Everything You Need to Know about the Three Valleys Hike in Kandersteg, Switzerland
This hike is your chance to visit three different valleys on the same trip. It starts off with a 3 hour walk into the Ueschinen Valley. Followed by a hike to an elevation of 2735m, providing some spectacular views of the Alps and Adelboden. After crossing the Engstligengrat you descend over Schwarzgratli, past the Schwarenbach Hotel and arrive at the Sunnbüel cable car which takes you back to Kandersteg.
Hiking the Swiss Alps is no joke. Our guides informed us that it was rated a 3 out of 5 on the difficulty rating and considered a "family-friendly" hike. I suppose that Swiss people are generally more fit than Americans and hiking up high altitudes is a common family activity.
The three valleys hike is just outside of Kandersteg and we split it up into two days so we could experience staying in one of the huts on the mountainside in the Ueschinen Valley. The hike up to the hut has a good incline and is challenging enough for novice hikers. You can still get some amazing views on the way to the hut.
But to see the three valleys, you have to keep going up. The inclines get steeper and and trail gets narrower. Having only our camera phones, we don't have many photos as we were hiking because you need both hands to steady yourself along the trail. Parts of the trail are difficult to see. There are also places where we couldn't stop because of the possibility of falling rocks, and the trail was just wide enough for one person – sheer drops down the mountain on one side and sharp, pokey edges of rocks on the other. The top of the ridge is windy and narrow, and it didn't help that more than half of us have a fear of heights. But once we reached the top we were greeted with awe-inspiring views and a mountain-high feeling of accomplishment.
After enjoying the views and finding a place to relax and have some lunch, it was time to start our journey back down. The trail down was different than the one up, and took about twice as long. We crossed over to a different valley, and had long zigzags down the mountainside because it was so steep. At some points we were bouldering down -- which is like rock climbing but with no harness.
I'm very happy to say that we all made it down safely, with no major injuries only a few blisters. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Possibly. I'd like to go on some other new adventures first!
Have you ever hiked the alps? Where do you think we should hike next?
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