This mountain torrent may not be as well known as the Giessbach Falls near Lake Brienz, yet its upper reaches flow through a picture-perfect landscape that is accessible via a highly appealing hiking trail.
In fact, the torrent, which rises on the northern face of the Faulhorn, has even more to offer than its better-known rival. To the west of the Axalp, it runs through secluded and greatly varying landscapes. For hikers, a circular route delivers the full benefit of this splendid mix of wilderness and cultivated land.
The starting point is Bramisegg, halfway between Brienz and the Axalp. A moderately climbing forest road leads into the Giessbachtal valley, initially running above a narrow gorge before petering out in a peaceful high-alpine valley. Here the River Giessbach is a calm mountain stream flowing through an expanse of pastures. On the other side of the stream, a somewhat rough path leads up to the Botchenhals. From here you follow the mild descent to the Schartenboden, where you branch off and head back downhill. Pass the Staatshütte and go through the Bauwald forest on a well-developed, winding road. A steep and narrow little path (exposed in places) leads back to the Giessbachtal valley; alternatively, hikers can take the road leading to the far end of the valley floor. Hikers head back to the start point at Bramisegg via Uti and Schweibenalp.
Alp Botchen is a tranquil corner of paradise that claimed the Cultivated Landscape Prize for the East Oberland region in 2014. Here the pastures are dotted with mighty sycamores, the Giessbach babbling between. Despite its situation amid a landscape of untamed mountain peaks, the area is reminiscent of a park.
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.
Want to discover yet more hiking trails?
Learn more about the various hiking opportunities in the Bernese Oberland.