Hiking the Oeschinen lake, one of the best lakes in Switzerland

We have seen so much of mountain lakes in Switzerland and now we have to say that Oeschinen lake (or Oeschinensee in German) is basically one of our favorites. Surrounded by a cirque of spectacular mountains, its crystalline waters with a number of shades of blue ( even inexperienced) present unforgettable landscapes to vacationers and hikers.

the beautiful colors of oeschinen lake in autumn

We already got here 3 occasions to the Oeschinen lake and at all times had the identical amazement. The 1st time was throughout the spring of 2016 simply after our spherical the world journey. Then we went again there throughout the summer season of 2017 throughout our hike throughout Switzerland by the Alps as a result of the Oeschinen lake is in truth on the path No1 of the Via Alpina. And lastly, we went again there throughout the autumn of 2022 throughout a roadtrip with our van by central Switzerland.

Even if the Oeschinensee is now not the well-kept secret it was a couple of years in the past, in case you are not afraid to hike a bit, it is possible for you to to get pleasure from these unbelievable panoramas reasonably peacefully. And as we’re good folks, we are going to make your life simpler by sharing with you all the infos you’ll have to hike Oeschinen lake in this submit.

Oeschinensee: a crystal clear lake surrounded by mountains

What makes the lake of Oeschinen so particular is that it’s surrounded by 3000m peaks (the Doldenhorn 3638m, the Fründehorn 3368m, the Oeschinenhorn 3486m, the Blüemlisalphorn 3660m) and their respective glaciers that are hanging over the lake (sadly not for very lengthy contemplating how briskly they’re melting). It is as if the lake is in a form of amphitheater of mountains and glaciers that opens up on the aspect of Kandersteg village.

There are additionally the crystalline rivers that move into the lake from the glaciers by quite a few waterfalls. And of course the blue-green shades which range in accordance with the climate and the seasons… all this makes the Oeschinen lake an exquisite place to get pleasure from all 12 months spherical!

Where is the Oeschinen lake and the way do you get there?

The Oeschinensee is positioned at an altitude of about 1600m in the Berner Oberland (the Bernese excessive lands in English… or the Bernese Alps in case you want 😉 ), simply above the village of Kandersteg. Although this village is positioned at the very backside of the Kander valley, it is vitally straightforward to succeed in by prepare or by automotive.

How to get to Kandersteg

There are many alternative methods to get to Kandersteg from Wallis or the canton of Bern.

  • from Wallis:
    • By prepare: From Brig station, it takes 50 minutes by prepare to Kandersteg by the Lötschberg tunnel.
    • By automotive: You should drive as much as the Lötschental at Gampel as much as the station Goppensteil. Then you’ll should get your automotive on the prepare to cross the Lötschberg tunnel to Kandersteg… a cool expertise in case you’ve by no means tried it. (The value varies relying on the day of the week (27 CHF throughout the week and 29,5 CHF on weekends – Note: there’s a 2 CHF low cost in case you purchase the ticket on-line on the official web site as a substitute of at the ticket workplace on web site)).
  • From the canton of Bern:
    • By prepare: Direct prepare from Bern station and it takes about 1h10 to get there.
    • By automotive: From Spiez, you must proceed in the direction of Frutigen after which go as much as the backside of the Kander valley till you attain Kandersteg.
the Kandersteg village
the cute little village of Kandersteg

And from the village of Kandersteg, there are additionally a number of methods to succeed in the Oeschinen lake:

Hiking from Kandersteg to Oeschinensee

You know us, we clearly selected to hike as much as the Oeschinen lake 😉 (it’s less expensive and it’s excellent on your well being lol). It takes between 1h and 1h30 strolling to succeed in the Oeschinensee relying on the path you select.

On our aspect, we took every time the shortest path (the crimson one under, 1h stroll from Kandersteg) since we deliberate to hike farther from the lake. We should say that it’s not the most panoramic path in the historical past… so if you’d like, you could possibly additionally attempt the different path (in inexperienced under) which matches up in the forest from the Nordic Arena (the ski leaping hills)

In case you want it, additionally, you will discover a map instantly on the web site of Kandersteg.

Kandersteg – Oeschinensee with the cable automotive

If you’ll be able to’t (or don’t need to) hike up, there may be additionally a gondola that leaves from Kandersteg and takes you as much as a 15 minute stroll from the Oeschinen lake. Of course the trip isn’t free and it’s sometimes the form of factor that’s costly in Switzerland (if you wish to go to Switzerland on a price range, you shouldn’t be afraid to hike). Count 30chfs for a spherical journey ticket at full value. More data about schedules and fares right here.

Switzerland by prepare

swiss travel pass

Are you planning to go to Switzerland by prepare? We advise you to learn our article which can permit you to evaluate the Swiss journey cross with the half-fare card. The article additionally contains 3 examples of prepare routes by Switzerland and the related price range relying on the ticket you are taking.

If you like to not take a journey cross, however reasonably take benefit of the Supersaver tickets and day passes, then go to this submit for all the particulars.

The best hikes round the Oeschinen lake

Of course, you could possibly simply hike as much as the Oeschinen lake, sit on the terrace of one of the 3 eating places/buvettes with a drink and luxuriate in the view. But in our humble opinion, the best option to get pleasure from this magical place remains to be to stroll a bit. This will make it easier to get away from the crowds and admire the lake and its waterfalls from totally different views.

Easy stroll on the Oeschinen lake

If you don’t really feel like doing a giant hike, we suggest you to do at the least a small loop that goes by the lake shore and goes again up passing by the restaurant “Zur Senhütte” (crimson route on the map under). By the manner, the view from their terrace for just a little beer is fairly good, isn’t it?

The Oeschinen lake panorama hike

Honestly, that is THE hike to do in case you come to the Oeschinensee for the day. This loop is about 8 kms lengthy (inexperienced route on the map under) and can take you on a path that goes up properly above the lake. It will give you landscapes that you’ll most likely always remember 😉 .

It doesn’t actually matter in case you determine to do the hike in one path or the different. Just notice that in case you determine to do it clockwise, the climb from the restaurant “Zur Senhütte” is a bit steeper than the different manner round. As we want to climb the steep sections, we did it clockwise 😉 (But as you’ll be able to see on the photos under, it’s not so dramatic both 😉 )

After the most important half of the ascent, we attain a balcony path that gives breathtaking views of the Oeschinen lake. In our opinion, that is the place the place you’ll have the most stunning panoramas on the Oeschinensee. The 2 km stroll to the mountain pasture and the Oberbärgli restaurant is only a pure delight for the eyes.

Note additionally that from Oberbärgli you’ll be able to proceed to climb to the Hohtürli cross and the Blüemlisalp hut. But I’ll speak about this selection later.

Here are some photos of our 2 hikes on this path to get you motivated to stand up there 😉

From the Oberbärgli snack, you simply should go down a well-marked path beneath a rocky wall to a different small snack: Unterbärgli. There you’ll be able to flip off onto a blue (and due to this fact tough) path to go as much as the Fründen hut (extra particulars later).

Finally, from there you solely have 2 kms of a pleasing descent alongside the Oeschinen lake to finish this stunning hike.

The Hohtürli cross and the Blüemlisalp hut (Blüemlisalphütte)

The Hohtürli is the highest cross of the Via Alpina with its 2778m of altitude (the path that crosses Switzerland by the Alps and that we did in 2017) and the very fashionable Blüemlisalp hut is simply above the cross. From up there, you’ll have an incredible view of Kandersteg on one aspect and the Kiental on the different (with Lake Thun in the background).

the view from the Blüemlisalp hut
During our cease at the Blüemlisalp hut in 2017

Honestly, in case you go as much as the Blüemlisalphütte, I feel it’s clearly price sleeping at the hut and doing the hike over 2 days (the spherical journey from Oeschinen lake is about 17 kms and 1300m of d+-, it’s the mild blue route on the map under). This manner you’ll be able to take your time and luxuriate in the stunning panorama from up there in the night and the morning!

To get to the Hohtürli cross and the Blüemlisalp hut, there are 2 choices:

You can climb from the Oeschinen lake (by the excessive or low path) to Oberbärgli. Then you must proceed the ascent on a well-marked path which matches alongside the foot of the Blüemlisalp glacier (mild blue path on the map under). After about 4 kms and greater than 800m of d+, you’ll lastly attain the Hohtürli and the hut.

Otherwise you could possibly additionally begin from the different valley (Kiental) and climb from Griesalp to the Blüemlisalp hut. But now we have to let you know, there may be greater than 1400m of d+ and it was clearly the steepest climb we did on the Via Alpina. In any case at the time we had a troublesome time with the huge backpacks on our backs however we preserve a wonderful reminiscence of it anyway 😉

But if in case you have the legs, it may be an exquisite crossing to do between these 2 valleys (with the added satisfaction of having climbed the highest cross of the Via Alpina 🙂 ). For extra data on the Hohtürli climb from Griesalp, you’ll be able to learn our 2017 submit which additionally incorporates some movies.

The Fründen hut (Fründenhütte) by the Fründenschnur

The ascent to the Fründen hut (purple route under) is the solely hike round the Oeschinen lake that now we have not carried out but. It additionally turned tougher since the regular path to the hut by way of the south shore of the lake was closed in 2020 resulting from the danger of landslides (extra about this under).

So the solely attainable option to go as much as this hut is to take the blue path from Unterbärgli to cross the wall overhanging the Oeschinen lake by a steep path: the Fründenschnur (T4 on the CAS scale). When you take a look at the cliff, you marvel the place a path can cross ;). However, since 2020 this part has been utterly re-equipped so that you could simply climb it along with your Via Ferrata gear.

The fründenschnur section towards the fründenhütte
To offer you an thought, right here is kind of the place the path from the Fründenschnur to the Fründenhütte goes

Honestly we actually need to do that hike one of nowadays with Fabienne, however in case you are afraid of heights or in case you are not used to this sort of terrain, we suggest you to skip it. For extra data on this hike, you’ll be able to take a look at this web page of the CAS or one can find very good photos on this web site.

Hiking map of Lake Oeschinen

To make it easier to put together your hikes at Lake Oeschinen, one can find these 4 routes on the interactive map under:

Other actions round Lake Oeschinen

If mountaineering isn’t actually your factor, listed below are some concepts of different issues to do or see round Lake Oeschinen.

Summer sledging (toboggan) at the Oeschinen lake

At the finish of the gondola that goes as much as the Oeschinen lake from Kandersteg, there’s a summer season toboggan run that’s open from May to October when the climate is dry. This isn’t actually our factor however in case you come to the Oeschinensee with your loved ones it may very well be an incredible exercise for the youngsters. For extra data on opening hours and costs, go to the Oeschinen lake web site.

Rowboat journey on the Oeschinen lake

One exercise that’s VERY common at Oeschinen lake is the rental of small rowing boats to navigate for some time on the Oeschinensee. So I suppose it was most likely initially fishermen who used this sort of boats (there have been a couple of of them throughout our final go to). But these days, the overwhelming majority of folks merely lease these boats by the half-hour or by the hour to find the lake in a special manner (or for just a little romantic journey 😉 )

But nonetheless, that is solely our opinion however we discover that it’s actually costly to pay 18chfs for half-hour or 29chfs for one hour to row on the lake. All the data (costs and opening hours) are right here.

boat trip on the Oeschinen lake

Discovering the Blausee (or blue lake)

A couple of minutes by automotive (or bus) from Kandersteg lies the (too?) well-known Blausee (or blue lake in French), which is definitely much more well-known than the Oeschinen lake itself. To be utterly sincere with you, we by no means actually thought of this place as a result of it has the fame of being extraordinarily touristy and we have been afraid to be upset.

But as we have been passing proper subsequent to it, we determined to take a look at it by coming throughout the week and at the opening time (9 am). So our first impression is combined as a result of we arrive first on a giant pay automotive park which exhibits properly the touristic potential of the place. After having paid a reasonably costly entrance to see a lake (between 8 and 12chfs per particular person… know that you could have 50% low cost in case you paid the customer’s tax, which was our case as a result of we had slept with the van at the Kandersteg campsite), we enter the small Blausee pure park.

So now we have to say that the place could be very stunning. The shade of the lake is magnificent and the entire is much more stunning in autumn with the orange leaves floating on the lake. We take benefit of the morning quietness to stroll round the lake earlier than the first vacationer buses arrive (round 9:30 am the first was already there). We did the tour in half-hour with out downside as a result of the blausee and its park are reasonably small.

As you’ll be able to see, this place is gorgeous, however in case you are on the lookout for peace and quiet, you higher skip it. At the edge of the lake there may be additionally a café, a restaurant, a lodge/spa, a memento retailer… just a little an excessive amount of infrastructure for our style for such a small lake 😉 . For extra data on the Blausee (costs, schedules, actions and many others…), go on their web site.

Oeschinen lake in winter?

Kandersteg can be a small ski resort in winter (3-4 lifts and a few slopes). And for snowshoeing fanatics, it’s also attainable to stroll as much as Oeschinen lake in winter. And if the climate is chilly sufficient and the lake is properly frozen, there’s a marked ice stroll on the Oeschinensee to find it in a novel manner. It can be attainable to ice skate and to do ice fishing 😉 . More data right here.

Landslide hazard at Oeschinen lake

We usually speak about ecology on the weblog and the village of Kandersteg sadly already has to stay with the penalties of local weather change.

kandersteg church
the Spitzer Stein vary above the church in Kandersteg

Due to world warming and permafrost melting, the Spitzer Stein mountain vary overlooking the kandersteg village and Oeschinen lake is in hazard of collapsing. It has already misplaced half of its tip at the finish of 2019, however a lot bigger rock plenty threaten to break down, endangering the villagers and hikers.

This mountain is definitely one of the most noticed ones in Switzerland, the aim being to have the ability to warn the inhabitants early sufficient in case of uncommon actions of the mountain. By the manner, in case you come to Kandersteg, it is possible for you to to see the safety dams which have been put in place to guard the homes in case of landslides.

This can be the motive why all the trails on the southern shore of Oeschinen lake, the place we hiked in 2016-2017, at the moment are closed.

Where to remain in Kandersteg to go to the Oeschinen lake?

Camping and Hotels in Kandersteg

As in many municipalities in Switzerland, one of the benefits of sleeping in the space (and due to this fact paying the vacationer tax) is that you’re entitled to a visitor card which supplies you entry to many reductions and freebies in the space.

As we have been in the area with our van, we slept at the Kandersteg tenting which is completely high quality for a reasonably first rate value in Switzerland. And so with the evening at the tenting we have been entitled to the visitor card which gave us a reduction of 50% at the blue lake for instance.

And in case you don’t need to keep at the tenting, there’s a good vary of lodging in Kandersteg from about 100chfs per evening.

There you go, I feel you realize every thing about Oeschinen lake! We hope you’ll get pleasure from this little jewel of the Swiss Alps as a lot as we do and we are going to see you quickly for brand spanking new adventures in our stunning mountains.

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