Switzerland: Grimsel Pass
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
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.
Links to more information about the "Big 5" Alpine Passes: Susten Pass Grimsel Pass Furka Pass St Gotthard Pass Nufenen Pass