Switzerland’s majestic mountains are the ideal place for a family hiking adventure. Adi shares her family trip to the Trift Bridge, to view the nearby glacier.
When it comes to traveling, I usually make all of our family’s plans. Since we have not ventured into Switzerland, I thought a nice hike in the heart of the Alps would be in order. I searched online for the perfect trip and discovered Trift Bridge, near Gadmen, Switzerland. I decided right then and there this would be our next family adventure.
To get to Trift Bridge you have two options:
- From the Triftbahn (the little 8-person cable car, called a gondola) station, you can hike roughly 2 hours to the next station and, from there, hike another 1.30-2h to Trift Bridge. We are not proficient hikers and do not visit the mountains often enough to tackle such an endeavor, so we explored the second option.
- Visit the Trift Bridge website and buy tickets. For our family of four, we paid 68 Swiss Francs and the dog was free. Buying online is recommended unless you can be at the ticket office very early. Simply choose a departure and return time, making sure you leave enough time between the departure and return. Remember, there is a maximum 2h hike, from the mountain station to the bridge and the same on the way back. The last gondola ride is at 5 pm. If you miss it, the only way back is two hours on foot.
We left early since the drive from our home in Stuttgart is 3.30h. Because we had a 40-minute delay, due to traffic and difficulty finding a place to park at the Triftbahn station, we barely made it with 3 minutes to spare. Upon arrival, I was immensely happy we took the gondola to the mountain station. With 2 kids and a dog, I am not sure we would have made it there. It looked very challenging.
I knew, from the beginning, the hike from the mountain station to the bridge was rated T2, the easiest of hiking trails, requiring only surefootedness and good hiking shoes. We were well prepared, so how hard could it be, right? Wrong!
As soon as I stepped out of the gondola, I wanted to give up. The mountain looked so big; the path narrow and uneven. I was hoping my husband would agree to give up, but to my dismay, he insisted we go since this was the reason for our long drive.
The start of the hike was good. There was no incline, which was a good start to get us going. My husband had it particularly hard since he was carrying our almost 5-year-old daughter in a backpack. I had the dog, who, to my extreme surprise, was an incredible hiker. I did not have to carry him in the special backpack we purchased especially for this trip.
After a bit more hiking, maybe 20 minutes, my husband was is a lot of pain from going uphill with 50 lbs on his back. My son and I were about to start crying and wondering what on earth were we doing there. The only happy participants were my daughter and the dog.
We stopped to rest and looked around. For the first time, we could observe the incredible scenery unfolding around us. The mountains were incredible; tall, covered in fresh green grass, and the valley was crossed by a glacial river. The scenery was absolutely mesmerizing.
Right then, we decided to stop complaining and continue on. Not to mention there were plenty of other families with kids and a surprisingly large number of elderly people. We thought if they could do it, so could we.
Going up the trail, you constantly hear the bells of the sheep grazing above the path. Combined with the sound of the wind, the water beneath us, and the view of the mountains, it created the perfect Swiss experience.
The Trift Bridge is the longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps, spanning 170 meters (560 ft) at a height of 100 meters (330 ft). When we got to it, somehow it looked even longer and higher. As afraid as I was, I did not hike all the way to quit – so onto the bridge I went. My family did not seem to share my fear, taking off ahead of me on the bridge.
Trift Bridge offers a superb view of the Trift Glacier, melting into the Triftsee (the lake formed by the glacier’s meltwater). From here, you can go higher up the mountain, but we did not have the strength or the time to continue on.
The return was nowhere near as painful as the climb up the trail. We descended quickly, but, unfortunately, we missed our 4 o’clock gondola. It was past 5 pm, so now we were at the mercy of the gods. Luckily, while catching our breath, another gondola arrived and we climbed in, deciding even if our tickets didn’t match the time, we were staying on board no matter what. There was nobody else, except an older couple, so down we all went, counting our blessings for this tremendous luck.
A word of advice for this trip from our newly acquired mountain wisdom:
- Do not carry lots of water bottles with you. There are several streams of very clean, cold water coming down the path to the bridge and back.
- Do bring food with you. Picnicking is allowed and the food sold at the mountain station is expensive and the selection minimal.
- Do make it back in time for the last gondola off the mountain. Don’t rely on the idea that a gondola will be there after 5 pm. That is the official closing time. We have no clue why more gondolas went up the mountain after that time, that day.
- Watch the weather before venturing on the mountain. That hike in the rain would be rather unpleasant.
Even though we were in pain during and after the hike, we absolutely do not regret the trip. The scenery was superb and the bridge well worth the effort. This hiking trip to Switzerland will be the first of many to come.