Lauterbrunnen Valley: Stechelberg – Tanzbödeli – Obersteinberg – Oberhoresee – Schmadri Hut – Stechelberg | Hiking & Trail Running
A local classic with everything possible; food, trail options, extensions, and views all day long
Description : Your going to read this several times… But really, this is one of my very favorite runs.
Each June I watch for this route to become possible. When will the snow melt?
It is a loop with countless options and variations, and it’s a bit contrived so as to cram extra in – which you will appreciate to keep the day going.
This little piece of the Alps is a true treasure, it’s magic, and for whatever reason has been called, “A Happy Place”, by more than a few people, myself included.
Where it starts and finishes is the only thing consistent, Stechelberg. In the back of Lauterbrunnen Valley sits this quiet little village from which the tram to Gimmelwald and Mürren runs. It’s a great starting point for many hikes or runs, and this route, thanks to all the many options, is very popular for either.
I like to do the route in a counter clockwise direction, so I start running west up the Sefinental, along the river until I reach the trail up to the Tanzbödeli. Here the trail climbs steeply for 500 meters where you’ll reach a side trail for the Tanzbödeli. Tanzbödeli means “dance floor”, and this is about right if you go have a look. It’ll add 200 meters to your day but is well worth it to see the views, and a perfect place to have a break.
After this, rejoin your trail below and continue south on perfect singletrack with toe stubbing views, for the Obersteinberg. This is a classic, old backcountry mountain hotel where you can re-fuel with all sorts of Swiss classic menu items.
Don’t eat too much, you have a good bit of terrain yet to cover. After the Obersteinberg, you’ll enjoy some of the best sections of trail anywhere towards the back of the valley where you’ll cross the river and have a decision to make.
Here the trail splits and you can either head down and an early out to Stechelberg, or continue on. If you continue on, you’ll find yourself at Oberhoresee, a small, nearly filled in lake. At this point the trail starts to turn back north, but as an option, you can continue further into the back of the valley where you’ll be surrounded in glaciers and high alpine walls. It is well worth the detour to go have a look, and simply turn around when you want.
From Oberhoresee, you’ll cruise perfect trails head through green meadows and high alpine tundra towards the Schmadri Hut, which again, is a short detour from the main trail. The hut itself is very small, and not wardened, but the meadow it sits in is quite nice. Often there is a large herd of Ibex in the grass surrounding the hut.
After Schmadri, the trail traverses high along the north facing slopes with numerous options back down to the valley. I suggest staying high for as long as possible, then dropping back into Stechelberg.
Again, this is a route with many, many options. Trails lace these hillsides, find a route that looks right for you, and enjoy this piece of the Alps.
For more information, visit our Elevation Lauterbrunnen to Obersteinberg Run.
Start : Stechelberg / Finish : Stechelberg
Distance : ~22km
Vertical : ~1800 meters
Effort : Medium
Dan’s Tip : This route has numerous options to make it longer or shorter, and a great stop for food and water at the Obersteinberg. No need to carry too much. Also, there is a lot of water along the way.