Rather than divide, the Napfbergland Border Trail connects regions, traditions and landscapes in the heart of Switzerland. The Napf doesn’t only provide inspiration for the trail’s name, it’s also a highlight of the hilly landscape. Towering between Emmental, Entlebuch and the Lucerne hinterland, the 1,406 metre (4,612 feet) summit is just one of the incredible vantage points along this long-distance trail. You also learn about the area’s rich history and culture at the sights and information boards along the way.
The Napfbergland Border Trail follows the historic cantonal border between Bern and Lucerne. 150 years ago, hostile conflicts played out here. Today, the magnificent border trail runs through peaceful, pristine landscapes instead. The Napf region was once characterised by distrust: Catholicism was the biggest influencer in Lucerne whilst the Reformation determined people’s everyday lives in Bern. The remote valleys around the Napf formed a scenic border between the two cultures. Nowadays, peace and tranquility reign in this dreamlike, unspoiled region of Switzerland.
Long stretches of the approximately 120-kilometre-long (74 mile) border trail run through nature that is often deserted, small wooded areas, and across magnificent alpine meadows. From the starting point in Langenthal, the route leads through the gentle hills of the Emmental which melt into the pre-Alpine peaks of the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere Reserve to Brünig Pass, close to Lake Brienz. The long-distance trail reaches its high point at the Brienzer Rothorn, the highest summit in the Emmental Alps – the panorama from the top overlooking Lake Brienz is unbeatable.
In this Collection, I’ve divided the Napfbergland Border Trail into six stages. You can also easily split the longer stages, for example, stage 5. I’ve included additional tips and accommodation in the Tour descriptions. It’s a good idea to reserve accommodation well in advance. You don’t need alpine experience for this hike, but you should have enough stamina and surefootedness for the narrow paths on the Brienzer Horn.
You can easily reach the starting point in Langenthal by train – the journey takes only 30 minutes from Bern and one hour from Zurich. If you don't want to hike the entire border trail in one go, you can catch public transport along the way such as in Huttwil or Trubschachen. There’s also a train station at the destination on the Brünig Pass, making it easy to return home.
The Napfbergland border path starts at the train station in Langenthal. The first stage is perfect for warming up at the beginning of your long-distance hike, because the day's route is easy to walk and is relatively flat. After arriving by train, you walk through the center of Langenthal for the first time, where you have the opportunity to fill up your provisions. On the eastern edge of the city you will pass the zoo, which has existed since 1891.
Today it is steadily rising and promising on the Napf. A total of 20 kilometers and 1,000 vertical meters await you - the effort is rewarded with fantastic views. From Huttwil you hike to the southwest with a view of Michelberg and Bisig. The following section is characterized by tranquility and a lot of nature. You pass farms and fields and make up the first few meters.
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The third stage of the Napfbergland border path starts with a dream panorama on the Napf. Following the canton border to the east, you walk over to the managed Stächelegg Alp. From there you can take a short detour to the summit of the Hengst - a narrow ridge path offers you incredible views down to the edge of the break.
Yesterday you climbed from the valley up to the impressive Brienzer Rothorn, today you go from the summit back down into the valley - that means, there are a few meters downhill on the program. The day starts with a sensational high alpine panorama from Berghaus Rothorn. Far below you, Lake Brienz shimmers turquoise-blue in the sunlight and it is only a stone's throw from the Berghaus to the summit plateau.