Lauterbrunnen Obersteinberg

Lauterbrunnen Obersteinberg Classic Loop

A trail runner's dream at the back of Lauterbrunnen Valley

This Run is featured in Run the Alps Switzerland:  30 Must-Do Trail Runs

→ 19km     

↑ 1400

Δ 2146M 

♦ Medium

Θ Clockwise

Before I ever ran this loop, I heard two different friends refer to the back of Lauterbrunnen Valley as a "Happy Place". I too found the place, and more importantly, the energy, to be something unique. Explaining what exactly that feeling is, is difficult. Happy works.

Lauterbrunnen Valley is unarguably one of Switzerland's masterpieces. On each side of the valley sit the car free villages of Mürren and Wengen, and also the tiny village of Gimmelwald. These are the places to which tourists flow, and from them people venture out to explore the area. In the back of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, starting from the town of Stechelberg, is a loop trail requiring a bit more time and commitment, ideal for trail runners. It's never difficult, mostly runnable singletrack, and always scenic as it passes beneath the Jungfrau Region's icy high crest.

I remember the first time we headed up the trail. We passed a typical Swiss barn with a water fountain out front, and as we stopped to top off our bottles, a group of animals walked out to greet us. Suddenly, it felt as if we wandered into a Disney movie as a horse, a couple of goats, and a few chickens stood among us. What the....? They'd emerged from the stalls to satisfy their curiosity, and to get their heads scratched. "Well that was a bit odd...", someone remarked as we continued on.

This is a trail runner's dream track. Plus it has a perfectly situated little lake, the Oberhoresee, and classic, old Swiss mountain hotel, the Obersteinberg, at the end of a long traverse just before you begin your descent back into Lauterbrunnen.

This is Sound of Music stuff, and a trail that should top your "Must see to believe" list. It all adds up to a very Happy Place.

Detailed GPX Track

Download the GPX File and import the route into your phone's mapping app and/or your watch for the full turn-by turn.

The tracks for the Run the Alps Switzerland runs are free for download with book purchase. We hope you’ll support what we do and buy our guidebook prior to downloading these tracks.

GPX Track

Start:  46.54397, 7.90328
Town:  Stechelberg
Canton:  Bern
Country:  Switzerland

  • There are numerous options for this route, to either add on, or make shorter. Study your map.
  • There is abundant water to be found throughout the length of this trail. Also, consider the Obersteinberg as your food source. It comes late on the trail, but at the optimum point before descending.

Run the Alps
Guided and self-guided trips. Come run with us.

trail running lauterbrunnen

This. A trail runner's Happy Place.

trail running lauterbrunnen

Above both sides of the valley are imposing walls, one is ice and rock, the other towering limestone.

trail running lauterbrunnen

The Oberhoresee is a mandatory stop and swim.

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Comments 3

  1. I did this yesterday (a very hot July day) with a colleague (in his mid-50s and I’m in my mid-40’s). It took us a little over 5 hours which included an hour lunch break at the breathtaking Oberhoresee and multiple short stops to take on water and cool down (ca. 3 hrs moving time).

    On arrival in Steckelberg, keep going until you see the ‘road closed’ barrier and the car park on your right. Here you need to pay and display (bring CHF coins).

    The first 7 km is a constant ascent which we covered in a fast walking pace (taking the clockwise loop). Throughout the day we passed lots of hikers who were usually willing to make way. Make sure you make your presence known well in advance, especially if coming from behind, with a friendly “Grüezi miteinand” and a “merci vielmal” as you gently pass. Actually, come to think of it, there were that many tourists, “hello” and “thank you” will probably meet with a greater degree of understanding.

    After leaving Oberhoresee, most of the route was downhill with varying degrees of steepness. I found I could glide over this very quickly, although it is easy to trip up on the sharp stones if you are not concentrating.

    We decided against the Tanzbödeli add-on, mainly because we both don’t like coming back on the same trail. That was the same reason why a few metres after the Berggasthaus Tschingelhorn we decided to take the higher trail back to Stechelberg. That was a big mistake! The trail was layered with thick roots and the constant change of light-shadow made it very tricky to run on without twisting an ankle.

    The lesson of the day: stick to Dan and Kim’s GPX route! Thanks to you both for showing us Switzerland at it’s best!

  2. I did this run yesterday in perfect running conditions. Mild temperatures and sun. I ran a bit extra from and back to Lauterbrunnen, so the total was just 30 KM. But what a cool tour. Running this route shows you the valley from all different angles and you can see waterfalls and glaciers all around you. The stunning view of the Breithorn from Oberhorn lake was the ‘icing on the cake’, while I was soaking my tired feet in the cold water of the lake. The first 7 KM is fairly going up with some technical parts between water and rocks. I was held company by some mountain goats while I making my way up. The flat part in the middle gave a faster pace with time to enjoy the alpine views. Towards Obersteinberg, the trails are not so technical and the flow is going on. Here you can fly down to the restaurant to have a snack or a nice cold drink. From here it’s a fast downhill to Trachsellauenen and back to Stechelberg. Take the original route, because the higher route (but shorter timed route) is way more technical, according to my wife ;). A Wonderfull tour it was in Unesco World Heritage area.

  3. Did this on 9th of September. Trail temporarily closed due to damaged bridge. It’s still possible to get to Oberhornsee via Obersteinberg and make an alternative loop. Still beautiful. Great plunge in the almost dried out Oberhornsee. Also, did it on the day of the Jungfrau Marathon (didn’t know about that), so, no shuttle bus from Lauterbrunnen, consider +5km. I can confirm as said above that the higher route to go back to Stechelberg is a bit more technical and affected by small landslide here and there.

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