Harder Kulm - Swiss Alps
Time: 2.5 hours
Start Point: Interlaken Ost train station
Harder Kulm may not be an exciting destination in a country like Switzerland where you're surrounded by beautiful mountains everywhere but I can give you one good reason to do this route - an amazing view towards the great three - Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau.
And it all starts at Interlaken Ost train station.
How do I get there?
You need to get to Interlaken and you can easily get there by car or train, The closest airports nearby are Bern and Zurich and there are connecting trains from there. Keep in mind that trains in Switzerland are very expensive, probably the most expensive in Europe.
Here's a map with the location of Interlaken Ost train station:
As you're looking at this map, you'll be walking to Harder Kulm in the nort western direction (top left from the station).
The route from Interlaken to Harder Kulm, has two main options:
- you can walk the mountain trail
- you can take a cable car
Of course, we'll focus on the first option here. As you start from the Interlaken Ost station station (if you arrive at Interlaken West you can take a train to Interlaken Ost, it's just a few minutes by train or you can walk, it's about 10-15min walk), you'll walk to the right as you were leaving the station and after a couple of minutes you'll get to the bridge crossing the river and the rail tracks.
Here's the map of the trail (click on the image to open full scale version):
Cross the river and the rail tracks and you'll see the cable car station on your right. Go past the cable car station and start ascending following the trail signs.
You will now get into a beautiful dense forest:
Follow the route for about 20-25min until you get to the viewpoint:
From here you'll get a first glimpse of Interlaken from above and surrounding mountains all around.
Follow the path a little bit longer (maybe another 30-40min) as the path goes higher and higher and you get to the point where you will be awarded with some amazing views. That's by the way almost half the route to the top. More about this point in just a moment, first the picturesque path that leads to the opening with views:
As mentioned, when you get to the opening (photo below) this is about halfway through to the top. And this is the place where we started meeting other mountaineers moving towards Harder Kulm (mainly the restaurant, however with amazing views and more on that in just a moment) and that's where we also met some Polish mountaineers...
And here's the view from the opening:
From here, the path starts going in zig-zags and crosses the cable car line a few times (not literally, it goes below it) and a few times goes directly next to the cable car line. This may not be the most beautiful part of the trail at times but once you get to the restaurant, the views are absolutely amazing!
As you walk past the restaurant, you get amazing views all the way around:
The views from the top are truly amazing. It's worthy to climb 2-2.5 hours to get here just to admire the views. If you don't want to climb up, you can take a cable cabin ;-)
And as you may have noticed from the previous photo, in the background you can see the Big Three (from left):
Here's a close up below taken with a long lens (showing the famous North Face of Eiger and Monch):
And there's a terrace (suspended in the air - not for light hearted) with amazing views (and where everyone takes pictures, I had to wait a long time to get a picture with no one in sight):