The Gasterntal is a quiet, hidden valley just south of Kandersteg. It’s glacially-carved U-shaped walls are reminiscent of the much more famous Lautererbrunnen valley, but this is a place where you will find very little tourism and much solitude. Early summer brings a riot of wildflowers, and a number of very impressive waterfalls, some of which burst forth straight from the middle of the cliff faces. There is some spectacular scenery here.
There is one small road leading into the valley, and it is one way only… cars need a special permit and are allowed a 20 minute window hourly to drive up into the valley, and a 20 minute window to come back down, to prevent cars from meeting head-on along the narrow one-lane road.
The Gasterntal is very rarely visited in winter (avalanche danger is pretty high), and it is home to handful of summer farms and small, traditional mountain inns and restaurants. Besides the walk into the valley itself, there are at least 3 good, steep hikes up to glaciers and over passes. The Lötschenpass hike is a particular favorite, as is the trail up to Sunnbuel, where there is a cable car back down. Mountain bikers sometimes explore the trails, and the cliffs surrounding the valley have become popular jump off points for base jumpers.
A small van service makes regular runs into the valley, so you can hike in, stop at one of the restaurants near the back of the valley (we recommend the Hotel Steinbock), and take the bus back out to Kandersteg. Or you can overnight and enjoy the blissful peacefulness of this hideaway!