Photo: Looking over the valley from the foot of the glacier.
Through one of the most beautiful valleys in the Alps and up to a glacier.
The Gasterntal (sometimes Gasteretal) is one the most spectacular valleys in the Berner Oberland. It requires only a little bit more effort to reach than the better known valleys and offers some of the most impressive and wild landscape in the region. Yet it remains fairly obscure, I first passed in when hiking over the Gemmi pass on the way to Kandersteg.
Route: Hotel Selden – Uf de Schafgrinde – Hotel Selden.
Length: 12.3km, +/- 950m.
For more hikes in Switzerland see my list of hikes.
Season: Late spring to Autumn.
Arrival/Departure: Bus to/from ‘Selden, Hotel Gasterntal’, runs from Kandersteg Station and requires a reservation in advance. Access by car requires buying a ticket and is time controlled to certain points past the hour (45-05 up, 15-35 down). Cycling is free but you still have to stick to the time plan.
Supplies: Food and drink at the Selden Hotel.
Alternate routes/shortcuts: You could simply stay on the valley floor and do a gentle loop on the footpaths. Something that has been on my to-do list forever is through Gasterntal and up and over the Lotschepass to Lötschental with a night in the Lötschepasshütte.
Exposure/Hazards: Nothing beyond the usual.
Despite being a beautiful Sunday in July the valley was almost empty.
Notes along the route
There isn’t a whole lot to say about the route. Initially a gentle start through forest and meadows, a long and more strenuous climb up to a view over the Kanderfirn Glacier, then back down. Everything you could want from a hike in the Alps.