Hiking the Via Alpina: Lenk to Gstaad


Hike from Lenk over Trüttlisbergpass to Gstaad

Lenk (1064m) – Trüttlisbergpass (2038m) – Alp Wintermatte (1423m) – Turbach (1314m) – Gstaad (1052m)

In this post, we want to share our experience hiking on the Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad. It can be done in 7:30 hours. We did it in 11 hours due to an extended fondue break on the way. The hike is not as steep as the other legs of the Via Alpina. However, with 22km length and +/- 1150 vertical meters it’s a long hike. Bring enough water and food for a picnic on the way as the first restaurant can only be found in Turbach.

Hike&Dine presents: Hiking on the Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad, Switzerland

Stats of the hike from Lenk to Gstaad and free map to download

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Our experience hiking on the Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad

We hiked on the Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad in June 2020. This is a wonderful hike in the heart of the Swiss Alps. It offers amazing views to Wildstrubel and Plaine Morte Glaicer. We discovered the moonlike landscape of Gryden; took a nap on Trüttlisbergpass and had a delicious cheese fondue in Turbach valley. Read more about our hike on Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad below.

Uphill along the Wallbach waterfalls in Lenk

We started at around 9am in Lenk and we would recommend you to leave earlier. After we left the village behind, the trail led along the Wallbach river and its waterfalls uphill through a forest. There are a lot of stairs so it’s a pretty intense first hour. We were rewarded with beautiful views from the forests back to the village of Lenk. As Berghaus Wallegg was closed we sat on a bench and took a short break.

Lenk Switzerland village
Lenk Switzerland village look back from the Wallbach waterfalls

Hiking on the Via Alpina in the heart of the alps

We went back into the forest. Signs along the trail informed about a lynx pack living in these woods – animal lovers watch out! After a while, we left the forest, crossed the river, and reached an asphalt road. 10 minutes later we made a right onto a trail that led us uphill. From here it’s a 1.5 hours hike to the pass. We were surrounded by mountains and felt as if we were in the heart of the alps: Wildstrubel, Plaine Morte Glacier, and the Alpes Vaudoises on the other side.

Hike up to Truettlisbergpass with views to the swiss alps
Hike up to Trüttlisbergpass with views of the Bernese Alps

Gryden – a walk on the moon

We finally reached the highest point of this hike, the Trütlisbergpass (2040m). This is a great spot for a picnic with a view. From here we looked over to the Gryden, a moonlike landscape that is the landmark of this area (more in the tip section). We sat down and enjoyed the fruits of the hard work, had a snack, and took a nap.

view of the swiss alps from Truetlisbergpass
View from Trüttlisbergpass. On the right the famous Gryden, a moonlike landscape

On the Via Alpina from Trüttlisbergpass into Turbach valley

After the lunch break, a very small path took us down to Alp Wintermatte (1423m). From there we headed into the valley of Turbach. This beautiful valley will test your endurance as it’s quite a stretch. The encounters with many cows along the way distracted us from the fact that our feet started hurting. 

View to Gryden from Betelberg, Lenk, Switzerland
View to Gryden from Betelberg, Lenk, Switzerland

Fondue on the hike to Gstaad

In Turbach village we were tired and took a break in the restaurant Sunne-Stübli. The owner had an intense day and suggested a fondue! We couldn’t resist and recharged our batteries with a lot of hot melted Swiss cheese from the region. Don’t miss it if you have the time. and don’t forget to watch the clock. It took us another 90 minutes to Gstaad.

Profile picture of Solène Stucker, co-founder of Hike&Dine
Solène’s Dine Tip

Hike&Dine: Eat at Restaurant Sunne-Stübli in Turbach

“Fill up your calories with a delicious fondue at the restaurant Sunne-Stübli in Turbach”

We arrived in Gstaad during the golden hour and walked by the big chalets. A stroll through the not-so-Swiss village – along with fashion stores and art galleries – brought this hiking day to an end. At the train station, we realized that our hotel was not in Gstaad but on a hill in the neighboring town of Saanen. 8 hours is enough walking for a day. We took a cab.

gstaad switzerland view from saanen
View to Gstaad from our hotel in Saanen

An easier route from Lenk to Gstaad

Here’s an alternative route for your hike from Lenk to Gstaad. In Lenk, take the cable car to either Stoos or Leiterli. This is a shortcut! Instead of hiking all the way up to Trüttlisbergpass, you can save the first 2 hours. In addition to that, there are two other advantages:
1. You will eat the delicious Rösti-croquettes in Berghaus Beteleberg.
2. You will discover and walk on the Gryden, a moonlike landscape on Betelberg (more on the Gryden in the Must-see box below)
This route is still a medium hike difficult hike, though.

Profile picture of Solène Stucker, co-founder of Hike&Dine
Solène’s Dine Tip

Hike&Dine: Eat at Berghaus Betelberg

Interestingly, the easier route allows you to discover a culinary highlight: The Rösti-Croquettes at Berghaus Betelberg. I would always vote for this variation of the hike. It is simply more delicous”

Hike&Dine Must-see

Gryden: a walk on the moon

We love Lenk so much that we went back for another 3 weeks. During this time we had the chance to explore the region even more. If you can we highly recommend visiting the Gryden. The Gryden is a moonlike landscape. The stones are made of plasters which gives them moonlike colors. If you take the official route of the Via Alpina you will only see them from Trüttlisbergpass but not hike through it. An option is to hike/take the cable car to Betelberg / Leiterli and walk along the Gryden to Trüttlisbergpass.

Matthias standing on the highest point in the Gryden, a moonlike landscape in Lenk, Switzerland.
Matthias standing on the highest point in the Gryden, a moonlike landscape in Lenk.
Practical Information

Prepare your hike on the Via Alpina from Lenk to Gstaad

Get to Lenk and Gstaad by train from anywhere in Switzerland. Look up trains and cable cars directly on the site of the Swiss National Railway (SBB) by typing in the starting point and Lenk or Gstaad as the destination.

There are many options in Lenk from a 5-star palace to a modest room. We liked the Hotel Sternen next to the train station. It offers modern rooms and fair rates.

On the site of SwitzerlandMobility, you can download an altitude profile and find a map of the hike.

Hotel in Gstaad: Book early as it can get very expensive. Alternatively, stay in Saanen village or Schönried where prices are more reasonable. You can get there by train from Gstaad’s train station.

Take a virtual walk (in Swiss German) on Gryden here

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