Hike to Bachalpsee from Grindelwald First

Hiking, Switzerland20 comments

The best hike from Grindelwald First is the hike to Bachalpsee which encompasses all that’s most beautiful about Switzerland – stunning snow-capped mountains, lush green meadows & valleys, crystal clear lakes, and wildflowers, all to the soundtrack of ringing cowbells! It is one of the best places to visit in the Jungfrau region and my personal favourite place in Switzerland. The thrilling First Cliff Walk at Grindelwald First adds to the fun of visiting this place.

Bachalpsee makes for a perfect day trip and a fantastic outdoor activity & a beautiful hike from Interlaken, Lucerne or even Zurich. In fact, this is one of the best and easiest hiking trails in Grindelwald & the Jungfrau region. Plus you also get to do the unique Cliff Walk at Grindelwald First! I would prioritise the Bachalpsee hike over visiting Jungfraujoch because it offers a more varied experience and is much cheaper.

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Points of interestBachalpsee and Cliff Walk
Best time to visitMay to October
LocationGrindelwald, Firstbahn, 3818 Grindelwald, Switzerland
Travel timeBy car: 2 hr from Zurich, 30 min from Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken
By public transportation: 2 hr 50 min from Zurich HB, 45 min from Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken 
Opening hours08.00 to 18.00 h (last descent at 18.30)
Ticket prices60 CHF per adult (SBB halbtax applicable)
Ease of accessModerate – requires a roundtrip hike of ~2 hrs (6 km)
Closest towns to stay inGrindelwald, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren
Read morehttps://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/grindelwaldfirst/lake-bachalpsee/
Check out the weather camhttps://www.jungfrau.ch/de-ch/live/webcams/#webcam-grindelwald-first

Where is Bachalpsee

Bachalpsee lies in the Bernese Oberland region and is at a height of ~2200 m. ’See’ is German for lake so calling it Lake Bachalpsee would be quite redundant (much like naan bread!). The lake is accessible from Grindelwald through an aerial cable car which brings you to Grindelwald First followed by a hike (~1 hr).

Sharp peaks of the Bernese Oberland visible along the hike
Sharp peaks of the Bernese Oberland visible along the hike

What is the best time to visit Bachalpsee

May to October are the best months to hike to Bachalpsee from Grindelwald First. The lake freezes over in winter and the trails usually open by May but even then they may not be completely snow free. Check the weather cam before you visit.

Have limited time in Switzerland? Here’s a 5-day Switzerland itinerary to take in the best of the country!

How to get to Bachalpsee

You need to get to the Grindelwald Firstbahn cable car station in Grindelwald to take the aerial cable car up to the station of Grindelwald First.

By car: We drove from Zurich and it took us around 1 hr 50 min to reach the Grindelwald Firstbahn cable car station. It’s a beautiful drive crossing a few lakes, including the incredibly blue Lake Brienz.

At Grindelwald Firstbahn, there is a parking lot across the street, a little way beyond the cable car station. We got there around 8:30 am on a June weekend and the parking lot was already filled up half way. In case this parking lot is filled up, there are more parking lots in town but these will require a little bit of uphill walk to the cable car station. Parking is quite expensive, and pre paid so you need to estimate how much time you plan to spend. Since we were planning the hike only up to the lake and back, we paid for 5 hours.

By train: From Zurich HB, it will take around 2 hr 50 min, changing trains at Bern and Interlaken to reach Grindelwald Bahnof. From Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken, it would take ~45 min to reach Grindelwald Bahnof. From Grindelwald Bahnof, the Grindelwald Firstbahn station is 600 m away – you could walk or take the bus.

Grindelwald First gondola opening hours

Gondola cableway operating times: 08.00 to 18.00 h (last descent at 18.30). Check the latest operating information for the entire Jungfrau region here.

Grindelwald First gondola tickets/ Prices and Schedule

A round trip ticket for the cable car costs 60 CHF per adult, 30 CHF with the SBB half fare card. Discounted rates are also available with the Swiss pass. Tickets can be purchased from the cable car station, or online

The cable cars here are not the ones on a timetable but ones that are constantly coming and going. These have a capacity of 4-6. Just cross the turnstile (scanning your ticket) and enter into the first gondola that comes along. Note that these do not completely come to a halt but slow down considerably so you can easily get on them.

From Grindelwald, we took the Firstbahn all the way to the top, to the Grindelwald First station. The total journey took ~25 minutes with 2 intermediate stops in between, Bort and Schreckfeld. You do not need to get down at either of these stations. The ride up is beautiful with complete silence around, other than the sound from an occasional stream down below or the ringing of cow bells.

View from the Grindelwald First gondola
View from the Grindelwald First gondola

Hike to Bachalpsee from Grindelwald First

Hike to Bachalpsee
Hike to Bachalpsee (Google Map Data ©2020) – Click to expand map
HikeGrindelwald First – Bachalpsee – Grindelwald First (hike #1 on the map above)
Distance (roundtrip)~6 km
Duration~2 hrs
Elevation change188 m
PathBroad, well-developed path
Difficulty levelEasy – Suitable for families of all ages with weather-resistant clothing & sturdy shoes

At the top station of Grindelwald First, we decided to do the Cliff Walk first since it’s right next to the station. The Cliff Walk is a long metal walkway which hugs the cliffs around the mountain. You don’t need a separate ticket for this – it’s included in your cable car ticket itself. It’s a fun, short walk. Don’t bother with waiting in lines for taking pictures at the topmost point – there are much better views, with no waiting, all along the hike. If you are afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one. It took us a total of 20 min to walk all the way and back on the Cliff Walk. There’s a restaurant at the very end with a killer view where you can spend some time.

Cliff walk at Grindelwald First
Along the cliff walk
Grindelwald First Cliff Walk

After the Cliff Walk, we began the hike towards the lake. Everything is very well marked so there are no worries about getting lost. The path is broad and easy to walk on. At the start of the hike, there is a short but steep ascent (for us this was the hardest part of the hike). The trail afterwards is quite gentle and slopes gently up & down.

Hike to Bachalpsee from Grindelwald First
Along the Bachalpsee hike

It takes about an hour to reach the lake. It took us a bit longer since we were stopping every few minutes to take pictures. The view all around was incredibly beautiful. We could see tall snow-capped mountains, green meadows and valleys, chunks of ice and flowers everywhere. The sharp peaks of Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn are visible on the opposite side of the valley. It was the most beautiful walk we had ever seen.

Hike from Grindelwald First to Bachalpsee through the Bernese Oberland mountains
Taking a small detour over the lovely meadows
Bachalpsee hike
Bench with a view!
Alpine flowers along the Bachalpsee hike in the Jungfrau region
Alpine flowers and snow peaked mountains – an unmatched view

Once we got to the lakes (there are 2 lakes because of a dam created there), we just couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was. A little climb up and taking a left and voila – we reached the spot from where all the magical photos you see online can be taken. There was an empty bench at the top and we settled there to take in the view. It was slightly windy so the ripples in the water prevented any reflections. We still spent a long time taking pictures and tucking into our picnic lunch. Note that there are no restaurants at the top so come prepared.

Posing with the Bachalpsee
Posing with the Bachalpsee

During our visit, there were quite a few people around but since it’s a large area, everyone was quite spread out. There was also a guy playing the alphorn – typical Swiss stuff!

An Alphorn player at Lake Bachalp
An Alphorn player at the lake
Bachalpsee with the Bernese Oberland mountains in the distance
A bench you wouldn’t mind spending hours on

We spent some time walking around the lake. There were huge chunks of ice around the lake but the weather was quite sunny and warm. I couldn’t believe a sight so incredible could get any better but the wind soon died out and we got to take in the glorious reflections in the water.

Stunning Bachalpsee
A postcard-perfect view!
Bachalpsee in the Summer
Needed a lot of restraint to stop taking pictures!

We spent about an hour and a half at the lakes then decided to head back since we wanted time to take more pictures on the hike back! It took us about an hour to get back to Grindelwald First. This time with a few detours from the path over the meadows, taking in the spectacular views around us. We got back to our car with a few minutes to spare on the parking meter! We had to ditch our ice cream plans and get moving!

Practical tips for the hike to Bachalpsee

  • Check the Bachalpsee weather webcam before visiting. If it’s rainy or very cloudy, don’t bother spending so much money on the cable car tickets. Instead, if you’re based in the Interlaken – Lauterbrunnen region – see if you can cover other places such as the Trummelbach Falls or the Aare Gorge which are not quite as weather dependent.
  • Get there early to avoid a crowded parking lot. Not much of a problem if you’re travelling by public transport though. The whole Grindelwald First area is quite large and has multiple activities so the crowd is quite spread out – even during peak summer months!
  • Dress in layers – with the sun shining down, it can become quite warm but if it’s windy it could become super cold.
  • Carry food and water – while there’s a restaurant at Grindelwald First, there are none at the lake. Having a nice picnic at the banks of the lake make for a fantastic experience. There are toilets at both Grindelwald First and also at the lakes.
  • Walking sticks may come in handy (though not essential) for those who might not be very fit or for elderly folks

Other Grindelwald First activities

  • If you feel more adventurous, instead of hiking back to the Grindelwald First station, you can follow trails no.3 to Feld and Bussalp or no. 4 to Waldspitz and Bort (one of the middle stations from where you can ride the aerial cable car back down to Grindelwald)
  • There are several more activities such as first glider, first flyer, first mountain cart and trottibike – the tickets for all these can be purchased along with your cable car ticket from the Firstbahn station in Grindelwald

Have you been to Bachalpsee? Drop me a comment with your favourite part of the trip. Are you planning a trip to the Jungfrau region (or looking for the best place to visit in Switzerland?!)? Let me know if you have any questions. 

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  1. This place looks amazing. I’m not sure if it’s because of your awesome photography skills or if that’s how it’s in real life, too, but to me, it resembles a natural infinity pool at the farthest spot.

    • It really is a stunning place and it did remind me of an infinity pool too ?

  2. This looks absolutely incredible! We did some hiking in the German and Austrian Alps last year and know that the pictures never compare to seeing it in person.
    I love the details you provided and this makes for a great reference guide.

  3. I can’t imagine how beautiful this hike was in person. How busy is it? I really want to go to Switzerland and see the mountains.

    • We went in July and it was not busy. There are a lot of things to do up at First so people are usually spread out quite a bit. Even at the lake, it didn’t feel crowded at all.

  4. Looks incredible! Switzerland has been on my list for some time and hopefully I finally get to check it off next year. Great tip about the cars not stopping, I would definitely be one of those people waiting for it to stop and then trying to get on at the last second as I realized that wasn’t going to happen.

    • Hahaha, yeah that was almost my first reaction too! Switzerland has some weird things – at another mountain cable car you have to stand on a designated spot and the cable car comes from behind and swoops you in! That was a bit scary at first but became fun soon!

  5. Switzerland is a hikers dream destination! I can’t wait to visit! Thanks for the info.

    • It really has a ton of amazing hikes. And the best part is they are extremely organized, well marked and with lots of facilities.

  6. I’m sold! Those pictures are so stunning. I need to come here soon! Thanks for sharing these great tips.

  7. Wow the place looks so picturesque. I loved the snowy mountains backdrop in the pictures. I am too fond of lakes and this one is beautiful! Looking forward to visit this place.

      • Hi, this is a useful site but I would like to check something.
        We are planning to visit this area early next June and already have some accommodation booked in Switzerland but I’ve just seen another Web site that claims many hikes will still be closed at that time including First to Bachalpsee because of snow.
        Now I’m reading here that May is a good time to visit.
        Have you hiked this route in May?

  8. OMG! This all looks gooooorgeous!

    Bachalpsee is just picture perfect! I think even if it was a little misty it would have been pretty, but with those blue skies it looks like mountain heaven! Do you know how far the gondola carries you up? As the hike is quite short, I’d be very tempted to hike up (as the views are so amazing!)

    p.s. I LOVE your dress! You match the alpine flowers!

    • We got lucky with really great weather the day we went – everything was picture perfect!

      A quick check on google maps shows that Grindelwald (from where the gondola starts) to First (the last stop), the distance is about 7.5 km, 2.5 hours walking time so it is doable. However, there are several amazing hikes in the region that you can try too. Check this out: https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/summer-sport/hiking/

      And thanks! It’s one of my favourite dresses :)

      • Oooh interesting… In that case, I guess if/when we make it there we should take the gondola, and then do even more hikes nearby! ;)

  9. The pictures are enticing plus beautifully written and very helpful to first-timers here. I’m jealous of how you can simply wear a dress while your hubby is wearing a jacket. It means it is cold.

    Thanks for sharing..

    • Thanks April!
      The weather was not that bad actually with the bright sun shining down. Hubby gets too lazy to take off his jacket at times :P


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About me

Gruezi, Hi! My name is Smita, a part-time traveller and a travel writer. So far I’ve been what you might call a serendipitous traveller! I got a chance to visit several amazing places more by chance than by design. I would love to put all my extensive travel planning to good use by sharing it with you and hope that these inspire you to visit all those famous, and not-so-famous locations! Read More

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