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MTB – Bachalpsee Bike

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB

    Photo: Single trail from Bachalpsee down to Bachläger.

    Very very scenic. You have almost constant uninterrupted views of the peaks of the Jungfrau region towering over or across from you. Even when the view was limited in the forest it was only for a few seconds before turning into a view with meadows and wooden huts.

    Key Information

    Route: Grindelwald – Grosse Scheidegg – First – Bachalpsee – Bachläge – Holzmattenläger (just before Bussalp) – Grindelwald. MTB Route 341 (Bachalpsee Bike) with a bit of Route 342 (Bussalp Bike) thrown in at the end.

    Length: 36km, +/-1620m.

    Date: 2021-September-05

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB

    Practical Information

    Season: Late spring – Autumn.

    Arrival/Departure: Train to/from Grindelwald.

    Supplies: Shops and restaurants in Grindelwald, various restaurants and self-service farm shops along the route.

    Alternate routes/shortcuts: There are various options for transporting your bike up: you can skip most of the climb with the bus to Grosse Scheidegg or almost all the climb by taking the cable car to First (but no E-bikes in the latter case).

    Exposure/Hazards: There is very little shade on the route.

    Technical demands: Most of the route is on paved or gravel roads. The descent from Bachalpsee to Bachläger is a bit steep and rocky at times, but is not overly demanding. If you stick to Route 341 there is some more single trail in the forest.

    Other points:

    • Around Grindelwald First and along to Bachalpsee is very busy with hikers, but moving away it was mostly quiet.
    • Other than quiet traffic in Grindelwald and the odd bus going up to the pass or Bussalp this was basically car-free.

    Notes along the route

    We stayed overnight at the Hotel Blümlisalp. A nice enough place about an hours walk from the middle of Grindelwald. Fairly late arrival and then dinner so didn’t make the most of the views.

    The hotel is directly on the MTB route. Which meant easy access, but it also meant hitting a 10% climb with no warm up and then later having to climb 180m back up at the end.

    The road climbing up to Grosse Scheidegg is long but has a good paved surface and is not steep – like most Alpine roads it just keeps going and going. Other than the odd bus there is basically no traffic. With the north faces towering above we were protected from the heat of the rising sun until we reached the pass.

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    Dodging the odd bus on the climb up.
    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    The towering north face providing shade,

    At the Grosse Scheidegg pass you get a fantastic view in both directions (enjoy the view towards Meiringen whilst you can they don’t last long), and then start to traverse across to First.

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    The view over to Grindelwald from the Grosse Scheidegg.
    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    The view down the other side of the pass towards Meiringen.

    There are fantastic views and easy riding on gravel roads for the initial 20 minutes of the traverse, then a sometimes very steep climb up to First.

    At Grindelwald First the route joins the popular First-Bachsee footpath which can be something of a pedestrian procession. There are a few points where the hiking and bike paths diverge, but only briefly. Have a bell and be patient. From First there are a few short but steep climbs, including one with very nasty bit with loose gravel, but then the climbing is done.

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    Riding along the mountainside to First.
    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    The last section to the lake.

    This was actually my first visit to Bachalpsee. Nice to tick it off, though I can’t say my Swiss experience was missing much without it. If I went on my first visit or sometime earlier on then it would have almost certainly stood out much more to me.

    I had toyed with the idea of carrying on up to Faulhorn for the views. This would be doable being a gravel road, but it climbs 400m over 2.4km at an average gradient of 17%…

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB

    From Bachalpsee the route instantly switches to single trail until the little Alp village at Bachläge. At times stony and with some short steep sections with a number of drops. Very few hikers on this section.

    From Bachläge the road is a wide and smooth gravel or paved surface. Easy riding (more like gliding) with the ever fantastic views.

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    Starting off on the single trail.
    Bachalpsee Bike MTB

    By the Nordhalt bus stop the route drops into the forest and turns back to single trail. It looks to be a steep initial drop followed by a much more gentle descent.

    We decided to extend the route by doing the 342 Bussalp bike in reverse. It is only signed in one direction but is easy to follow backwards and that section is all paved/gravel (if quite steep at times). Curiously only elderly hikers were going along the paths in this section.

    Didn’t bother going the last section to Bussalp (another 1.2km and 110m of height for what would be the same view). Grabbed some cheese from the farm at the junction and followed the road down to Grindelwald. Again fantastic views and a fun glide.

    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    Looking down the valley towards Interlaken.
    Bachalpsee Bike MTB
    The final descent into Grindelwald.

    Slightly warm final climb from the village back to the hotel.

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