Backpacking the Swiss Alps: Via Alpina Stage 12, Mürren, Gimmelwald

Backpacking the Swiss Alps: Via Alpina Stage 12, Mürren, Gimmelwald

On our last day of backpacking in the Swiss Alps, we awoke to a colder, grayer morning than we’d experienced to that point on our trip. It was a bit surreal to get up and know that would be our last day on the trail. There was a peacefulness to the dreary weather as we got ready and packed for the day. We’d be making our way to Mürren by catching back up to the Via Alpina Stage 12, then onto Gimmelwald for the evening.

Off on our last day of backpacking!

This day was one of the most gorgeous on the trail. The rapidly changing weather conditions included the most incredible clouds. These clouds created dramatic and beautiful mountain scenes. Nature is truly awe-inspiring.

Clouds in the Swiss Alps

I did my best to savor every last moment of our backpacking experience this day. Sure, there had been moments of fatigue and moments where the hiking wasn’t so pleasant, whether it was heat or bugs or toe aches, but for the vast majority of our days out on the trail it was smooth sailing and a heck of a lot of fun. It was almost bittersweet to be lacing up our boots for the last time during this trip. We put a lot of time and effort into preparing and it passed by so fast!

The Trail from Lobhornhütte: Via Alpina Stage 12 and the Mountain View Trail

Starting out in the chilly morning air, we descended from Lobhornhütte along the other trail that would eventually bring us back to the Via Alpina. The trail up there was small and rocky and took us through beautiful woods and fields of wild flowers.

Setting out from Lobhornhütte

We descended into a beautiful valley before heading back up into the mountains, where we watched in wonder as the changing clouds transformed the scene around us.

Swiss Alps Valley

In less than 10 minutes, the above view changed to this. The clouds were not playing around! It was amazing to watch the fog so rapidly roll in.

Swiss Alps Valley covered in fog

One of the most rewarding, but still challenging things about this trip was that I had to work through some things to even get myself to the Swiss Alps (my long-standing knee issues) and then once there, work through my real fear of heights at points. I’m also just generally a fearful person, so being out in the wilds of the mountains and woods is a wee bit scary to me if I really think about it… On this stretch of trail, it was particularly scary because there were so many cows in our path. I understand cows are docile creatures, but they are huge. They also are not so docile if you get between a momma cow and her baby. Since our trip fell just after spring, there were plenty of calf/cow combos scattered across the trail at points.

Cows in the Swiss Alps

My ever-patient husband conceded to trying an alternate route that avoided a giant group of cows. This took us off the trail to the Via Alpina and up through the wilderness since even more cows were milling about on an alternate path.

We were planning to turn back onto the trail after this detour, but weren’t able to as the map indicated. So, we set off on our new, longer route. Who’d have thought I’d be the one advocating for a longer, steeper trail? Not me and certainly not Andrew, haha!

We ended up on the Mountain View Trail, winding around the mountainside, with beautiful views through the clouds.

This was one of the few days we ran into other people on the trail. It seems like it’s a popular day hike for tourists in Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. It was kinda funny to be out there all geared out and cruising past folks in sneakers carrying just water bottles. Until that moment I hadn’t realized how much my training had really, truly done for me.

 

Though we took a long detour, it felt like we were almost to Mürren before I knew it. Our backpacking journey was nearly finished!

Mürren views

Mürren

Arriving in Mürren had an almost “oasis-in-the-desert” feel to it. On a rainy, lush-green-field-crossing day I know that sounds crazy.

Mürren

But, after five days of backpacking and eating heavy Swiss food and a zillion protein bars, we found a restaurant offering gluten-free pizza(!!!) for lunch in Mürren! Delicious GF pizza, just a quick walk from our final destination of Gimmelwald! Was I dreaming?!

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA IN MURREN

Luckily I was not dreaming, Eiger Guesthouse served up a fabulous gluten-free pizza. I finished the whole thing and washed that down with an Aperol Spritz (or two) and was loving my life. We had done it! We had made it all the way from Meiringen to Mürren! It was the perfect celebratory lunch. It was starting to feel like a true vacation!

Our relaxing lunch ended as it began to downpour. We had to take shelter in the train station for a few minutes since our rain gear was not a match for such heavy rain. When it finally lessened, we descended along the winding road down to Gimmelwald.

We passed lots of anti-avalanche structures on our way and it reminded me how much I would love to see this area in the wintertime. It must be absolutely stunning, but it’s also hard to imagine it being even more beautiful than what we experienced!

Avalanche barriers

Gimmelwald

We arrived in Gimmelwald in incredibly thick fog, I think it was the thickest fog I’ve ever experienced. It was a little bit freaky, being unable to see anything at all beyond 30 yards. The outlines of the village’s buildings faded into semi-visible view as we passed by, never really able to make them out fully. I shared this insane scene to my Instagram stories and could see more around me through the phone camera than my own eyes!

Gimmelwald

More on Gimmelwald to come in my next Swiss post!

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Jenn

Jenn is an American expat living in London, spending her time freelancing, traveling and writing on this here blog. Thank you for reading. Are you planning a trip here? Tell me your plans in the comments!

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