The Trift Bridge (Triftbrücke in German) is one of the most spectacular pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps, and on it, you’ll have a commanding view of the Trift Glacier with its ice tongue and of the milky turquoise glacier lake. Unfortunately, in order to reach it, you have to hike on a T3 (mountain hiking) trail for 1.5 hours. I have some hiking experience in the Alps and I’d rate the trail as demanding, tiring but not really dangerous (scary). In the following chapters, I’ll provide you with some practical information about the hike and show you what you can expect on the bridge as well as on the way.
How to reach the Windegg Hut?
How to reach the Trift Hut?
1. Practical information
1.1 Triftbahn (Trift Gondola)
The most convenient way to reach the Trift Bridge is to take the Trift Gondola to the summit station and then hike from there to the bridge. Of course you can also choose to hike from the lower station to the summit station instead of taking the gondola, but from what I saw on the way, I wouldn’t recommend it for inexperienced hikers. The gondola glides “weightlessly” above the Trift Gorge, taking a maximum of eight people at a time from the Gadmen Valley to the Trift region in only ten minutes.
Timetable (as of 2020):
The funicular is in operation from 6th June to 25th October and the train departs every 24 mins (normally).
|June, September, October
|8:00 – 16:00
|8:00 – 17:00
Ticket prices (as of 2020):
|Children (6 – 16)
- The ticket can be purchased online, at the Grimseltor Tourist Centre in Innertkirchen or at the bottom station of the Trift Gondola. Considering the gondola has a capacity of only 8 people, I strongly recommend you to book your ticket in advance online. Otherwise, on a sunny day, you plan could be totally destroyed because there are no more tickets available.
- The purchased ticket-voucher has to be exchanged at the ticket office of the gondola no later than 15 minutes prior to departure. In exchange for your voucher, you will be given a time card for the ride (ticket with specified time of departure). If you do not show up in time, your ticket will be made available for sale.
- If you want to take public transport to reach the lower station of the gondola, you should get off at the bus stop Nessental, Triftbahn.
- Dogs with more than 30 cm shoulder height need a children’s ticket.
1.2 Tips for the hike
(Distance: 5.6 km, ascent: 424 m, descent: 429 m, duration: 2.5 h)
Please note, this route is rated by the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) as T3 (demanding mountain hike), which means
- the path is not necessarily visible everywhere in the terrain;
- the exposed sections might be fitted with ropes or chains;
- the use of the hands is required for balance;
- the route is marked as white-red-white;
- there are some exposed sections with fall hazard, scree and pathless jagged rocks.
One thing I didn’t like too much about this trail is that you can’t see the suspension bridge or the glacier unless you hike the (medium) mountain trail for more than an hour. For people with little mountain hiking experience, this is a rather difficult task. However, don’t be discouraged because as I mentioned at the very beginning, the trail is demanding and tiring, but except for one or two small sections, I didn’t feel it was very dangerous, which means if you take a bit more time than more experienced hikers, this hike is quite doable.
Here are some tips for you:
- This is a summer trail and is only open from June to October.
- You must have good surefootedness. Good mountain hiking shoes and walking sticks are strongly recommended.
- I recommend you to pack some food and have lunch on the way. Remember to add the picnic time to your total hiking time when booking the gondola tickets.
- There’s a bistro (with WC) at the summit Triftbahn station but I’m not 100% sure whether it serves hot dishes or not. What I’m sure of is that it offers coffee, soft drinks, ice cream and snacks.
- Take enough water (I didn’t see any water fountain on the way or at the lower or summit station) and snacks.
- I hiked on a sunny day in July and was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Sun screen, hat and sunglasses are a must because there’s not much shadow on the way.
- If you are an enthusiastic mountain hiker, you can add the T5 Trift Hut hike (duration (one-way): 3 h) to the Trift Bridge hike. For more information about the Trift Hut, please click here.
- Unfortunately, I don’t think the trail is suitable for small kids.
The main trail lies between the summit station of the Triftbahn and the Trift Bridge. If you feel 3 hours of hiking is not enough, you can also hike between the lower and the summit station of the Triftbahn, to the Windegg Hut SAC (T3) or even to the Trift Hut SAC (T5 demanding alpine hike).
How to reach the Windegg Hut?
On your way from the summit station to the Trift Bridge, you will pass the rock shown in the picture above. If you take the left route, you can reach the bridge in 30 mins and from there, if you take the right route and hike up, you will pass the Windegg Hut and finally arrive at the same rock in about 1 h 10 mins. If you take the right route (from the rock), you will reach the Windegg Hut in half an hour and if you keep walking, you’ll reach the Trift Bridge in another half an hour. As far as I know, the left route (T2) is less challenging than the right route (T3).
How to reach the Trift Hut?
After crossing the suspension bridge, follow the signposts at all times and you should arrive at the hut in about 3 hours. Please note, this is a T5 route, which means only hikers with considerable alpine hiking experience should take it.
2. Highlights on the way
The Trift Suspension Bridge
Located 100 meters above the ground in the Trift region, the 170-meter-long Trift Bridge is one of the most spectacular pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps with spectacular views of the Trift Glacier, glacier lake and the Trift Gorge.
Global warming is causing the glaciers to melt – some, such as the Trift Glacier, especially quickly. About two decades ago, the Trift Hut of the Swiss Alpine Club could be reached on foot via the glacier tongue. In 2004, a suspension bridge was built, as the glacier was no longer high enough for visitors to access the hut. The Trift Bridge, modelled after Nepalese high wire bridges, turned out to be a tourist magnet and was replaced in 2009 with a safer, more accessible bridge, which is considered to be one of the longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps.