Stage 15 – Adelboden to Lenk – Via Alpina 1

Engstligen Falls

Over the Hahnenmoospass

On the Via Alpina 1, Stage 15 from Adelboden to Lenk, I breathe deep knowing all the high passes are behind us. The Hohtürli and Sefinenfurgge are fading memories. Gone are the ruggedly screed passes of the previous stages. From here on, the passes become flatter and grassier.

Hahnenmoospass is a cakewalk—broad, airy, and not the kind of pass where you arrive at the top and share high fives. In fact, it feels more like a city park than a mountain pass. The pass is served by an aerial tram so it’s a popular family recreation resort in the summer, with a playground, picnic area, hotel, restaurant and snack bar.

The Hahnenmoospass is a popular site for remote control model gliders because of its thermal winds, easy access, wide-open spaces, and available landing fields. I’ve never been on the pass without seeing one or more of these beautiful gliders sailing silently overhead.  

remote control glider plane
Remote control glider planes on the Hahnenemoosepass awaiting take off.

As I was crossing the Hahnenmoospass I started mentally rating the string of 11 passes behind us. I knew the Hohtürli was the highest of those passes, but I couldn’t remember which was the lowest, and how they all ranked and compared with each other. I created this chart to show all 15 passes—including Rochers de Naye, which some don’t consider a pass since it’s more a mountaintop. I was interested to learn that the lowest pass is the Klausenpass at 1952m—just 4 meters lower than the Hahnenmoospass, and the only pass served by paved public road.

Here’s how they stack up.

Passes on the Via Alpina






2223 / 7293



2261 / 7418



1952 / 6404



2291 / 7516



2207 / 7241



2245 / 7365

Grosse Scheidegg


1962 / 6437

Kleine Scheidegg


2061 / 6762



2612 / 8570



2778 / 9114



2385 / 7825



1956 / 6417



2038 / 6686

Col de Jable


1884 / 6181

Rochers de Naye


1980 / 6496


Adelboden to Lenk

This is an easy day and can be made even easier by taking the cable car to the pass and the bus from Büelberg down to Lenk.  So if you want to add a little excitement to the day, I recommend a morning trip to Engstligen Falls. It’s Switzerland’s second largest waterfall and well worth a visit. It’s just an 18-minute bus ride up to the Unter dem Birg tram station in the valley. Take the tram to the top and then make a short descent to lookout point where you’ll have a heart-pounding view of the Falls.

Engstligen Falls
Engstligen Falls near Adelboden.

If you like Adelboden, you’ll love Lenk. It started out as a thermal spa before becoming a ski resort in the 20th century. The village, shopping, hotels, and dining options are everything you could hope for in a charming Bernese Oberland mountain resort.


The Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon), also known as the Turk’s Turban Lily rises above the rest as one of the most beautiful and easily identifiable of alpine flowers. Martagon is a Turkish word meaning turban.

Martagon Lily 3
The Martagon Lily is a highly identifiable alpine flower.

Food Tips:

Before leaving Adelboden stop by Schmid Käse, a wonderful cheese and local specialties shop in town. They have lots of local cheeses to entice you, but for the hike as what they would recommend in a hard, 2-year-old or more Alp cheese. You can’t go wrong.  

Walk this stage on the Alpenwild Bernese Oberland Transverse Tour (covers Satage 11-16 of the Via Alpina 1). Check out our Via Alpina Tour which covers Stages 1-10.

Up Next: 

Stage 16 – Lenk to Gstaad – Via Alpina 1


Stage 14 – Kandersteg to Adelboden – Via Alpina 1

Stage 13 – Griesalp to Kandersteg – Via Alpina 1


Greg Witt
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