Thrill-Seekers Will Love This Central European Hiking Trail

Some people enjoy a hike through the woods, in a park, or on a well-worn path on a flat surface. However, some would much rather get their adrenaline pumping with a bit of danger ... or at least perceived danger. If your heart wasn't hammering away in your chest, were you even there? If that sounds like you, and you're looking for an adventure, the Trift Glacier Hike in Switzerland will be right up your alley. It's near the village of Gadmen in the Swiss Alps, and it's not for the faint of heart. 

This hike will take you to a glacier, but to get there, you'll need to cross a 558-foot-long suspension bridge that hovers 328 feet above rocks and a lake. This glacier is dwindling because of climate change, so this is the time to visit Switzerland for this incredible trip. We'll tell you all about the Trift Glacier Hike, what you need to know, and what else to do in the area. 

What to know about the Trift Glacier Hike

The hike begins near the village of Gadmen in Haslital, and it's not a particularly crowded or long one. It's only 3.7 miles long. That said, the combined ascent and descent is 1,150 feet, so this isn't a stroll through the country. There is an optional cable car ride that you can take part of the way up (the hike distance is calculated from the gondola station). The gondola only holds eight people; they run every 15 minutes, and there is a restaurant at the top. After the ride up, it's about a 1.5-hour hike to the bridge.

The suspension bridge over the Trift Gorge gives you views of the cloudy turquoise glacier lake as well as the Triftwasser, which is the runoff from the melt. If you like, you can keep going to the Trift or Winedegg Huts, but you need reservations. (If you plan to visit the Trift hut, check if it's open, as it's been undergoing repairs.) The Trift hike is open between June and October, where the average temperatures range from highs in the low 50s to 60s, with lows in the 30s to 40s. 

For a little background, the bridge was built in 2004 because the Trift glacier had melted enough that you couldn't reach the huts without a bridge. It was replaced with a stronger bridge in 2009, and it's now one of the longest and highest for hikers in Europe.

What to do in the area

If you decide to stay in Gadmen, there are some lovely things to do in the area, outside of exploring the town. Drive a bit over an hour north and visit Lake Lucerne or Vierwaldstättersee, meaning four forest lakes. The charming city of Lucerne is right on the lake, which is incredibly clear and acts like a mirror for the surrounding scenery. You can take a lake cruise or visit the Capel Covered Bridge and Water Tower, popular selfie spots. Fishing and paddle boating equipment are available along the lake, and you can rent them where the Reuss River and the lake meet.

Mount Titlis is even closer to Gadmen 21 miles south of Lucerne), and it's a great place to check out. You can take a revolving cable car ride for 360-degree views (it revolves once in the five-minute trip, so you shouldn't get dizzy) or fly over the scenery in a flying glacier chair. Alternatively, hike, ski, or snowboard, and check out another rope bridge. If you take that revolving cable car, it will take you to the Peak Tram station, which has a place to grab food and chocolate. It also has a "high altitude" photo studio where you can put on Swiss costumes for the perfect shot. There is also a free ice cave to explore, which goes 66 feet beneath the glacier.