Julie Switzerland 42 Comments

The Northface Trail in Mürren has a little bit of everything…stunning mountain views, small hamlets and chalets tucked away amidst the mountains, flower-filled alpine meadows, and pastures filled with cows and their musical bells.

This is an easy walking trail that is done as a loop from Mürren. Along the way, you are treated to spectacular views of Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau as well as views over the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You also have the option to add on Sprutz waterfall.

Here’s how to do it.

Northface Trail Hiking Stats

Distance: 7.4 km (4.6 miles) loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 380 meters (1,250 feet)
Length of Time: 2.5 hours
When to go: It is best to do this walk from May through October.

Northface Trail Map Murren Switzerland

Map of the Northface Trail. The walking path is yellow, the Allmendhubel funicular is blue, and the detour to Sprutz waterfall is red.

Northface Elevation Profile

Elevation profile of the hike. This includes the detour to Sprutz waterfall which accounts for the extra distance (the detour to the waterfall adds on 1 km to the hike).

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

 

The Northface Trail

Step-By-Step Trail Guide

Getting to the Trailhead

The Northface Trail is done as a loop and it starts and ends in Mürren.

Since this is done as a loop, you can start this hike from several different places in Mürren.

Most people start at Schilthorn Cableway station and walk the loop clockwise, ending with a ride down the Allmendhubel funicular.

However, you can do this in the opposite direction. Start at the Allmendhubel funicular and ride it to Allmendhubel, and then walk the trail counterclockwise, ending at the Schilthorn Cableway. This makes this walk slightly easier, since the funicular eliminates a small amount of elevation gain.

We started at the Schilthorn Cableway station and walked the trail clockwise. There are some brief climbs along the way but nothing too strenuous.

This post is written with the walk starting at Schilthorn Cableway station and going clockwise, ending with a ride down the Allmendhubel funicular.

On the Northface Trail

The trail is well marked. From the Schilthorn cableway station, and any time you come to a fork in the trail, simply follow the blue trail sign labeled “Northface Trail.”

Northface Trail Sign

 

From the Schilthorn cableway station, the trail starts off as a wide paved pathway. It’s an easy climb and from the top of the first hill you will have a nice view over Mürren.

On the Northface Trail

First View of Murren

 

The trail heads into farmland and changes into a narrow, dirt trail. You will pass small houses and farms and have wonderful views of the mountains.

Northface Trail from Murren

Detour to Sprutz Waterfall

Sprutz waterfall is a lovely waterfall tucked away in a forest. We liked it because you can walk behind it and even midday in July, we had it all to ourselves.

Sprutz Waterfall

Behind Sprutz Waterfall

To get here, it takes 15 to 20 minutes of walking, one way, on a trail through the forest. As you approach the forest on the Northface Trail, there will be a sign pointing to the trail to Sprutz waterfall.

From the Northface Trail, it is a mostly downhill walk to get to the waterfall, which means that it will be an uphill walk to get back on the Northface Trail.

Worth it? Maybe. If you have the time and the energy for some extra walking, and like the idea of visiting a waterfall tucked away in the woods, then the walk to Sprutz is worth it. You should just know that you won’t have beautiful views of the mountains on this detour, since you will be in a forest the entire time.

Back on the Northface Trail

After the detour to Sprutz waterfall, the Northface Trail really gets good. Now, you are walking through a gorgeous valley, past small farms with their rustic barns and cows grazing in the fields, with Schilthorn looming over you.

Farm on Northface Trail

Northface Trail Switzerland

Northface Trail in July

The Northface Trail with Birg and Schilthorn in the distance.

Some houses on the trail offer bathrooms, food, and water, should you need these.

As we walked up the trail, two goats greeted us, which was a wonderful surprise. They checked us out, head-butted my camera a few times, and posed for photos for Kara.

Goats on Northface Trail

Goat Face

Kara and the Goats

 

From the valley, it is a short but steep climb, but once at the top, the views are incredible. Now, you get to look down at the valley you just walked through. Meanwhile, the Schilthorn cable car quietly zips back and forth, cows and the sound of their clanging bells fills the air, and the snow-capped mountains form the perfect backdrop. If you want a hike that captures “classic Switzerland,” this is it.

Tyler and Kara in Switzerland

Pig on Northface Trail

Northface Trail and Schilthorn

Jungfrau Switzerland

As you continue on the trail, you will have stunning views of Mürren far below. You will pass through several small hamlets and restaurants before the final, short climb to Allmendhubel.

Murren Switzerland

Murren Walk

Walking the Northface Trail

Cows on Northface Trail

 

At Allmendhubel, there is a playground and a restaurant. This makes a nice place to take a break before continuing to Mürren.

Allmendhubel

From Allmendhubel, you can ride the funicular into town. If you want more exercise, there is also a trail that heads down into Mürren, just be prepared for a steep descent.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: The Allmendhubel Funicular runs from 9 am to 5 pm, departing every 15 minutes. Click here for ticket prices and the timetable (the funicular does not run year-round; periodically it closes for maintenance work and during our visit, it was closed for two days because of technical difficulties).

Switzerland Travel Guide

Things to Know Before You Go

Wear a good pair of walking shoes. Hiking shoes are great but you will do just fine in a pair of running shoes or sturdy walking shoes. If it has recently rained, the trail to Sprutz waterfall could be muddy.

This is a great hike to do with kids. The views change frequently and with a chance to get up close with cows, goats, and pigs, this trail is good at keeping kids entertained. Plus, you end at a playground at Allmendhubel. The kids can play while the parents enjoy the amazing view.

This makes a great addition to your day if you also have plans to visit Schilthorn. A trip to Schilthorn is best in the morning, when you can have brunch at Piz Gloria, and before the midday crowds arrive. The Schilthorn cable car will drop you off in Mürren, the starting point for this trail. Hike the Northface Trail and end the day with dinner in Mürren.

Where to Eat in Mürren

Here are a few great restaurants in Mürren, great options for lunch or dinner, before or after your walk.

Hotel Bellevue. This great restaurant offers cozy, indoor seating as well as seating on their outdoor terrace, which offers spectacular views of the Alps. The food was the best we had while in Mürren.

Hotel Eiger. Located right across the street from the Mürren train station, this restaurant is a bit pricey but the food is great. We ate here twice, at lunch and at dinner, and the lunch menu is cheaper than the dinner menu.

Eiger Guesthouse Restaurant. This restaurant serves Italian and Swiss dishes. We ate here on our last night in Mürren. If we had eaten here earlier in the week, we would have been here more than once! 🙂

Where We Stayed

We spent 6 wonderful nights at Hotel Alpenblick in Mürren. This small hotel is located near the Mürren train station on the edge of town. We stayed in the family room so we had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a balcony with a view of the Alps. The rooms are basic but they are comfortable, quiet, and cozy. The wifi works well and the views are amazing. Hotel Alpenblick is a great value for the money you spend and we chose it since it’s a highly rated hotel that was cheaper than many in Mürren. We would not hesitate to stay here again. 

For more information about where to stay, read our post Best Places to Stay in the Jungfrau Region.


If you have plans to walk the Northface Trail and have any questions, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.

More Places to Go in Switzerland

JUNGFRAU REGION: If you are planning a trip to the Jungfrau region, check out our Guide to the Jungfrau Region, which includes maps and important travel planning information and our Jungfrau Itinerary, which has itinerary suggestions for one day to one week. We also have a separate article about the best things to do in the Jungfrau region. Get more information on where to stay in the Jungfrau region, how to visit Jungfraujoch, and how to add on the thrilling Mürren Via Ferrata to your visit.

JUNGFRAUJOCH OR SCHILTHORN: Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn are two high alpine excursions in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. If you only have the time for one, which is better, Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn?

LUCERNE: Learn how to spend one perfect day in Lucerne with a trip to Mt. Pilatus.

ZÜRICH: For things to do on a quick visit, check out our article One Day in Zürich. 

ZERMATT: For ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt and the best hikes in Zermatt. Plan your visit with our Zermatt Itinerary Guide. And don’t miss our articles about how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, how to visit Gornergrat, and how to hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail.

SWITZERLAND ITINERARY: If your visit to the Jungfrau region is part of a bigger trip to Switzerland, check out our Switzerland Itinerary, which has suggestions on what to do if you have 7 days, 14 days, or even longer.

We have TONS more information about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide, including Zürich, Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Lugano, and Lausanne.

 

Murren Switzerland Northface Trail

 

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Comments 42

  1. Avatar for Angela
    Angela

    Hello, the photos are stunning! I would like to know the distance to the photos with the goats from the beginning of the trail because we don’t have enough time and strength for whole trail. Thank you very much!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      I’m not exactly sure the distance to the goats but without the detour to the waterfall it is probably 1 to 1.25 miles one way to see the goats (and that’s if they are in that spot…it seemed like they had some freedom to roam around). Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Jenn Osborn
    Jenn Osborn

    Hi Julie,
    I love your entire blog and it’s my go to when I’m looking for a hike at a destination! Thank you for all the time you putin.
    We will be in Lauterbrunnen for a very short visit . we arrive on a Sunday sfternoon so will be visiting Staubbach Falls since they are 5 min from our room. The next full day we would like to do one hike (under 5 miles) and spend rest of day exploring some of towns in area.
    If you had to pick one would you choose Eiger, Northface or Schynige Platte Panorama trail oberberghorn loop? We are looking for one with most bang for your buck on a shorter trail ( views, meadows, cows ) which would you recommenend?
    Thanks in advance for help!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Jenn. For the views, we LOVED the Eiger Trail. The Northface Trail has nice views, meadows, and is the best trail to see cows, goats, and pigs. We hiked a portion of the Schynige Platte Panorama Trail and did see a few cows here. I would say choose between the Eiger Trail (for the views) and the Northface Trail (for the views and best opportunity to see farm animals). Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Kimberly Zimmer
    Kimberly Zimmer

    Hello and thank you for your very informative and detailed posts!

    We’re travelling to Swizterland at the end of May this year.
    I had planned to walk the Northface trail counterclockwise from Allmendhubel to Mürren by taking the funicular from M to A, but I see it’s closed until June 7 for maintenance.
    Is there any other way to do this walk starting in A, without having to take the funicular?

    I see in your blogpost that we can walk down from A to M (if we did the walk in the clockwise direction) but I’m concerned with how steep it might be walking uphill (and how long that might take ) from M to A so we can do the counterclockwise walk as hoped.

    I’ve run into so many closures of funiculars and cogwheel trains etc. due to maintenance during our time in the area, I’d hate to lose out on another walk!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Kimberly. Unfortunately, May is a month where many cable cars close in Switzerland for maintenance. I know that there is a way to hike down but I don’t know enough about the route to give you more info. You’d have to look into that route more or ask your hotel if they know the route. And of course, there is the possibility that everything will still be snow covered at that point, as many hiking trails don’t open up until June, especially if there is a late season snowfall. Good luck! Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Dave
    Dave

    Hello, thanks so much for all the info. I think our plan for upcoming trip is to do the Panorama and Eiger trails on same day without Jungfraujoch and Schlithorn and Northface together a different day. Once we arrive in Kleine Scheidegg from Mannlichen, can we then just hop on the quick train ride up to Eigergletscher to catch Eiger trail? Can we get those tickets in Kleine Scheidegg?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, you should be able to do that. The question is how booked will that train be because of the people traveling up to Jungfraujoch. I don’t think that short train ride can be booked in advance. Worse case scenario is that there is a hiking trail from Kleine Scheidegg to Eigergletscher so if you had to, you could walk to it, it would just be all uphill. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Erin
    Erin

    Hi, thank you for your incredibly detailed posts! I read your writeup on both this hike and the Panorama Trail, both of which appear to be similar in profile (length/time/downhill nature) and close together. Are they very similar in terms of the views or are they unique enough for it to make sense to do both? I am just starting to plan for next year and am trying to decide which of these 3 options makes the most sense: (1) Do both of these hikes plus the Royal Way in one day, then spend the second day doing a hike to Lake Oeschinen [skip Jungfraujoch]; OR (2) Do Jungraujoch and the Northface Trail on one day, spend the second day doing the Panorama Trail/Royal Way plus another shorter hike or village exploration [skip Lake Oeschinen]; OR (3) do Jungfraujoch and either the Panorama Trail or Northface Trail in one day (whichever you would recommend for the best views) and spend the second day doing the hike to Lake Oeschinen. I am leaning toward either skipping Jungfraujoch or just choosing one between the Northface and Panorama Trails rather than both so that we can find a way to fit Lake Oeschinen in, but I would greatly appreciate any input you can provide! We are hopefully planning to do the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Schilthorn at other points in the trip if it makes a difference. Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Erin. The Northface Trail and Panorama Trail are located on opposite sides of the Jungfrau region so they offer very different experiences. I think both are worthwhile. If you choose to visit Jungfraujoch, it’s best to combine Jungfraujoch with the Panorama Trail, since they are located very close to one another (do Jungfraujoch in the morning and the Panorama Trail +/- the Royal Way in the afternoon).
       
      Here’s how you could plan 2 days in the Jungfrau region. Day 1: Jungfraujoch in the morning, Panorama Trail and Royal Way in the afternoon OR hike the Eiger and Panorama Trail, skipping Jungfraujoch. Day 2: Schilthorn in the morning, Northface Trail in the afternoon.
       
      Lake Oeschinen is located outside of the Jungfrau region, so you will have to look up transportation options on how to get there so you know what to expect (if you plan to do this hike while staying in the Jungfrau region). We have not done that hike yet so I can’t offer any advice for it. To give you an overview of the Jungfrau area, take a look at our Guide to the Jungfrau Region. It’s a complicated region so hopefully our guide will help you get an idea of where things are located and what you can do here. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Erin
        Erin

        Thank you, Julie! Immediately after I pressed “submit” on my post I realized I had accidentally commented on your wrong post and had thus accidentally confused the trail name. I didn’t see a way to edit my comment though unfortunately! Everywhere I said “Northface Trail” in my original comment I actually meant the Eiger Trail :). So hopefully my original comment makes more sense now! It looks to me like the Eiger Trail and Panorama Trail are in a very similar area and have a similar trail profile in terms of distance, time, and the downhill nature. Do they offer different enough views to make them both must-dos? If not, which would you recommend? I am pretty sure we want to find a way to do the Lake Oeschinen hike so it would then come down to figuring out whether to cut Jungfraujoch or to cut either the Eiger Trail or the Panorama Trail/Royal Way. Now that you understand what I was actually asking does that change your recommendation? Thanks again and apologies for the confusion!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          Yes, that makes a lot more sense!! 😊 I also think both the Eiger Trail and Panorama Trail are worth it. However, if you are short on time, I recommend hiking the Eiger Trail (we LOVED this one and it’s easy to do) and the first part of the Panorama Trail, to the restaurant with the deck and view of Klein Scheidegg and the mountains. We outline how to do it in this post. But, if you get over to Schilthorn, the Northface Trail is also worth it (but over on this side, if heights don’t bother you, do the Murren via ferrata). Have a great time in Switzerland! Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for Erin
            Erin

            Hi Julie! I’ve done some more research and have another question now. We will likely have 2.5 days in the area and I’m trying to make the most of them! The half-day on Day 1 will be spent checking out Interlaken (Lake Thun & Harder Kulm) upon arriving from Zermatt (likely mid-late morning) and then training over to Lauterbrunnen (where we are thinking of staying). On Day 2, I am thinking we will do both the Eiger Trail and the Panorama Trail/Royal Way. Then on Day 3, I am debating between either doing a combination of Schilthorn/the Birg Thrill Walk/The Northface Trail OR doing one long day-hike to Tanzbodeli-Obersteinberg-Oberhornsee Lake-Stechelberg. I am leaning more toward the Tanzbodeli hike (which I see from your website you did not do all of) but do you think we’d be missing out by not visiting Schilthorn? I’m guessing the views from the Northface Trail would be somewhat similar to what we would see on the trail to Tanzbodeli (from a different angle) and it looks like the Birg Thrill Walk may be under construction so I’m not as worried about missing those but I do wonder if missing Schilthorn would be a mistake (especially if we are also cutting Jungfraujoch). We are planning to do the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Zermatt, if that makes a difference to your answer. If skipping Schilthorn would be a mistake can you see any way we could fit it in to any of the days?

            We just did the trek to Everest Base Camp a few months ago and I’m hoping for more big mountain views like that in Switzerland! (I know it will look very different, but just in terms of the close-up snow-capped mountains and the panoramas). Thank you!

          2. Avatar for Julie Post
            Author
            Julie

            Hello Erin. We turned around on the Tanbodeli hike since the first half of it was in the trees and we were missing out on those amazing mountain views. However, once you get above the treeline, the views really open up, from what I’ve seen online. I regret our decision now. Normally, I would say that you would be missing out by skipping Schilthorn. However, since it is under construction, it loses some of its great views, since there is construction equipment in the way (based on what others have been writing in with). You could do the Tanzbodeli hike, once in Stechelberg ride the cable car to Murren, have dinner in Murren (getting similar views as from Schilthorn), then train to Grutschalp and cable car to Lauterbrunnen. I think that would be a very nice day. And if you are like us, you’ll be back again. Tim and I are talking about returning to the Jungfrau region again in a few years since it is one of our favorite places. It’s a lot different from the EBC trek so it will be interesting to see which area you like more. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson

    We will be in Bernese Oberland in about a month, and I just wanted to thank you for all the useful information you provide. It has been really helpful for planning our stay!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  7. Avatar for Steve
    Steve

    Hi,
    Thanks for all your great advice! We will be in the Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen area in mid-late September and are considering the Northface Trail.

    I know you said it is well marked, but some of the pictures show it to be a very narrow dirt path. Is it easy to follow the entire way?

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, there are trail signs at each junction. You can follow the trail, whether it is a dirt trail or paved trail, from junction to junction, and you shouldn’t have any problems. Have a great time on your trip! Cheers, Julie

  8. Avatar for GC
    GC

    Hi,
    Can the Northface Trail be done in winter eg. 20 Dec?
    Will the paths be covered with snow? I’m a novice at hiking so I’m afraid I’ll get lost.
    Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, the trails will most likely be snow covered in December. If you are a novice, it may not be a good hike to do that time of year and you could need special gear. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Yolanda
    Yolanda

    I am looking to see if you know of a walk from Grutschalp to Murren (Mountain View Trail I believe) to Gimmelwald that includes the Northface Trail.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, there is a walk from Grutschalp to Murren. It is relatively flat and Tyler ran it one morning during our stay here. It is a separate trail but can be added onto the Northface Trail. The views aren’t as good on the walk between Murren and Grutschalp as what you get on the Northface Trail. And if you ride the train from Murren to Grutschalp (or in the opposite direction) you will get the same views, so we don’t think it is worth it, not with so many other hiking trails in this area.
       
      Gimmelwald is not on the Northface Trail. However, you could walk from Murren to Gimmelwald (it’s a short, easy walk and very nice), ride the cable car from Gimmelwald back to Murren, and start the Northface Trail. The Northface Trail starts right next to the cable car station so that would work out very nicely.
       
      Cheers, Julie

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