Lenk-Iffigenalp: Running through a wild corner of the Berner Oberland
Traveling past waterfalls, over karst, and higher to glaciers, this run is a trip from pastures to alpine and back
Racing the sunset at the end of our run, we merged with a herd of grazing sheep. We stood watching them, and they watching us. They were the first to run again, and eventually outran us as we all bounded down the same slope. As they turned away from our trail and our paths split, the echo of their clanging bells dissapeared behind a green hill in one of those not so rare moments in the Alps that seem almost too beautiful to be real.
Beyond Lenk in the Simmental, this run from Iffigenalp tours through glowing green pastures, beside turquoise lakes, and up to rocky alpine trails. It's outside of the main attractions of the Berner Oberland, and absolutely worth the visit.
Starting steeply uphill through the forest, the trail quickly climbs to exposed green curves cut out of the cliffside beneath the waterfalls. The uphill continues to reach the Rawilpass and briefly into the Valais. From this pass, a wide dirt path leads through a remote high plain until you're slowed down by the white karst at Plan des Roses. The next pass reenters the Berner Oberland beside the Chilchligletscher.
Following a grey scree morrain, the terrain is wild, but actually fairly easy to run. The buffed track winds down to the Wildhornhütte, a large stone and wood hut with a welcoming patio. From there a run down to the Iffigsee and its flowery pastures curves back to the start.
Another run to try, Gantrisch isn't so far away.
Start: 46.400556, 7.442054
Town: Lenk (iffigenalp)
The section of kast between the passes requires caution, but the rest of the route is tiptop running.
- Cars can drive between Iffigenalp from Restaurant Alpenrösli (shortly past Lenk) during a fifteen minute window on the half hour to go up and on the hour to come back down.
- For more running in the Lenk area, take a look at the Swiss Trail Tour, a three day stage run held each September.
Sunset waterfalls on grassy cliffs...now that's a gorgeous run setting.
Beside lakes and glaciers between the cols.
The journey continues along the Chilchligletscher.
A long moraine leads to the Wildhornhütte.
Down from the alpine world, yellow blossoms and chocolate flowers line the trail.
Smooth trail along the Iffigsee and back to pastures.
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