No matter where you are coming from, you have to pass through Interlaken first. Though a relatively small town, Interlaken has two train stations, Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost. From the latter the fastest journey to Gimmelwald by public transport takes 55 minutes, and trains leave once an hour starting at 6:00am and then at 5 minutes past every hour (7:05am, 8:05am, 9:05am, etc. through 19:05, then 21:01 and 23:16). Round-trip ticket Interlaken Ost–Gimmelwald costs 32.00 Sfr. (26.00 Sfr. with Eurail and free with Swiss Pass).
1) Take the train Interlaken Ost-Lauterbrunnen
Be careful, this train has two parts!
The first half goes to Lauterbrunnen. The second half goes to Grindelwald. The cars are marked. Make sure you board the correct one.
You will arrive in Lauterbrunnen 20 minutes later.
2) Take the bus Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg
Once you get out of the train, cross the tracks and walk about 50-100 meters to your right, where you will find a bus stop. It's the only bus and Stechelberg is the end of the line, so you can't go wrong. The ride is about 12 minutes long, and you will disembark right next to the gondola station. (Note: Try to avoid the 20:01 train out of Interlaken because you will get to Lauterbrunnen when the Lauterbrunnen--Stechelberg bus is not running. There is a bus at 19:35 and 21:35, but nothing in between.)
…or walk from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg
It's about an hour and a half flat walk (longer with a camera) to the gondola station and is well worth it, even with a full backpack on one's shoulders. If the weather is nice and the sun is still out it's a good alternative to a bus.Walk up the main street in Lauterbrunnen and keep right before you get to the church. Follow the signs to "Schilthornbahn / Talstation"
3) Take the gondola Stechelberg – Schilthorn
to its first stop Gimmelwald
5 minutes ride. Welcome to Gimmelwald!
(It is possible to hike from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald, though we don't recommend doing it with a full backpack. It's a relatively steep climb up (500 meters or 1500 feet gain in elevation), which will take you about 1.5 hours.)
4) Exit the cable car station in Gimmelwald
and you will see the Mountain Hostel sign up to the left. Walk up the little path to the left across a field to get to the mountain hostel.