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Schynige Platte Panoramic Walk

Switzerland, Bönigen
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Schynige Platte, a high mountainous area at the foot of Gumihorn, and located between Gsteigwiler and Gündlischwand in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland, is the starting point for a network of hiking trails available to hikers of all skill levels.

This panoramic walk has the highest ratio of breathtaking views per time spent. So, if you're just getting acquainted with the Interlaken hiking area, then this is the guaranteed way to fall in love with the region immediately.

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To start with, the train ride to get there is already more than worth your while. The cogwheel train, dating from 1893, offers spectacular views of Lake Brienz and the Jungfrau. The little carriages have upright wooden seats, most of them open sided with striped curtains, providing a perfect setting for atmosphere conveying photos.

Trains run mostly around the hour from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte, taking about 50 minutes to get to the top. (The last ride is at around 5pm, so better to start your journey early to have more time available to spend at the top.)

Soon after departure from Wilderswil, mountain air floods my lungs and I can’t help but feel excitement in anticipation of our upcoming walk. I try to take it all in; the mountain slopes as green as green can be, snow-capped peaks and the crispness of the blue sky. What an absolute fantastic sight!



I Make Another Discovery on the Way

Apart from the picturesque scenery is it very important that I tell you about a discovery I made during the trip: Be prepared to get a chill running down your spine, and that is not from the sight of a ghost. Oh no!

The location of a nearby glacier can affect the temperature around you without warning and within seconds. Even in the middle of summer, such as in July, might the city down at the bottom be hot; most people walk around with summer clothes and shorts. But as soon as you travel up the mountains will the scenario change entirely. And yes, it might get freaking cold!

So, check the weather forecast and always take warm clothes with you on the trip.

(Another discovery we made was the location of Swiss wool blankets underneath the train seats. We were ecstatic at the discovery and draped them snugly around us.)

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The main attraction of Schynige Platte is considered to be the Alpengarten, the entrance to which is located directly at the end of the train station. It is showcasing the same plants that carpet the hillsides but with the added benefit of information labels and biological names. There is also a huge, man sized photo frame in the garden, which provides a perfect backdrop of the majestic towering range of the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

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On the left there is the Oberberghorn - a sharp, rocky peak with a wooden staircase leading up the last stretch. There's a panoramic viewpoint at the very top of it. And slightly covered in clouds is the Loucherhorn right in the center of this photo.

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Gumilhorn (2100m), doesn't look massive from the southern side, but later it appeared to be a stone giant with dramatic cliffs. (The turquoise blue of Lake Thun, can be seen in the background.)

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In the eastern direction (right hand side in this photo,) is the classic Schynige Platte - Grindelwal First hiking trail.

It involves a whole day of hiking, and passes by the Sagistalsee (Sagistal Lake) and Bachalpsee (Bachalp Lake), with the highest point at Faulhorn (2680m) Mountain. Definitely one of the most rewarding trails for mountain wanderers. Quite demanding though. But hey; no pain, no gain!

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Here is another view on the massive, Gumilhorn.

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Lake Brienzs’ turquoise color is attributed to glacial deposits. So-called ‘glacial flour’ comes from the glacial river that feeds the lake.

The river comes directly from the glacier through an impressive, Rosenlaui glacial gorge called Gletscherschlucht. It makes Lake Brienz so clean, that the fish in it is actually dying off because there aren’t enough algae to eat. The water is of drinking quality and very cold.

While it might look like the lake is very shallow, in fact it is ~200 meters deep, which I would say is a lot!

Here, staying on the cliff almost 2000 meters above the lake, I was catching a moment to make a photo. That day clouds were playing Formula-1, and I was like jumping from one cloud into another. In my opinion is this photo location one of the best in the Alps.

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I was getting back to the Schynige Platte Station via the western side of the panoramic trail. The main group of 4000m giants always grasps the attention.

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There are numerous benches of various forms and styles along the way. This one is very Spartan, but some of them feel like sofas under the open sky.

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Lake Thun.

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Finally, I returned near the starting point, where the Schynige Platte Restaurant is located. There's dramatic local scenery, with various peaks and lakes, and grand views of the main range above to the south, with a row of peaks over 4000m. Some of them are the Eiger, Monsch and Jungfrau. The names are available from this panoramic plate at the restaurant terrace.

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