Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

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

→ 19km   

↑ 1515m

Δ 2755M 

♦ Medium


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.

Detailed GPX Track

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GPX Track
Start:  46.400556, 7.442054
Town:  Lenk (iffigenalp)
Canton:  Bern
Country:  Switzerland

  • 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.

To save routes, download GPX tracks, and navigate offline subscribe to SwitzerlandMobility Plus.

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Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

Sunset waterfalls on grassy cliffs...now that's a gorgeous run setting.

Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

Beside lakes and glaciers between the cols.

Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

The journey continues along the Chilchligletscher.

Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

A long moraine leads to the Wildhornhütte.

Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

Down from the alpine world, yellow blossoms and chocolate flowers line the trail.

Trail running near Lenk, Iffigenalp, Switzerland

Smooth trail along the Iffigsee and back to pastures.

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Comments 2

  1. Your Tour is described in CW, but on some photos you are running CCW 😉 So I decided to do this CCW. At the Rawil-Lakes, still good weather condition,I decided to make the extension over the Tierbergsattel -Flueseeli-Siebenbrünnen-Langermatten and back to Iffigenalp. Its 30 km and 2200 Hm. The part from Rawil lakes to Tierbergsattel is a stone desert, but afterward its a great extension and worth every extra km and Hm.
    As an alternative, or for the second day, you can run this “extra” as a tour alone, from Iffigenalp to Rawil lakes and further on. Possible CW or CCW. Its about same Distance and Ascending as your Tour.

    1. Good eye, yes, we did it CCW but realized it might flow better CW. Good beta about the extension, I personally love the stone desert look and feel.Thanks! Now, go see if you can figure out which other tours we did the same direction change on, that’s certainly not the only one. 😉

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