Harder Ridge, Interlaken, Switzerland

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One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

Harder Ridge

Also known as Hardergrat (… grat is ridge in German)

Best day hike in the world?

photo – AlpsInsight

AT A GLANCE

  • Yes, this is our pick for the very best day hike on Earth
  • Brienz to Interlaken
  • logistics are much more difficult in the opposite direction. We highly recommend hikers start in Brienz
  • 24km total … about 18km on a sharp ridge
  • 10+ hours. Physically and psychologically challenging.
  • no water available. Carry all you need.
  • not an official trail, but it’s easy to follow in good visibility
  • about 1500m above the lake
  • permits not required
  • it’s popular with trail runners who do about 35km entirely on foot. They start at either end.
Hiking the Hardergrat in Switzerland’s 30° Magazine, by PatitucciPhoto/ALPSinsight

Why We Like This Hike

  • in good weather, views of the Jungfrau’s big peaks; Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Schreckhorn,  Finsteraarhorn
  • the advantage of being able to get transport both up and down
  • on the same trip, hike nearby Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Schynige Platte and more
  • many see Ibex up here
  • the thrill of ridge walking. Fantastic vistas on each side.
You have Brienz lake on one side …… and Swiss foothills on the other.

Considerations

  • very dangerous in wet or snowy conditions
  • very dangerous in low visibility
  • people have fallen. People have been killed.
  • it’s a long, tough day. Don’t get caught up high at night.
  • there are a few alternate trails descending, but are all steep and difficult
  • some fixed cables at exposed sections
  • frequent scrambling required
chain assistance

Cost

Switzerland is an expensive nation. Everything is costly.

Trekking Guides

We don’t know of any hiking guides for this adventure. Leave a comment if you have one.

 

map via AlpsInsight — we recommend you start in Brienz

Logistics

  • every half hour a train runs Interlaken – Brienz for 8.20 Swiss Francs   ($9 dollars)
  • be on the first train out of Brienz. It can be as early as 5:30am. Or as late as 8:30am.
  • a slow, scenic, historic steam engine, it takes about an hour to reach Brienzer Rothorn station — the start of the Harder Ridge hike
  • cost of the one-way train in 2019 was 56 Swiss Francs ($58 dollars), but we paid half price for taking the first train. Check if that promotion is available when you get there.
Brienzer Rothorn Station 2351m
  • hike (or run) the trail as quickly as you can. If you don’t reach the funicular down to Interlaken in time (last one is about 9pm)  you’ll be stuck up high. Or have to walk down 1300m in the dark.
  • the funicular descends from the Bergrestaurant Harder Kulm
  • it takes 8 minutes and is relatively inexpensive (for Switzerland)
Harder Kulm restaurant

Local Information

Interlaken Tourismus
Marktgasse 1
Postfach
3800 Interlaken
+41 (0)33 826 53 00
+41 (0)33 826 53 75
mail (a) interlakentourism.ch

Best Trekking Guidebooks

This day hike is not widely promoted due to the dangers involved. We’ve not found a guidebook that includes it. Leave a comment if you know of one.

Best Travel Guidebooks

Best Web Pages

Best Trip Reports

Movies

Click PLAY or watch Jackson Groves on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Patrik & Teri  on YouTube. Plenty of Ibix.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment on this page. Our editors will reply.