Oeschinen Lake (sometimes called Oeschinensee Lake), in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, is a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The lake sits at 5,170 feet above sea level and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glacial valleys.

You may have never heard of it, but do an online search for a few photos, and you’ll see what makes it one of the most gorgeous outdoor areas in Switzerland (hint: the lake’s mountain peaks rise more than 4,000 feet above the lake).

The lake is near gorgeous glaciers like Blüemlisalp and Rothorn glaciers and has easy trails to natural sights like the Oberbärglibach Wasserfall (1.3 miles from the Oeschinen Lake View Point). It’s also only 2.6 miles from the alpine town of Kandersteg.

Activities at Oeschinen Lake

hiker looking out on Oeschinen Lake switzerland

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The Oeschinen area offers a wide variety of hiking trails for visitors. The Oeschinen Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the region and offers views of Oeschinen Lake and surrounding glaciers, valleys, and mountains. Also popular is hiking sections of the Gemmi Pass Trail, which leads through meadows, forests, and waterfalls on a journey from Kandersteg to Leukerbad.

For a more challenging hike, check out the challenging Hohtürli Pass Trail, a 9.2-mile trail that gains 5,000 feet through the mountains on the way to Griesalp. On the way, hikers have stunning views of the lake and surrounding landscape.

It should go without saying that there are plenty of cute hotels and apartment rentals in the area between the lake and Interlaken, plus rentable huts just a few miles from the lake itself.

Visiting Oeschinen Lake

oeschinen lake with trees around it

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The Oeschinen area is easily accessible by car, with Oeschinen Lake only about 45 minutes from Interlaken or two hours from Zurich. Visitors will need to park in Kandersteg, then take a gondola up the mountain. From there, it’s a very short walk to the Oeschinen Lake View point, or about a 20-minute walk to get down the lake. There’s also a small bus that circles around the western shore of the lake between the shoreline and various viewpoints.

Oeschinen Lake is accessible year-round (the gondola closes for a short break in spring and fall, but is generally open during the summer tourist season and winter ski season). You’ll be able to reach the lookout points (though expect the lake to be frozen and much of the area covered in snow) and the bus won’t be running. Of course, if you have snowshoes, it’s gorgeous, and you’ll mostly have it to yourself.

But the lake is most popular in the summer, for hiking, backpacking, hut trips, kayaking, and more.

boats on the water at Oeschinen Lake

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Kayaking at Oeschinen Lake is very popular, with several kayak and boat rental stations along the shore with boats, paddles, and life jackets for those looking to get out on the water. Oeschinen Lake’s calm waters provide the perfect setting for beginners, while experienced kayakers will enjoy exploring the various creeks and bays. Just remember that it’s a glacier-fed lake, so it’s very, very cold.