Gemmi Pass - Bernese Alps
Time: 4 hours
Start Point: Leukerbad Gondola lift station, 3954 Leukerbad
Gemmi Pass may not sound like an exciting destination, even at its height of 2270m above sea level. And yet, it's beautifully located and it's an exciting route to get there. And it all starts in Leukerbad.
How do I get there?
You need to get to Leukerbad and it's easiest to drive there, There is no airport nearby so this is the fastest and easiest way to get there.
Looking at the map with the location of Leukerbad, you wouldn't assume that it's located in such an amazing place.. I remember looking at the map and thinking "Ok. it's a small town in a valley. Not a big deal." You wouldn't believe how wrong I was...
Here's a map with the location of Leukerbad:
I still remember driving to Leukerbad. Yes, it's located in the valley. However, the valley is located high up in the mountains... and the road leading to it is like the ones you see often in films (one of these Alpine roads that make you stop breathing...)
Once you get to Leukerbad, you're welcomed by fresh clean mountain air and quietness of the place.
Leukerbad's location is very impressive because it's surrounded by the cliffs. I remember driving so slow (it was getting dark and it started raining) that when we stopped at traffic lights in the middle of nowhere, an officer approached me and asked if I was drinking ;-)
After he realised I wasn't local, he just left us alone ;-)
Here's what Leukerbad looks like (on the far right of the image there is a road which leads into Leukerbad, the one we drove):
The route from Leukerbad to Gemmi Pass, according to many authorities on the subject, is a historic walk often described as a classic among classics.
As I mentioned, we started in Leukerbad. From Leukerbad we took the route leading towards the Gemmi Pass, which normally takes 4hours and 15minutes. The route is of medium difficulty.
The route is different to what you would normally expect. I mean it's just a route towards a pass, right? Well, it's a beautiful route with amazing views over the valley which leads into Leukerbad. The trail is steep and long. There are signposts on the route so you can't get lost.
This is the map of the route we took (the red route shown here), which leads onto Gemmi Pass, and then to the right towards the mountain restaurant/cafe:
The track goes along beautiful meadows and then gets on a rocky terrain.
That's one of the images taken on the route just upwards from Leukerbad:
The route gets quite steep. in some places, as you can see in the photograph here, there are steel rails on the sides of the route.
Otherwise, it's a nice steady climb. It's quite popular with local people (and some tourists), especially since there is a beautiful cafe/restaurant on the top just off the pass. More on that later.
And after about 4 hours, you get to the pass. And it's really beautiful, with a beautiful lake nearby.
From the pass we turned right towards the cafe/restaurant. It's just a short walk from there, maybe about 10min or so.
As you walk from the pass towards the restaurant, you get amazing views all the way around. And here's what the restaurant looks like (with all the tourists on the terrace):
The views from the top are truly amazing. It's worthy to climb 4 hours to get here just to admire the views. If you don't want to climb up, you can take a cable cabin ;-)
Here's the view you get on the top (click on the image to see it bigger):