Our family hike to the Oberaarsee & Glacier starts at the unmistakable and historic Alpine Hotel Grimsel Hospiz. Located only a few metres below the Grimsel Pass which connects the Valais and the Bernese Oberland in Switzeland.
A destination excursion well worth a visit even without planning a hike.
FACTS: The Hotel Grimsel Hospiz was the first Swiss hotel to be mentioned in official documents back in 1142. It made headlines in 1932 as the first hotel in Europe to feature electric heating. How amazing is that!
How to get to the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz
The Grimsel Hospiz is situated slightly below the Grimsel Pass on the Bernese Oberland side. The good thing is that you can reach it by public transport from both the Valais and the Haslital side.
But of course, you can also drive up the Grimsel Pass which is at an elevation of 2164m and park your car at the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz.
Note: The pass is closed during the winter months.
Hiking to the Oberaarsee (lake) & Glacier
After you have walked around the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz area, which I highly recommend to do, you hop on the self operated Siedelerhorn Bahn.
The Siedelhornbahn crosses over the Grimselsee to take you to the foot of the Siedelhorn. It is a short ride direction Grimsel pass. You will now be looking down on to the Grimsel pass and in the far distance you can see another pass zigzagging up the mountain. This is the Furka Pass which is connection between the Cantons of Valais and Uri (Andermatt).
Our family hike to the Oberaarlake and Glacier starts with a 300m altitude gain up to Husenegg before we can enjoy the lower ridge path.
The climb is easy as the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and granite landscapes distract from the tired legs. And the higher we climb we recognise the Gelmersee Dam lower down the Grimsel valley, and of course the largest lake in the Grimsel area, the Grimselsee comes into full view.
On the Lower Ridge Path to the Oberaar Berggasthaus
After we reached the height of our hike we stopped by a closed down mountain hut, which must have been the Husenegg stable.
Lucas climbed a few more rocks and found this beautiful area which was perfect for our snack break. We threw a few stones to see who is best at skimming.
From here you could also take the more advanced route over the Siedelerhorn, but we continued our family hike direction Triebeseewli.
The view in the far distance opens up to some 4000m peaks like the Lauteraarhorn and the Schreckhorn, and even the Grosses Fiescherhorn in the Aletsch Arena in Valais can be seen. And on a clear day, you even can spot the peak of the Mönch in Grindelwald – Jungfrau Region.
All along the hike we found, to the delight of the children, many mountain crystals. This was the absolute highlight for our kids. Chloe even found a perfectly shaped mountain crystal like you would find in a shop. This family hike in the Grimsel area suddenly turned into the best hike ever – according to the kids!
Triebeseewil via Bäregg to the Berggasthaus Oberaar
If you hiked the advanced route via the Siedlerhorn it would be here where the two paths meet again.
When we looked up, we saw the hut and the cross at the peak of the mountain. It looked like the path down was covered in a lot of rocks and granite.
The area around the Triebeseewil lake was windy and cold, so we decided to pass quickly and soon we found shelter again just before finally heading down via Bäregg to the cozy Berghaus Oberaar at 2350m altitude.
The New Oberaarbahn
From Triebeseewill lake you will be able to spot the Oberaarbahn going backwards and forwards from the Oberaarsee to the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz.
This is a NEW addition to the Grimsel -Welt since summer 2021. With the Oberaarbahn now also accessible to the public it has opened up a new family hiking domain which I highly recommend to go and see for yourself..
During a 25-minute journey in two sections, you will experience the breathtaking granite and lake landscape from a completely new perspective. All the way from the Grimselsee to the Oberaarsee or vice-versa.
Good to know is that the Oberaarbahn operates until 21:00. This allows for a sunset expedition to the Oberrraglacier or simply for a nice evening meal at the Berggasthause Oberaar.
The Oberaarbahn is self-operated and tickets can be bought online, at the Grimseltor Tourist Centre in Innertkirchen or at the reception of the Alpinhotel Grimsel Hospiz.
For prices and more information check their website.
Hiking from the Oberaarsee to the Oberaarglacier
Because we started this family hike from the Grimselpass we did NOT hike to the Oberaarglacier. Once we arrived at the Berghaus Oberaar and lake the weather started to close in and honestly it would have been too far for everybody to add on the stretch to the glacier.
Although it was so tempting as the glacier is right there. On the other hand we now have a good reason to come back to this absolutely beautiful part of Switzerland, and hike to the Oberaarglacier. We would then take the Oberaarbahn directly from the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz to the Oberaarsee and hike the 4-5km to the glacier (one way). Depending on the water level you can go quite close to the glacier. I can’t wait to go and explore next summer.
Driving to the Oberaarsee & Overnight at the Berghaus Oberaar
You can still access the Oberrardam via the one-way 6km toll Panoramastrasse from the Grimsel Pass. The access road is timed-access and can only be used in one direction at a time.
- Grimsel Pass – Restaurant and Berghaus Oberaar. Uphill, the road is open every hour on the hour.
- Restaurant and Berghaus Oberaar – Grimsel Pass. Down the valley, the road is open on the half hour.
Driving on the road is not permitted between midnight and 6 a.m. Parking spaces are available for a fee at the Oberaarsee and Berghaus Oberaar.
Book your parking ticket directly online.
The Oberrar Berghaus has cosy bedrooms or bunkbed rooms and is the ideal refuge for multiday hiking in the Bernese Oberland and Valais mountains.
Other Areas to Visit near the Grimselpass
Whether you are passing by or actually staying nearby, the Grimsel Valley has much to offer.
If you are holidaying in the Berner Oberland side in the Haslital, then you may want to add the following onto your activity list.
- Riding the Triftbahn and hiking to the Triftbrücke (Suspention bridge)
Two special attractions awaiting you on this family hike to the Triftbrücke. Firstly the ride on the small gondola., followed by a long pedestrian suspension bridge and offering close-up views of the glacier. The Triftbrücke is 100 metres high and 170 metres long with a view of the Trift glacier and lake. Find out more
- Visit the Reichenbachfalls, location of the end of Sherlock Holmes.
These beautiful falls in Meiringen in the Berner Oberland are famous as the setting for Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
Another funicular ride brings you to the lookout over the falls. More
- Gelmerbahn and Gelmersee Hike
Riding in Europe’s steepest open funicular – The Gelmerbahn to the Gemlersee is an activity like no other. Not for the faint-hearted. Read our full itinerary in how to get to and hike the Gelmersee.
- Furkapass and Rhône Glacier visit
If you are only here for a short time, then why not drive over to the Furkapass and stop at the beautiful Valais Rhône Glacier – Rhonegletscher. A sightseeing tour with many Instagrammable picture opportunities.
This whole area – the Jungfrau Region is a mecca for hiking, family activities and more. I have marked on the map below the above mentioned areas for you to get a better understanding of the Grimsel Area.
Places to stay when hiking to the Oberaarsee & Glacier
To discover the Grimsel Valley and Haslital we recommend to stay in Meiringen – Haslital.
This will give you a great base to explore the Jungfrau-region to the fullest.
Here are some accommodation suggestions in Meiringen
- The SwissPeak Resorts offer self-catered apartments where one can add meal plans in the on-site restaurant. Read our full review of the SwissPeak Resort in Meiringen.
- Hotel Victoria in Meiringen would be another great alternative.
Alternatively, you will find more accommodation in the Meiringen area here.
Hiking Map to the Oberaarsee and Glacier from the Grimsel Hospiz
How the map works: Click on “Learn More” to get to the full map layout with profile and interactive route indicator.
As always the time given on the map is an automatic estimation. We always have much longer due to picture stops, collecting stones and crystals on the way and other things that you do on a family hike.
Location:: Grimsel Hospiz – Berner Oberland
Length:: 5.6 km, Hiking path only without the cable cars
Level:: 1st Uphill then easy – hiked with kids of 6 years old.
Highest point:: 2516 m
Ascent 409m / Descent 320m
Good to know
- Parking at the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz
- Not push chair friendly
- Toilet facilities at both ends of the hike
- Refreshments available at both ends of the hike
- Cable car tickets can be bought at the Grimsel Hospiz reception
You may also like these Articles within the Area
I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when you undertake this Family hike from the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz to the Oberaarsee and Glacier.
If I have left anything out or you have a question, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.
Thank you & Never Forget to Explore
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