The Sidelhorn Hike on the Grimselpass – Switzerland
The Sidelhorn Hike on the Grimselpass is one of the best medium-length and medium-difficulty hikes on the Grimselpass. Definitely, the one with the best views. When you reach the top of the Sidelhorn, a breathtaking landscape is finally revealed. Jagged peaks, deep valleys, lakes, and glaciers. The vastness and size of the landscape in front of you.
Sunset on the Sidelhorn
Located between the Swiss cantons of Valais and Bern, this is a popular hike; the Grimselpass is a trendy destination too, and many hike up to get the view. At 2,764 m. altitude, the Sidelhorn is no small mountain, but the top is relatively easy to reach from the Grimselpass.
The Grimselpass is an attraction in its own right. Apart from the location, the drive leading up to the pass, from either side, is very scenic and worth the trip in itself. Additionally, other passes are easily reachable from here: the Furkapass, the Susten Pass and the Gotthard are all close by, and you could easily combine them in the same day-trip itinerary.
View from the top of the Sidelhorn.
Hoe to get to the Sidelhorn and Overview of the Hike
- Getting there: By car, you will need to drive to the Grimselpass and park in any of the available parking areas. If you find a spot, try to park at the Sidelhorn free parking area (click here for directions). By public transport: you can take bus 161, which drives through the Grimselpass and connects the train stations of Meiringen and Oberwald. This means it’s possible to take the train to either of the stations, depending on where you are. You would need to hop off at the Grimsel Passhöhe stop.
- Start of The Hike: Grimselpass, or any parking lots you can leave the car at. Start walking in the general direction of the tall mountain in front of the Sidelhorn free parking area. You will see a few trails heading uphill. You can follow any at the beginning, and they will ultimately converge into the main trail.
- Photography & Scenery value: High-mountain scenery with spectacular views of the Bernese alps, alpine lakes and glaciers.
- Difficulty: Medium. The trail is never too steep or exposed and is easy to follow.
- Tip: The Grimselpass is a bustling destination. If you can, hike this trail as a sunset or sunrise hike.
View from the top of the Sidelhorn
The Sidelhorn Trail
There are several trails leading to the top of the Sidelhorn. However, the hike I am describing here is the easiest, most popular one from the Grimselpass.
I did this hike as a loop. I do a loop whenever I can to view as much as possible of the landscape surrounding the trails. You can, of course, hike up the Sidelhorn and return the same way. However, if you prefer that, I’d recommend choosing the side toward the Grimselsee. The landscape is better from that side.
Part of the trail leading up to the Sidelhorn, looking toward the Grimselpass.
As you leave the Grimselpass and heat toward the trailhead, the trail will slowly gain elevation. The Hike is never steep, and the terrain is generally quite rocky. the summit is not directly visible from the trail until you are a few hundred meters away from it. The top of the Sidelhorn is very rocky, like big boulders rocky. No scrambling is required, but you would have to evaluate your path carefully.
Once you reach the top, a small cairn marks the summit. Take a break, have a snack and enjoy the views!
Photographing the Sidelhorn Hike on the Grimselpass
To me, this hike works best either as a sunrise or sunset hike. It is a relatively short Hike, reasonably easy to reach and has no particular challenges. In Summer, the sun will set behind the mountains to the northwest. At Sunrise, the sun will directly lit the same mountains, bathing them in warm light.
Sunset on the Sidelhorn
On top of that, it is also a great experience just to watch the sun rising and slowly casting its light on the Bernese Alps:
Sunrise on the Sidelhorn
In terms of the best or most scenic spots, the top and the area around the top will give you the best views. Also, The part of the hike toward the Grimselsee also has a few scenic spots that are worth a photo stop:
Sunrise on the Sidelhorn Trail
The Sun rising above the trail.
Early morning clouds
Map of the Sidelhorn Hike
Here is the map of the hike. If you need a GPS track, you can download the .GPX file from the Komoot activity.
Where to Stay
There are a few hotels on the Grimselpass, like the Grimselpass Hotel, the Alpenlodge Grimselpass or the Hotel Restaurant Alpenrösli.
If you decide to camp in the area, be discreet, leave no traces, do not light a fire and make sure you comply with any local regulations. On a clear night, the starry sky is just incredible.