Nina Lütolf’s hiking tip: the Arvenseeli lakes in Kandersteg!

The hiking bug: crystal clear water

The Bernese Oberland doubtless offers many opportunities for spending a day in the mountains. Are you looking for a small hike that won’t take you all day, but still gives you the full mountain experience? Then look no further, but try the hike from Sunnbüel Valley Station up to the Arvenseeli – the three mountain lakes above Kandersteg. You will find them on the Sunnbüel alpine plateau at a height of 1888 metres above sea level. The border with Valais Canton lies just a few hundred metres further north.

The hike starting point is Kandersteg station. Kandersteg is a small Bern municipality, which you can reach directly by train from Bern in just over an hour. After you have made your way through Kandersteg to Sunnbüel Valley Station, you have two options: either you can continue to follow the hiking trail in Eggenschwand to get to the lakes within 2 hours, or you can turn left towards Gasterntal and reach the lakes in just an hour and a half. The latter takes you over the arched stone bridge over the River Kander, which is worth stopping to admire and to photograph. For this hiking tip we’re going to limit ourselves to the second route. The hiking trail continues to follow the River Schwarzbach towards Gasterntal and passes the Waldhaus Hotel. If you need an energy boost, you should refuel here, because the route leaves it to follow a mountain hiking trail. A picturesque but steep path zigzags its way up many metres of altitude, then follows the beautiful Schwarzbach, leading past some lovely picnic sites, until it finally reaches the Sunnbüel alpine plateau. From here you can again comfortably pick up the hiking trail to the alpine lakes in just a few minutes. Allow yourself a break here to enjoy the view. And if you don’t mind the cold, a short swim in the blue water is an absolute must. Incidentally, there’s also a firepit with wood and benches at the furthest lake.

You can return the way you came, or take the easy way by riding down to Sunnbüel Valley Station on the cable car. Alternatively, you can, of course, start various hikes from here, or take another wander around the lakes.

Difficulty

For the most part this is a simple hike. However, you should not underestimate the climb up the mountain hiking trail, because it is steep and requires a little dexterity and endurance.

Duration

Depending on your pace, of course, you should allow a total of maybe 2-3 hours.

Good to know

The Arvenseeli lakes are fed by meltwater. In spring and early summer, and depending on snow levels, the lakes are full of water for a shorter or sometimes longer period. Over the summer, when there is no meltwater, the Arvenseeli dry up accordingly. The lakes’ current condition is always summarised on the Kandersteg-Sunnbüel Cable Car website (in German), so you can be sure that the lakes will still be full of water when you plan your hike.

 

References
Arvenseeli | Luftseilbahn Sunnbüel bei Kandersteg (sunnbuel.ch)
Arvenseeli • Wanderung » TALK White Label Web (meine-berge.ch)

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