100 meters above the valley floor, 170 meters in length: These are the mind-boggling stats of the Trift suspension bridge, a spectacular foot bridge near the Grimsel Pass.
Rewind 140 years. With the railroad, the first tourists appeared in the mountainous regions of Switzerland. In order to fill this new demand for sightseeing and recreation, inventive engineers constructed some of the first cogwheel trains. In fact, the world's first cable car was built at Giessbachfälle in Switzerland, just a stone's throw from the Grimsel area where we are today.
Hiking to the Trift suspension bridge
Many decades after those first tourists arrived, we decided to hike to the Trift suspension bridge in the rugged Grimsel region. This is an interesting example of a place where tourism and commerce converge. First and foremost, the Trift cable car serves a commercial purpose: Transporting the power plant's maintenance workers. We learn that the melt water from the age old Trift glacier is funneled through a turbine before it gushes through the valley towards sea level.
These days, the eight-person cabin is relentlessly transporting hikers from the postal car stop to the trail head. Some members of our group decide to line up, while the rest of us tackles the mountain one step at a time. We all arrive at the trail head about the same time, but some of us are in need of a snack while others tell tales of an adventurous ride.
The round trip hike from the trail head to the suspension bridge leads along the right side of this narrow valley. The terrain is mountainous and the path leads through fields covered with rocks, across bridges and to some gorgeous outlook points.
By the time we reach the main "event" (the bridge), nearly two hours have passed and we are ready for a picnic lunch. This is not an impossible hike, but also no walk in the park.
The longest and tallest suspension bridge of the Alps
The rugged terrain, deep valley floor and steep cliffs make this a spectacular location for a suspension bridge. Everyone has to face the bridge and walk across - no exceptions. It is interesting to see that those who hesitated felt so much more elated when they achieved their goal.
But wait: The only way to continue our hike is on the other side of the Trift bridge where we came from...
Those with 30 minutes of extra energy can climb up to the Windegg Hut. This SAC lodge is a popular vantage point for longer treks, such as across the scenic Furtwangsattel to the town of Guttannen.
On our way down, the decision whether to take the aerial cable car is easy: A line has formed and we decide to hike all the way back to the postal car stop at Nessental.
- Reserve tickets for the cable car in advance (24 francs roundtrip per adult, pick up in Gadmen 15 minutes before scheduled time)
- Hiking information on the Grimselwelt Tourism website
- How to get there (via search.ch)