Swiss Alps Explorer

Hike the best of Switzerland.

Two weeks in a mountain paradise.

Swiss Alps Explorer is a legendary trip with roots that go back to the 1980s when Overland’s founders, Tom and Liz Costley, hiked the Wasserngrat and marveled at the views from the top, then stopped at the Geltenhutte for a picnic below waterfalls of Alpine snowmelt.

Have you ever thought to yourself: I can’t believe how beautiful this is? Well, that happens a lot on Swiss Alps Explorer.

The Alps are so beautiful, in so many ways: deep green valleys, giant snow fields (in the summer!), enormous glaciers, towering mountains. But there’s small beauty, too, and just as impressive: a flower-decked chalet, a village perched on a hillside, a high summer pasture.

The best way to see, to experience, to fall in love with the Alps is to hike them. And hike them we do. These are great hikes: a day’s worth of work on the trail will give us a summer’s — maybe even a lifetime’s — worth of beauty, fun, and satisfaction.

And we hike them together. We’ll be talking and laughing and singing, telling stories, playing games, and becoming great friends who share every moment, every mile, every laugh, every smile.

In the end, well, in the end, you won’t want to leave. But that’s okay. You’ll come back. We’re sure of it.

Good Things to Know. The 2020 itinerary has been carefully crafted to start with a series of day hikes (light packs with lunch and water) to get the group out on the trails near Gstaad to explore. Then, after this good start, we’ll take a day off from hiking to train to Montreux (about 90 minutes away through a landscape of mountains, hills, and villages) to catch a boat on Lake Geneva, a 60-mile-long sliver of sparkling blue snowmelt. After a day of cruising the lake and stopping at small towns along the shore, we’ll return to Gstaad and prepare for our backpacking trip across the Bernese Oberland. This is why we’ve come here: to put together all we’ve learned about hiking and camping as we traverse the best slice of the Alps. The backpacking trip ends above Kandersteg at the Blumlisalp hut — the high point of our trip. At every step of the way, whether its day hiking or backpacking, the camping is sweet: one of the things that’s really, really nice about hiking in the Alps is that you can stay pretty comfortable because the hiking is from village to village (where there are all the services you might need) and the camping is in campgrounds with full facilities (and that means showers!). And, the meals? Well, even in the tiny villages we hike through there’s just about everything we’d like — granola and fruit for breakfast, fresh bread, cheese, sliced meats, hummus, apples, and plums for lunch, and dinners that include stir-fry and pasta and green salads with lots of great stuff tossed in. What’s it all add up to? Maybe the best two weeks of hiking in the Alps!

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Overland offers introductory, hiking, biking, language, writing, service and field studies programs domestically and abroad for students in 4th through 12th grade.