Turbachtal bei Gstaad

From Turbach to Alp Wintermatte: Family-Friendly Hike in the Turbach Valley

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For those following the Via Alpina from Lenk over the Trütlisberg Pass to Gstaad, they will hike eleven kilometers through the Turbach Valley. However, a trip to this charming side valley near the center of Gstaad is worthwhile even without ambitious hiking plans. And almost in any weather! A highlight is a stop at the “Wintermatte-Beizli”.

Braving Uncertain Weather Forecasts in the Turbach Valley

Once again, we were confronted with uncertain weather forecasts this early summer. Postpone the trip or just go ahead despite the cloudy sky? We decided on the latter. For the Turbach Valley, the saying “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” fits one hundred percent. Located at around 1,300 meters above sea level, this side valley is just a fifteen-minute drive from Gstaad and accessible year-round with PostAuto Line 182. The ride there passes Gstaad’s best residential areas and offers beautiful views of the glamorous holiday resort. After the Gstaad, Wasserngratbahn stop, the scenery changes. Ahead of us lie lush green meadows bordered by wooded valley flanks with scattered farmsteads. On a less cloudy day, you would also have a great view of the Gstaad mountain world with Rüeblihorn, Gummfluh, and Stalden.

View from the PostAuto window

The village of Turbach has about 200 inhabitants. The village center of the scattered settlement is centered around the PostAuto stop Turbach, Post. Schoolhouse, restaurant, valley shop – the offerings show an effort to maintain an active village life and ensure basic supplies. Some field names indicate that Celts settled here on the banks of the “wild” Turbachbach. The well-signposted Turbach Theme Trail is dedicated to the peculiarities of the valley. On 14 panels, you learn interesting background information about farming life, economic sectors, and flora and fauna. And this is exactly the trail we follow for the next three hours.

Turbach Theme Trail

A Theme Trail for the Whole Family

The first section follows the little-used paved road along the sunny and scenic southern slopes out of the valley towards Turbach Egg. Although we feel little sun on this cloudy day, we are at least spared from the rain on this first stage. At “Bortvorschess,” the theme trail leads you on a footpath over pastures down about 50 meters to the lower “Via Alpina.” But that’s about the toughest (and, in rainy weather, muddiest) part of the trail.

The stretch ahead is pure joy! Gently ascending, the hiking trail follows the wooded bank of the Turbachbach upstream. In rainy weather like today, the large tree canopies keep most of the rain off – on warmer summer days, they provide pleasant shade. Along the old Turbach road, the trail passes a spacious barbecue area. Occasionally, the view opens up to the surrounding meadows. What an idyll!

Turbach Valley hike
Turbach information panels
Turbach barbecue area
Turbach Valley landscape
Turbach Valley hike

Alp Wintermatte: The Cozy Rest Stop for Young and Old

After about an hour and a half, we reach Alp Wintermatte. The rain has set in again, and the wind has picked up. So, the dry seat and the warming refreshment at the Wintermatte-Beizli are just what we need. The small, rustic alpine hut is busy despite the dreary weather. Most of the guests this Saturday: locals! That’s a promising sign.

The menu ranges from “Geschwellti” (boiled potatoes) to cheese toast and fondue to ham from the valley. Or perhaps a classic platter with cheese from the surrounding alpine farms? We opt for a warming vegetable soup and the “Extra” cheese toast. Both are delicious. And for a sweet finish, we treat ourselves to a slice of rhubarb cake.

Alp Wintermatte
Rhubarb cake Alp Wintermatte

In sunny weather, the Wintermatte-Beizli boasts a beautiful sun terrace and a large outdoor area with a sandbox and seesaw. Regardless of the weather, children were playing outside even on this day.

Good to Know The Wintermatte-Beizli is only open during the summer season from the end of May to mid-October, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM | Tuesday and Wednesday are fixed days off, and in the off-season, it is sometimes also closed on Monday | Payment is cash only | More contact information can be found on the Gstaad Tourism website

Along the Turbachbach Back to the Starting Point

Three times a day, the PostAuto serves the “furthest” stop in the valley: Turbach, Rotegrabe. This is just a twenty-minute walk from the Wintermatte-Beizli. During other times, the Turbach Theme Trail leads back along the same path to the stop “Turbach, Post” with more regular connections to Gstaad. I think it’s worth walking the route in both directions – even in rainy weather. Depending on the direction, the perspectives on the gushing Turbachbach and the surrounding valley landscape change.

Turbach stream
Turbach Valley landscape
Hiking trails in the Turbach Valley
PostAuto stop Turbach
PostAuto Turbach

Key Data for the Circular Hike on the Turbach Theme Trail

From the following hiking map, you can see the route of our circular hike on the Turbach Theme Trail. It is consistently a yellow-marked hiking trail (T1) that follows the little-used paved road for the first nearly two kilometers. Then, a path “cuts” over a short, steep meadow section down to the paved riverside path (route of the Via Alpina). The turnoff is signposted with the brown circular route sign but is not shown on the hiking trail network on Schweizmobil or Swisstopo. Thanks to the moderate incline and very well-developed hiking trail, it is a route suitable even for less experienced hikers.

Starting Point PostAuto stop Turbach, Post (1,329 m above sea level)
Accessibility reachable by public transport
Length 11.2 kilometers
Elevation Gain ↗ 330 m ↘ 330 m
Duration 3:00 h
Destination PostAuto stop Turbach, Post (1,329 m above sea level)
Refreshments Alp Wintermatte / Restaurant Sunne-Stübli (directly at the PostAuto stop)

Key Data for the Shorter Version Turbach – Alp Wintermatte Return

This shortened version of the Turbach Theme Trail is almost more like an extended walk. It leads from the PostAuto stop Turbach, Post down a meadow path with steps to the riverside path. From there, it’s 2.8 kilometers upstream along the river to Wintermatte and back the same way to the starting point. Due to occasional steps, this version is also not barrier-free. As a barrier-free option, I recommend following the paved Turbach road up the valley. It is little used and also offers beautiful views.

Starting Point PostAuto stop Turbach, Post (1,329 m above sea level)
Accessibility reachable by public transport
Length 5.9 kilometers
Elevation Gain ↗ 156 m ↘ 155 m
Duration 1:30 h
Destination PostAuto stop Turbach, Post (1,329 m above sea level)
Refreshments Alp Wintermatte / Restaurant Sunne-Stübli (directly at the PostAuto stop)

Practical Tips for a Trip to the Turbach Valley

  • The Turbach Line (182) operates year-round. Travel time from Gstaad station to Turbach, Post takes between 15 to 20 minutes depending on the route.
  • About nine routes serve the area daily. Three of them go to the Turbach, Rotengraben stop. I recommend checking the timetable in advance, as departure times may vary slightly depending on the route. Further information can be found here: Turbach Line
  • In addition to the Wintermatte-Beizli, there is another refreshment stop directly at the PostAuto stop Turbach, Post at the Restaurant Sunne-Stübli (summer season opening hours Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM or Sunday evening until 6:00 PM).
  • The hike on the Turbach Theme Trail can be easily done as a day trip. Alternatively, you can combine the trip to the Turbach Valley with a weekend in Gstaad and visit other excursion destinations in the region (e.g., Abländschen, the Lauenensee or the Arnensee). If you are still looking for an accommodation tip, I recommend the Posthotel Rössli. The oldest inn in Gstaad has been recently refreshed and boasts a great location directly on the promenade and cozy rooms, as well as excellent value for money (standard double room from around 250 CHF including breakfast).
  • From the Turbach Valley, numerous mountain hikes can also be undertaken. The classic among them: the ascent of Giferspitz, the highest mountain between the Obersimmental and the Saanenland.

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