5 alpine hikes in Saas-Fee/Saastal

Summer in this slice of Switzerland is a walker’s paradise, as these five hikes among wildflower meadows, glacier-carved valleys and magical Swiss Alps scenery prove…

Helen Moat
22 March 2023
Promoted by
Saas Fee

At 1,800m, the holiday region with the car-free village of Saas-Fee offers top-notch hiking in the summer. Surrounded by 18 majestic peaks topping 4,000m, delicate alpine flowers, ibex and marmots, and rustic villages offering hearty mountain cuisine, Saas-Fee/Saastal enjoys 300 days of sunshine to ramble in. Discover five of its best hikes here…

1. Almagell High-Altitude Trail

Traversing the Almagell High-Altitude Trail (Switzerland Tourism/Lorenz Richard)

Distance: 10.4km
Duration: 3½ hours
Ability level: Moderate
Top tip: Take a welcome break at Almagelleralp mountain restaurant

The hike: Kreuzboden gondola station is the start of a dizzyingly high walk. Along the Alpine Flower Trail, delicate wildflowers meadows contrast with the walls of the glaciated Mischabel massif and 4,545m-high Dom (the highest mountain entirely on Swiss ground). On the Triftgrätji ridge, views extend from Mattmark Reservoir to the far side of the valley. Explore the wild valley of Almagell and venture along the Adventure Trail. Narrow paths cling to the sides of the Almagellerhorn, made accessible thanks to two suspension bridges, handholds and laddered steps. It’s one for the intrepid, but those who dare are heavily rewarded with epic mountain vistas to admire.

While you’re there… relax in cosy Furggstalden above Saas-Almagell
Soak in the tranquillity of this hamlet, with its traditional dark-wood chalets perched on the hillside. Feast on mouthwatering fondue and rösti at Restaurant Alpina, or grab the chairlift for afternoon coffee and cake on the balcony of Heidbodmen mountain restaurant beneath some of Switzerland’s loftiest peaks.

2. The Monte Moro Pass

Hiking above the Mattmark Dam (Saastal Tourism/Puzzle Media)

Distance: 7.4km
Duration: 3 hours (one way)
Ability level: Moderate
Top tip: Take the cable car to Macugnaga, an atmospheric Italian Walser village, for fine Italian cuisine

The hike: Head along the milky-blue Mattmark dam before ascending to the Monte Moro Pass, which borders Italy. From Tälliboden the challenging path climbs through rocky terrain to a hollow of firn – snow compacted year-round – then on to the mountain pass. Stop frequently to drink in the views of the Monte Rosa massif and soaring Dufourspitze. Atop a stone-built plinth, the gilded Our Lady, with her starry halo, welcomes you after a heart-soaring climb to 2,853m.

While you’re there… visit the Mattmark Dam
If you’d prefer a gentler 8km-long hike, circumnavigate the reservoir’s shores. Mattmark may be man-made but the amphitheatre of mountains surrounding it showcases nature at its finest. Returning to the dam wall, grab a well-earned beer or coffee at the restaurant and take in the exhibition of Europe’s largest earth dam.

3. Behind the Mittaghorn

Tracing the Behind the Mittaghorn trail (Saastal Tourism/Filme von Draussen)

Distance: 10.8km
Duration: 3½ hours (with gondola ride from Plattjen to Saas-Fee); 4½ hours (without gondola ride)
Ability level: Moderate
Top tip: Pause at the Brandgrabe cairn below the Mittaghorn to enjoy expansive views over Saas Valley

The hike: The trail curves round the Egginer and Mittaghorn peaks, crossing a harsh but beautiful terrain of scree and boulder surrounded by rock faces. Set out early for the best chance of seeing the long-horned ibex. From Morenia cable-car station, the trail leads up to the saddle of Egginerjoch. Head across the rock face to the end of the plateau for superb views over Mattmark reservoir. At the trail’s end, rest up on the sun terrace of Plattjen mountain station.

While you’re there… climb the Mittaghorn by via ferrata
So, you want to ascend the 3,892m-high Mittaghorn but you don’t have mountaineering experience? Never fear. A via ferrata (iron pathway) safely attaches to the sheer rock face using fixed steel cables, rungs and ladders, making the ascent much easier.

4. Gspon High-Altitude Trail

The Gspon High-Altitude Trail delivers epic alpine scenery (Saastal Tourism/Puzzle Media)

Distance: 17.2km
Duration: 5 hours
Ability level: Moderate to challenging
Top tip: Sample cheese straight from the local producer at the Hoferälpi

The hike: From Stalden take the mountain railway up to Gspon, which offers views over to the glacial mountain of Balfrin. The Gspon Höhenweg is widely considered a classic high-altitude trail in the Valais, winding above Saas-Grund towards Kreuzboden. Widescreen vistas of the Mischabel range and plenty of other 4,000m-high peaks in the Alps, speckled with Valais Blacknose sheep, never leave your eyeline. The mountain scenery reaches its zenith at Siwiboden, the highest point of the trail, with views across the valley basin of Saas-Fee and its glacier world.

While you’re there… explore Kreuzboden and its lake
Picture a marine-blue lake backed by the brilliant white of the Mischabel massif. It’s scenery you’ll feel that you can melt right into, and the nearby Wellness and Yoga Trail is the perfect place for contemplation and recovery. After days of energetic hiking, relax on a short ramble of six yoga stations, wooden deckchairs, hammocks and Kneipp foot hydrotherapy.

5. On the trail of the marmots

The marmots are Saas-Fee/Saastal’s cuddliest creatures (Saastal Tourism/Alex Dim)

Distance: 3.9km
Duration: 2 hours
Ability level: Easy
Top tip: Take the gondola from Spielboden to Längfluh for its glaciers

The hike: Before striding out, drop into Saas-Fee’s Tourist Office to buy treats for Spielboden’s cutest residents, who you’ll meet at the end of your walk. The trail to Spielboden ascends to Glacier lake, an aqua-blue glacial pool tucked behind the Gand moraine. You can rest up at the Gletschergrotte restaurant or continue to Spielboden. Feeding these people-friendly marmots while surrounded by the soaring mountains is the icing on the cake. Speaking of cake, enjoy kaffee und kuchen at Spielboden’s mountain restaurant.

While you’re there… meet the marmots of Spielboden
The title of Saas-Fee/Saastal’s sweetest villagers goes to Spielboden’s marmots. They hibernate for half the year during winter but when spring arrives they poke their heads out of their burrows, so prepare to be enchanted. These roly-poly balls of fur have soft black eyes, rounded faces and are the Alps’ most endearing creatures. Meeting them is an unforgettable experience.

Feeling inspired?

For more information, head to official Saas-Fee/Saastal website.

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