Less well known than the major Alpine passes of the Bernese Oberland – yet equally rewarding – is the crossing from Grindelwald to Axalp. Leading through wild natural scenery, the mountain trek presents a jewel of a cultivated landscape in the shape of Alp Tschingelfeld.
On fine days, the hiking trail from the First to the Bachalpsee lake can get quite busy, but things change where the path forks above the lake. While the majority of hikers head back down at this point, those who continue towards Axalp soon find themselves tackling the short but steep climb to the Tierwang col. Here, at the highest point of the route, the perspective alters. On the ascent, hikers savour the impressive sight of the range comprising the Schreckhorn, Fisteraarhorn and Eiger; suddenly a view of the Giessbach valley opens up between the slopes of the Schwarzhorn and the Wildgärst. After circumnavigating the Ritzengrätli, hikers will see the Hagelseewli lake in the wide hollow at the base of the Grossenegg. In contrast to the Bachalpsee, the scene here is one of peace and tranquillity.
The descent is extremely steep at first. In no time, the chain of the Brienzer Rothorn and the Augstmatthorn, the intense turquoise of Lake Brienz at its base, comes into focus. The untamed landscape of the Alp Tschingelfeld is defined by the erosive power of water. While the lower reaches of the Bödeli are relatively flat, there are many steep slopes dotted with rock formations higher up.
From Oberberg, the gradient eases as you continue down towards the Lütschentälti before virtually flattening out as you approach Chüemad. The final part of the descent is partly along alpine roads and also traverses alpine meadows on the way to the PostBus terminal at Axalp.
Generations of people have worked for centuries to wrest an alpine livelihood from this wild corner of the world, transforming a wilderness into a landscape of cultivated beauty. The region resembles a patchwork of expansive alpine meadows, species-rich wetlands and protected dry grasslands. In recognition of its diversity and attractiveness, the pasture was awarded the Cultivated Landscape Prize for the East Oberland region in 2019.
Every year, the «Kulturlandschaftspreis» (Cultivated Landscape Prize) is awarded to the most beautiful, and most valuable, areas of cultivated landscape in the East Oberland region. By supporting and promoting the area’s image through tourism, the award incentivises farmers to manage their land sustainably and help preserve our beautiful natural environment.
Looking for more hiking ideas in the Bernese Oberland?
Learn more about the hiking options around lakes Thun and Brienz.