The fantastic, gorgeous and overall gigantic Gemsenweg, called so due to its steep terrain generally accessible to Gemsen (chamois) only, is a steep, challenging but overall absolutely stunning hiking trail. Starting in the centre of Wengen it snakes its way up through a dense forest at first, then enters open meadows with amazing views of the Lauterbrunnen valley and its 72 waterfalls, before finishing between giant avalanche barriers at 2222m above sea level. With a length of 4.5km and an altitude gain of 945m you will have completed Wengen’s vertical KM trail when you reach the top.
Hiking the Gemsenweg
The Gemsenweg is an absolute stunner and one of our, and the adventure duck’s favourite hikes in the Jungfrau region. It is a bit of a hidden gem and therefore you will have the stunning nature to yourself on this fantastic trail.
The trail is named the ‘Chamois Trail’ because whole herds of chamois live on the steep slope between the Mannlichen Plateau and Wengen. So while hiking this trail it’s worth packing your binoculars and plan in some leisure time to watch the chamois.
The hike can be divided in three parts: the first third you cross cool and lush forrests, the second third you enter open and grassy meadows with the final third crossing between a maze of giant avalanche barriers. Each is stunning in its own way but the the last half of the trail has unique views of the Lauterbrunnen valley (and its 72 waterfalls) with the snowcapped Jungfrau and Silberhorn as a backdrop.
Wengen Vertical KM
The chamois trail is 4.5km long and starts at the Wengen Männlichen gondola station at 1267m of altitude. The finish is at the top gondola station at 2222m meaning you covered a whopping 945m. This is Wengen’s vertical KM! With an average gradient of 21.6% its not as steep as the world famous Fully Vertical KM but its views and scenery are much much nicer!
The strava segment below shows the stats although they are not completely accurate with the starting and the finishing altitude.
Directions of the Chamois Trail
In Wengen start at the Maennlichen gondola station. You then run past the Lauberhorn crayz golf and mini golf park, continue following the central Dorfstrasse road until just at the church you branch off and take the steep, stepped path. If this sounds confusing then just follow the yellow hiking trail markers with gemsenweg and Männlichen.
Through the forrest the route leads out of the valley in several wide bends on the flanks of the Männlichen towards Allmend. The view of the extended, deep trough of the Lauterbrunnen Valley is magnificent. The scene is dominated by the majestic Jungfrau massif. Its striking pre-summit, the snow-covered Silberhorn, is a unique eye-catcher. You will be hiking over fragrant Alpine meadows and through a shady mountain forest until you branch off at Parawengi. From here, a steep trail up the mountain slope leads to the Männlichen plateau at 2222m above sea level. The views from the long mountain ridge are impressive and rich in contrast with the giant avalanche barriers making it even more impressive. The constant views deep down into the Lauterbrunnen valley are spectacular. In the distance Lake Thun, the Niederhorn and the Schrattenfluh can even be seen.
For more hiking insider tips and hidden gems have a look at the adventure Interlaken hiking section here.