Aare Gorge, Switzerland


The Aare Gorge (Aareschlucht) is a 200m (656 feet) deep ravine carved by the River Aare in limestone rock over millennia. The Gorge lies in the Hasli Valley in Switzerland, between Meiringen and Innertkirchen. The impression you get of the power of the water in this canyon is all the stronger because in places the chasm is only about a metre wide.

Aare Gorge has been accessible since the late 19th century: it now takes about 40 minutes to hike the 1.4km (0.9 mile) through, and you have to pay an entrance fee. Your journey takes you through tunnels and along walkways, some of them made of wood suspended high above the water. The level of difficulty of this hike is T1 yellow, with no danger of falling and a mainly flat terrain. It isn’t even necessary to wear walking boots.

The presence of a large car park at the Meiringen end means that most people start their walk there. However SBB, the Swiss railway company, offer 10% off if you go by train and combine travel to Meiringen with a visit to the gorge and a trip on the funicular to the Reichenbach Falls (the discount is meant to encourage people to leave their cars at home).

From the viewing platform at the Falls you get an excellent view of the 120m (nearly 400 feet) high waterfall, where the English author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, set the death of Sherlock Holmes at the hands of the evil Professor Moriarty. Conan Doyle spent many holidays in Meiringen and knew the area well – now in the town there is a museum about Holmes and the creator of the fictional detective, and a memorial plate at the funicular station.

Footnote: the British reading public, unable to accept the death of their fictional hero, caused Conan Doyle to resurrect the character three years later, even though the story in which Holmes died had been called ‘The Final Problem’!

Aare Gorge is open from April to November (West Entrance (Meiringen)) and May to October (East Entrance (Innertkirchen)).

Photographer’s Diary, August 2014
We started at the west entrance at 9.30am, happy to find that at this time there were not so many people about. However it was still dark in the gorge, so we stopped at the cafeteria by the east entrance. We could go back the same way, using the same ticket.
Once in the gorge we found there was a lot of water: 2014 was rainy and not a normal Swiss summer. The gorge was very dark in some places, making it difficult to take pictures, even with a good camera. I had to select a high ISO, using a good lens; you need a wide angle lens, really. All the time water drops were falling from the cliffs and tunnel walls onto my camera. By the time we got back to the west entrance at 11.55am, the light was very different.
Still, I got some good pictures – see for yourself below.

Like all the pictures on this website, our photographer’s photos of the Aare Gorge can be downloaded free of charge.

West entrance      
Aare Gorge, west entrance Aare Gorge, Information path to Aare Gorge Path to Aare Gorge
Aare river Aare Gorge, path river gorge Aare Gorge
Aare river, path rock gorge Aare river, cliff cliff, path
Aare Gorge, tunnel Aare Gorge light cliff Aare Gorge
Aare river Waterfall, Aare Gorge Aare Gorge Aare Gorge, people
Aare Gorge, path Landscape, Aare hut gorge Coffee
East entrance
Entrance Aare gorge Aare Gorge Tatzelwurm Aare Gorge
Aare Gorge wooden path Aare Gorge, Switzerland Aare Gorge
Aare Gorge, visitors wooden path Aare river rock Aare Gorge, Switzerland
Aare river Visitors Aare Aare Gorge tunnel visitors
river gorge cliff river Aare Gorge Aare Gorge, people
cliff gorge light cliff Aare Gorge, rock Aare Gorge, visitor