wasenegg ridge. Reach the top of the switchbacks after gaining over 600-ft. The trail now curves around the head of the ridge and enters the Sefinental. From an overlook at 2.4 miles enjoy terrific views of the Gspaltenhorn, Tschingelspitz and Butlasse towering above the Sefinental. The Monch, Eiger, and Wetterhorn dominate the view to the east while the Grosshorn and Breithorn rise above the head of the Lauterbrunnen valley to the southeast.

Past the viewpoint reach a junction with a trail branching right (north) that climbs steeply to the Bryndi viewpoint at the top of the ridge. Continue straight ahead (west) on the main trail, contouring along the grassy slopes on the north side of the valley. Views soon open to Sefinenfurgge Pass, the saddle on the ridge at the head of the valley.

Pass a trail on the left (southwest) at 2.7 miles, dropping down to Oberberg and Gimmelwald. We stay on the main trail high above the valley floor, which wanders through pretty pastures with wonderful, bird’s-eye views of the cirque formed by Tschingelspitz, the Gspaltenhorn and Butlasse along the southwest side of the valley. An interesting horn rises at the end of a ridge jutting into the valley. The Schilthorn towers above the high meadows to the northwest. Behind you are terrific views of the peaks lining the east wall of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Reach Oberlager (6,729-ft/2,051-meters) at 3.5 miles. Here a trail branches right (northeast) toward Schiltalp and Murren. We continue straight ahead, contouring around a minor ridge and then descending on easy grades toward Rotstockhutte now visible, along with the nearby alp buildings, on a grassy knoll.

Near the hut the trail curves to the southwest, crosses a stream and soon reaches a junction at Boganggenalp / Rotstockhutte (6,690-ft/2,039-meters) at 4.1 miles. Here a trail branches left (southeast) toward Stechelberg and Gimmelwald.

Cross two more streams and then climb to a junction at 4.2 miles with a trail branching left to the hut, which offers refreshments and accommodations. Our trail to Sefinenfurgge and Griesalp curves to the right (left), climbing through rocky pastures on moderate grades. The Schilthorn towers overhead to the north. Red and white stakes and blazed rocks help keep you on track.

At 4.5 miles pass a trail branching right (north) toward Rote Hard and the Schilthorn. Our trail curves to the southwest and climbs very steep grades up rocky meadows. As you climb, turn around for splendid views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, along with the peaks rising above the east side of the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Pass a second junction with a trail branching right (northeast) to Rote Hard and the Schilthorn at 5.0 miles. Just beyond the junction the grade eases as the trail enters a pretty hanging valley, bound to the south by the low ridge ending at the horn seen earlier. The trail passes a small pond and then weaves its way through hillocks and high pastures, staying to the right (northeast) of a stream trickling down the valley.

Soon the grade steepens as the trail ascends along the northeast side of the valley. As you gain height enjoy wonderful views of the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Ahead you can see the pass, the notch along the ridge at the head of the valley.

At 5.7 miles the trail drops briefly into a small bowl and then climbs very steep switchbacks through sparse meadows that give way to dark, scree covered slopes. The Hundshorn towers above the trail to the north while behind you are more great views of the high peaks to the east.

A final short, very steep climb propels you to Sefinenfurgge Pass (8,570-ft/2,612-meters) at 6.0 miles. The pass, a notch on a knife-edge ridge, is not very large. Walk up the ridge to the south of the pass to find a good place to sit and take in the views. Keep an eye out for chamoix often seen grazing on the slopes around the pass.

From the Sefinenfurgge, enjoy your last views of the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. To the west the Armighorn and Dundenhorn fill the skyline above the Kiental Valley. Looking south the Bluemlisalp massif rises above a low ridge. The Hundshorn towers above the north side of the pass while the Schilthorn dominates the view to the northeast.

Sefinenfurgge to Griesalp

View of the Armighorn on the descent from Sefinenfurgge

Distance from Trailhead: 10.4 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 4,620-ft.

Elevation Gain: -3,950-ft.

To continue to Griesalp, take the trail descending the west side of the pass toward Durrenberg, Bundsteg and Griesalp. Don’t take the trail heading south toward Gspaltenhornhutte, Hohturli, Blumlisalphutte and Griesalp.

A series of wood steps with fixed-rope handholds facilitate the descent down the initial extremely steep section of the trail. After dropping about 100-ft. the steps end and a narrow trail now descends very steep, scree-covered slopes along the north side of the valley. At 6.6 miles the scree gives way to rocky meadows as the trail continues its steep drop down the narrow valley, staying to the right (north) of a stream.

At 7.2 miles the trail curves to the southwest, passes a nice waterfall and then reaches Obere Durrenberg (6,545-ft/1,995-meters) at 7.4 miles. Here the trail joins a gravel track heading toward Burgli, Bundsteg and Griesalp. A short distance beyond the alp the track turns to the west and crosses a bridge over the stream.

The track turns south at 7.6 miles and then northwest as it drops steeply down switchbacks, passing some farm buildings along the way. The Bluemlisalp massif dominates the view to the south.

Reach Burgli (5,305-ft/1,617-meters) at 8.8 miles and turn right (north/northwest) on the gravel alp road heading toward Steinenberg, Golderlo, Bundsteg and Griesalp. The trail to the left (southeast) leads to Bundalp and Gspaltenhornhutte.

Descend on easy to moderate grades through pastures and groves of trees with nice views of the Kiental Valley. Be sure to turn around to see the Gspaltenhorn and Morgenhorn rising above the head of the valley.

Reach the small hamlet of Steinenberg (4,823-ft/1,470-meters) at 9.6 miles. Trail signs point straight ahead toward Golderli and Griesalp and also direct you to the various small inns and other types of accommodations in the valley.

At Golderli (4,724-ft/1,440), at 10.1 miles, turn left (southwest) toward Griesalp. The path drops down to and cross the Gamchibach on a bridge before reaching the center of the small village of Griesalp (4,620-ft/1,408-meters) at 10.4 miles. Here you will find a restaurant, hotels and guest houses along with a postbus stop.

Hike Facts

 

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile - Murren to Griesalp via the Sefinenfurgge

 

 

Driving Directions

From the Lauterbrunnen Bahnhoff: Across the street from the north end of the Lauterbrunnen Bahnhoff (train station) find the Lauterbrunnen to Murren Bergbahn. Take the four minute cable car ride to the top station at Grutschalp where you change for the train to Murren, a 14 minute ride. The walk from the cable car to the train is short and you should have no problem making the connection.

The other option is to take the bus from the Lauterbrunnen Bahnhoff to the Stechelberg Schilthornbahn. (The destination on the bus will say Stechelberg, which is a few stops beyond the Schilthornbahn.) There are several bus stops throughout the valley, each with a timetable. Select the stop that makes sense based on the location of your accommodations.

At the Schilthornbahn station purchase a ticket for Murren, the first stage on the multi-stage cable car trip to the Schilthorn -- a popular viewpoint high above Murren.

 

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Lauterbrunnen / Griesalp

Region Information:
Bernese Oberland

Other Hiking Regions in:
Switzerland