Updated: Mar 2
GRIMSEL PASS (2164 m)
Grimsel Pass is traveled by heading south at Innertkirchen on Route 6. The upper section of this route follows the Aare river and is a pretty mild, yet beautiful drive. As you continue the drive south towards Räterichsbodensee, there is a large dam to the right and the drive takes you along the edge of the lake. The Grimselsee is definitely worth stopping at for a view of Grimsel Pass Dam and lunch at Historisches Alpinhotel Grimsel Hospiz.
The final lake on this stretch of the route is Totensee. Again another place to stop for a break or take in the beauty of this high alpine lake. The Berghotel Grimselblick hotel and restaurant is a convenient stopping place. The Kristall Grotte is also on your way around the lake and has a small exhibit of the crystals and minerals native to the area.
Reaching another alpine summit. Look closely and you will see a cyclist in the fog. It is inspiring to see these dedicated cyclists traverse the high mountain passes on nothing but there own horse-power. I am feeling quite accomplished to have made the journey behind the wheel of a sporty German car!
The descent towards the town of Gletsch is amazing and includes 8 switchbacks. The views in the upper Alps are incredible. Lake Totensee can be just barely be seen at the top of last switchback. Photo was taken from a point along the Furka Pass route, which will be the next alpine mountain pass I review in detail.
TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS Hotels
While I would typically recommend staying in a hotel in one of the smaller valley cities off the Grimsel Pass route, the experience of staying in a hotel along the high mountain passes would be amazing I am sure. A couple to consider would be Grand Hotel Glacier du Rhône or the Historisches Alpinhotel Grimsel Hospiz.
Just after about the halfway point you will travel through a tunnel at the Hotel und Naturresort Handeck and there is a parking area for the Gelmerbahn. This is also the spot to stop to take in Handeckfallbrücke bridge, a suspension bridge high across the Aare river. Views are incredible.
At the Gelmerbahn station you can board the funicular train up to Gelmerbahn Bergstation and a final hike to the edge of the brilliant colored Gelmersee. There is a hiking trail that traverses the edge of the entire Gelmersee, with spectacular views. A few kilometers south is the Handegg, Kunzentännlein Trailhead, which leads back up to Gelmersee. There is also a small cheese shop, Alpkäserei Handegg for a sampling of the excellent cheeses from the region.