Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.
End of June 2023.
Before considering putting this amazing hike on YOUR bucket list, watch this one minute VIDEO. It’s not for everyone.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
I first hiked Harder Ridge in 2018. Quickly concluded that it was my favourite day hike anywhere.
I got the chance to return in 2023. Booked 3 nights in Interlaken, Switzerland — hoping for good weather.
Weather report was good, not great. If rain or lightning looked likely, I would either descend on a side trail or backtrack to the start.
Happily, weather was mixed all day. No rain. No slippery trails. People have died hiking Harder Ridge. There’s not much exposure, but I could see it happening at a few spots. Especially in snow, ice, or mud.
- I took 10 hours on both my days.
- at least 18km on sharply defined ridge
- should absolutely never be attempted when wet
- some scrambling required
- Brienz to Interlaken with motorized assistance getting up to and descending from the ridge
Don’t hike the other direction. Logistics are easier starting in Brienz. And it’s safer as the last 2 hours (when your legs are tired) is on easier trails.
Every half hour a train runs from Interlaken to Brienz.
Across the street from the train station is the historic steam train from Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn Station. It’s been making this run since 1891.
It takes an hour to get to the top of the ridge 2351m.
A bit foggy on arrival. Bit of a worry.
This is NOT an official trail. You’ll see warnings.
This first half is unsigned. But you can’t get lost as the trail stays as close to the ridge top as possible.
Early on there is a technical section with stone steps and cable hand assist. It could be tricky when completely covered with snow.
I thought I’d be faster my second time. NOPE. It still took me 10 hours though I tried to move quickly with only short stops for photos and video.
At times you’ll wonder if that next climb is even possible. It is. 😀
There were plenty of wildflowers. Plenty of insects end of June.
This is a great hike to carry a drone.
The first time here, I was disappointed not to see any Ibex. This time mama blocked the trail for about 10 minutes. She had two little ones with her so I was cautious in making my way past.
I wouldn’t recommend bringing a dog on this one. There are too many sharp stones.
The final 6km are in the trees and it’s a relief to finally reach that section.
Both times — however — I found I was no faster here than on the naked ridge.
I was still worried about making the last funicular down from Harder Kulm. End of June it left at 9:45pm. I was on the last one.
It is fantastic to be delivered right back to Interlaken after 10 hours on foot.
We have more information on our Harder Ridge information page.