This short but intense hike in Bern, Switzerland leads from alpine meadows through pine forests to the limestone peak of Sigriswiler Rothorn and back down in a nice little loop.
- Some unsecured exposed areas plus semi-climbing spots (you’re probably going to need your hands to get up some of the steeper rocky bits) mean hikers should be sure footed and have a good head for heights.
Having confirmed my recent minor injury was sufficiently healed and would let me hike without issues during last week’s easy Hallwilersee long walk (I just can’t call it a hike), I jumped at the chance of getting in at least one more hike to a decent height this year, as this appeared to be the only dry and warm day in- and for a while.
The weather was perfect, and I enjoyed the steep inclines without getting as hot (and drenched) as in mid summer, while my merino wool tee kept me warm enough during the slightly chilled windy bits.
A bit more than halfway up, I came across what seemed like a tunnel entrance, judging by the hiking path leading up to it. According to my map, this would lead underneath the peak and to the other side of the mountain. At the time, this seemed a bit too far out of my way and the “enter at your own risk” sign warned me off. Plus, I forgot my head lamp at home.
Still, I regret not having checked it out at least a bit, so I did the next best thing: Look it up once I was home. Seems this tunnel called Schafloch “Sheep’s hole”, used to be a natural ice tunnel that was widened and fortified by the Swiss army back when their doctrine was to retreat to the mountains if invaded (leaving the civilians to their own devices). Now it’s abandoned and open to hikers (at their own risk). Some more info (in German) and what it looks like from the inside:
The remainder of the ascent consisted of your typical mountain trails interspersed with the aforementioned exposed areas and almost-climbing spots. All with great views, of course.
I have to say the path to the top was really fun, though I can’t put my finger on what made it special.
Once there, the views stole the show, naturally. Bernese Alps with Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau in one direction, Jura in the other, and all almost unobstructed (apart from that majestic wall of a ridge there) make this one of the best panoramas I’ve seen, at least from a mere 2k peak. It helps that the peak is relatively flat, grassy, comfortable, and not occupied by a restaurant with a cable car station. Not to give anyone any ideas here.
The late season and the winds did mean I chose to have lunch a bit further on the way back, which turned out to be a wise decision, as it meant I would be taking a break and eating in this little chunk of paradise, which looks much nicer when not photographed against the sun.
One easy descent later I was back at the car and filled with memories of an awesome trail with awesome views and an awesome experience of a day. Awesome.
I’m glad I took a good weather day off from work to do this – the lack of a crowd certainly helped the atmosphere.
Would you like to share your own experiences with this hike? Do you have any questions? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
Route Report / Gallery
Don’t miss a hike 🙂
|Date of Hike:||2022-09-23|
|Net Hours (Est.)||5|
|Net Hours (Act.)||4.2|
|Max. Alt. (m)||2006|