If you ever have to travel between the Swiss cantons Bern and Valais, consider not taking the “quick” car transport at Lötschberg, but the slightly longer, ever so beautiful route over the Grimselpass. Not only can you enjoy the wonderful view, but you might even decide to take a detour and hike around while you’re already there.
I can highly recommend hiking to the Oberaar glacier (Oberaargletscher). The hike is easy, short and very beautiful. Getting there takes a bit of organisation, but it’s well worth it. In order to reach the glacier you’ll have to take the Panaroma street from the top of the Grimsel pass. This street only opens every hour for 10 minutes and takes about 15-20 minutes one way. Coming from the Grimsel pass it opens every 00-00.10 and on the way back from 00.30-00.40. A day pass for the parking lot costs CHF 5.
This all sounds like a bit of a hassle, but you won’t regret it. Not only is the Panorama street a small adventure in itself, the hike will also make up for it. It’s a perfect hike for those who are travelling and neither have the time nor the energy for a long and difficult hike, but still want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. Most of the hike is straight with a small descent and ascent towards the end. Back and forth the hike takes about 2-2.5 hours, depending on how close you want to get to the glacier.
If you have some more time and energy to spare, I was told by a friend that it’s possible to continue hiking a bit further. He went a couple of days before I went and he told me he had spotted some ibexes some 30 minutes after the end of the trail. Ibexes are pretty rare to see, but since they live in territories, he suspects chances are big to see them there again. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get to the end of the end of the official trail, as I went with my mum and she wanted to return.
The hike leads along the lake Oberaar with a constant view on the glacier. But in my opinion the glacier is not the only highlight of this hike. Personally, I was equally impressed by the abundant variety of alpine flowers. I’ve hiked in so many places, not only in Switzerland, but I can’t recall a hike where I’ve seen as many flowers as during this hike (I did the hike towards the end of July).
Apart from the flowers, the views are obviously also great. But what can I say? Just check the pictures and judge for yourself.