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Trekking

Oklahoma
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Trekking

We are a fit couple in our 60's. We are comfortable hiking in the Rockies, but we don't do technical.

We will be in the Alps for the month of September. We will fly in and out of Geneva, but also want to include the Dolomites.

Our plan is to spend a few days south of Geneva on day hikes to "get our legs," then do several multi-day high-altitude hut hikes, then wind up at lower altitudes as the high huts close. It would be ideal if a multi-day hike could land us in a small village where we could rest for the next multi-day hike, which would land us in the next, etc., as we work our way east.

Glaciers are of particular interest, and my husband (a geologist) is experienced walking on them, but I am not.

Public transport, of course, with minimal packs only. We prefer to avoid touristy locations. We prefer to interact with locals. We are on a limited budget.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Paris, France
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1. Re: Trekking

MsNomer,

Sorry, but after reading your post two times I'm still not sure that I understand your plans. If you're hiking South of Geneva, I guess that you'll be in France, near Annecy, and then work you way east. Maybe we could offer more help if we know the name of the region where you would like to hike. Here's a link for some hikes, of all sorts, in Switzerland. You can use the search criteria to narrow down the results.

myswitzerland.com/en.cfm/interests/hiking/of…

A friend of mine did the Aletsch glacier hike last year and really enjoyed it. It might be of interest to your husband.

myswitzerland.com/en.cfm/interests/hiking/of…

London
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2. Re: Trekking

If you are interested I can point you towards some nice half day or day hikes in the prealps at the Montreux end of Lake Geneva. There are some easy ones or some more challenging ones that would act as a good warm up for serious hikers.

Here's an example of what I mean to see if this interests you:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188045-i336-k2647…

Let me know if you would like some more information.

Oklahoma
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3. Re: Trekking

Oops, I understand your confusion. I don't have the national boundaries straight in my mind, yet.

The intent, at least at this point, is that except for the Dolomites at one end and perhaps Chamonix at the other, most of the time would be spent in Switzerland.

Thanks for those links. They give me something to chew on.

bern
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4. Re: Trekking

It's a long trip to the Dolomites. Mountains that are closer to Geneva are great. But if you have a full month there is no problem to include them.

I can not tell you much about hiking in France and Italy. Public transport in Switzerland (specially to remote places) is much better. Hiking is very popular here so you will find a very good network of trails but also mountains hut, restaurants, and transport (train, bus, cable cars, etc). It's mostly small scale tourism with much chances to get in contact to local hikers, farmers and cows with bells ;-)

Most mountain huts belong to the SAC, accomondation is simple, but not too expensive and people there can help you with weatherforecast to choose the best trail and other questions. www.sac-cas.ch

You can get good hiking maps in Switzerland or here …admin.ch/internet/…hiking.html

The yellow and red hiking trails are no problem for expericenced hikers, blue ones inclued glaciers and the trail can often not be seen.

Hiking on glaciers is only for good hikers (crevasse) The only exceptions I know are the one hour hike Jungfraujoch to Moenchsjoch hut and the longer hike from the the Sanetsch mountain Pass to the Glacier3000 for this one see glacier3000.ch/en/Summer/Activities/Hiking/

Or you can do guided tours. For example in Zermatt, the Jungfraujoch area or the Engadin.

For public transport (bus, train, boat, cable cars, funiculairs, trams, etc) see www.sbb.ch/en some smaller cable cars are not included in the website. You should find their timetables on the website of the town there. website is for example www.zermatt.ch www.lesdiablerets.ch etc.

It's a good choice to buy a transport pass for Switzerland. I'm sure you will end up buying one of the following passes: Half Fare Card, Swiss Flexi Pass or Swiss Pass. see www.swisstravelsystem.ch

For the trip to the Dolomites I recomend for at least one way the route via the national park and Ofen Pass. From the Engadin (great hiking) you get to the Val Mustair, one of the most remote areas in this country. Just across the border in Italy the smallest city Glurns is worth a stop. Then a modern train takes you through the an apple tree region. In Meran you will find corresponding trains and busses to the Dolomites. Busses in that part of Italy are good but it's sometimes confusion when and were they are leaving.

Here some hiking areas I like

For the start: How about the Gstaad area www.gstaad.ch for example Saanen. The mountains here are not that high, good hiking trails are everywhere and also small cable cars that bring you back.

completely diffrent are the Jura mountains. Much nature, very small scale tourism big forests, horses and if weather is good: great view of the Alps, lake Geneva, and cities.

Zermatt has a lot of tourist, but mountains and hiking options are unique. It's also a place where you can experience high alitude. www.zermatt.ch

The Ticino, not what most poeple expect from Switzerland: palm trees, Italian language and influence, great lakes in the Southern part and serveral good hut to hut hikes in the high up nothern part. www.ticino.ch www.ritom.ch www.robiei.ch

The Engadin valley: high up mountain valley, many small and historic towns the national park, good trails, etc. www.engadin.ch www.scuol.ch

lake lucerne area www.luzern.ch The Junfrau area www.wengen.ch and www.interlaken.ch

A geologist must go to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glarus_thrust nice towns in that area are Elm, Flims/Lax, Bad Ragaz, Glarus, Murg

Paris, France
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5. Re: Trekking

mube, Thanks for that link on the Glarus Thrust. I shared the information with my daughter, a soon-to-be geologist.

MsNomer, Not to overwhelm you with websites, but here is another interesting link about the Cultural Routes of Switzerland. They are organized as approximately week long walking tours, but you could also adapt the itinerary to fit your needs and budget. Unfortunately, not all of the information has been translated into English yet.

http://www.kulturwege-schweiz.ch/?L=1

bern
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6. Re: Trekking

Those hikes take the old ways through Switzerland. They are usually technical easy to do (mostly you don't even need hiking boots), but include sometiems big altiutde diffrences. I've done small parts of the via Stockalper. It's a very beautiful area, but which mountains are not great?

Many of those trails don't go through the mountains! Also staying in hotels usually means overnight in a town or near a road. I would do it if you like to go in a group or if you are very interested in that old culutre part.

Most mountain huts of the SAC are on the mountains and can only be reached on foot. Some towns have packages for serveral day hikes including overnight stays on the mountains.

bern
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7. Re: Trekking

@sojo, sorry I should read more carfully. I thought the post was from MsNomer.

Oklahoma
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8. Re: Trekking

Whew. You guys have given us a lot to chew on. Thanks.

Paris, France
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9. Re: Trekking

Mube, Thanks for the additional information about the Cultural Routes of Switzerland. I've only done parts of Les Chemins du Gruyère and didn't realize that they aren't really what the OP is looking for. At least she'll have one less website to look at!

Not to hijack this thread, but I saw in a much older thread that you had recommended the restaurant at the Schloss Schadau in Thun. We're going to Thun tomorrow and are trying to decide between the Schloss and the Hotel Restaurant Schönbühl for lunch. Any advice?

Seattle
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10. Re: Trekking

If you interest is glaciers, I can think of no better place to spend your first few days than the Aletschgletscher area. Specifically, stay in Bettmeralp:

www.bettmeralp.ch or Riederalp

www.riederalp.ch

Above Riederalp there is a rustic mountain inn that is a good budget option, as well as an historic hotel:

pronatura.ch/aletsch/…ferienzimmer.html

artfurrer.ch/de/navpage-RiederfurkaAF-HotelR…

We always stay in Bettmeralp, where the hotels start at 3-star, so are more expensive. But the search engine at www.bettmeralp.ch shows a number of apartments available in September for as little as 150 CHF for a 3-night stay---very reasonable, probably because it is low season. (If you rent an apartment, just make sure that "end-cleaning" is incuded in the price.)

You can do fantastic day hikes from either village. One includes a long traverse on the rideg above the glacier, with several side-trails that drop to the glacier's edge (quite formidable). The glacier is on the other side of the ridge that rises behind these two villages. They are linked by a walking path (20 minutes) and you reach either one by cablecar from the valley floor. The cable car stations are a few minutes' train ride east from Brig, on th eline that runs up the Rhone valley. The villages themselves are perched on benches high above the valley. This area is east of Geneva rather than south, but not far.

I would suggest you obtain copies of two books that describe mountain inns and multi-day hiking treks in Switzerland. These will be very helpful in planning your trip.

The first is "The Alpine Pass Route", by Kev Reynolds, which describes in detail a walking path through the mountains across Switzerland (west to east or east to west). You could pick selected sections of that, starting in one village and ending at another. The section from kandersteg to mürren over two high passes (Hohtürli and Sefinenfurka) is a classic stretch; there are several hut and inn ooptions along that section. You could walk it in 2 days by rushing (overnigh in the Kiental) or stretch it to 3 or 4 if you want to explore.

These are the highest passes on the route, and early snow could be a problem i September. but there are many other sections you could choose as well.

amazon.com/Alpine-Route-Cicerone-Mountain-Wa…

Another book I love is "Swizterland's Mountain Inns"

europeforvisitors.com/switzaustria/articles/…

amazon.com/Switzerlands-Mountain-Inns-Walkin…

This one lists many of these remote and rustic inns in various parts of Switzerland, and suggests hikes from each. You could link several of them together, or combine with SAC huts, to make a nice multi-day hike.