Wandering the Swiss moors at Chaltenbrunnen

The hiking season has pretty much come to a close here in Switzerland, but I wanted to fit in one or two more day hikes before embracing the colder weather and spending more time inside. Although the list of unfinished Via Alpina stages on my fridge has been taunting me, most of those hikes are pretty steep – and at altitude (where I can see snow). So I decided to stay a bit closer to ground level and to home, opting for Chaltenbrunnen (or the Hochmoor oderhalb Meiringen).

It’s the highest protected moor in Europe at 1875m, or so my Meiringen tourist leaflet says.

I started the day with a morning Post Bus from Meiringen train station to Kaltenbrunnen, a twenty-minute journey slightly beyond the Reichenbach Falls. You can easily walk this in about an hour, but I’d done the route before and was keen to save my energy for new corners of the region. Like so…

Now, don’t let the name fool you. Kaltenbrunnen is not the same as Chaltenbrunnen. It took me about two hours to reach the high moor, or Hochmoor, from the bus stop, and I was tempted to call it a day before reaching the top. However, as always when this urge strikes (I seem to hit a wall of lethargy an hour or two into hikes), I’m glad I persisted. 

It wasn’t long until there was signs on the route to announce the Hochmoor (after very little in the way of navigation aids thus far in my journey). As a protected upland, there are rules about sticking to the path, not littering, yada yada. I’m not sure why you’d litter, especially not in Switzerland and especially not here. It’s beautiful.

The moors are a beautiful orange, yellow, red, and green. I’m not sure if autumn plays a huge part in the aesthetics up here, but early October seemed like a good time to visit.

When walking away from the main part of the moor, the scenery becomes more sublime as the jagged mountain ranges come into view.

There are even some scattered signs of life this high up, as seems to be the case throughout the more middle-of-nowhere parts of Schweiz.

And as you start descending, Lake Lungern comes into view.

Not a bad day to start saying goodbye to the top of the mountains (well, until it’s time to jump into ski bindings).