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Fitness
Cycling

Mattmark - Trophy of the Dams

Cycling · Valais
Responsible for this content
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Mattmark Dam
    / Mattmark Dam
    Photo: Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • / Mattmark road
    Photo: Christian Pfammatter, Valais/Wallis Promotion - Christian Pfammatter
  • / Cyclist on Mattmark road
    Photo: Christian Pfammatter, Valais/Wallis Promotion - Christian Pfammatter
  • / Cyclists and Mattmark dam
    Photo: Christian Pfammatter, Valais/Wallis Promotion - Christian Pfammatter
  • / Cyclists on the Mattmark road
    Photo: Christian Pfammatter, Valais/Wallis Promotion - Christian Pfammatter
  • / Mattmark Staudamm
    Photo: Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • / Mattmark Dam
    Photo: Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • / The Mattmark dam
    Photo: Valais/Wallis Promotion
m 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 30 25 20 15 10 5 km Mattmark

From Visp, enjoy a climb through the “Saastal” valley until the village of Saas-Grund. Attack the second half of the climb that takes you via a road carved into the mountain to this impressive dam at an altitude of 2,197 metres. Resting at the foot of the Allanine glacier and peaks that tower over 4,000 meters, take this moment to enjoy a breath of fresh air!

difficult
34.3 km
4:00 h
1556 m
0 m

Think of the climb to Mattmark dam as a pilgrimage...in memory of the 88 workers who died on Monday 30 August, 1965, at 5:15pm, when a chunk of the Allalin glacier collapsed onto the dam construction site. It was not until 1969 that this dam was finally put into operation. Only steps away from the Italian border, the dam is hovered over by towering peaks: Allalinhorn (4,021m), Rimpfischorn (4,199m) and Strahlhorn (4,190m). You will notice as you pass through Saas-Grund that you will only be a few kilometres away from the famous mountain resort of Saas Fee.

Author’s recommendation

A visit to the inside of the dam is possible and free of charge. 

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Mattmark dam, 2202 m
Lowest point
Visp, 646 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Mattmark Restaurant

Safety information

Strictly respect the Swiss traffic rules. Please note that you are running the tour at your own risk and all liability is refused. Please be considerate to plants and animals. For your own safety, wear an helmet every time you ride a bike. Emergency numbers: 144 Ambulance / 117 Police / 1414 Helicopter Rescue (Rega).

Equipment

We recommend: bike in excellent working order, helmet, gloves and bell, clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof), food and drink.

Tips, hints and links

More information: 

Start

Visp train station (646 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.293773, 7.882643
UTM
32T 413939 5127295

Destination

Mattmark dam

Turn-by-turn directions

From Visp, you’ll have a nice warm-up along the river Vispa on the road leading to the famous resorts of Zermatt and Saas Fee. You pass through the village of Stalden before taking the left fork towards the Saastal Valley. The climb is relatively steady until Saas-Balen. From here you can then spin the legs a bit to Saas-Almagell via Saas-Grund before tackling the final steep section of the climb to the foot of the dam. Unlike other Valais dams, the Mattmark dam, inaugurated in 1969, is an earthen dam, the biggest in Europe. You can even ride all the way to the top. It’s a very impressive stack of rocks. Stunning views guaranteed!

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public transport friendly

Regular train connections to Visp via Lötschberg (coming from Zurich/Bern) or via Lausanne (coming from western Switzerland). 

Getting there

Different possiblities to access Visp by car: 
  • Lötschberg car shuttle train, then drive to Gampel and take the main route to Visp. 
  • Furka (pass or car shuttle train), then drive through the Goms valley to Brig and then to Visp. 
  • A9 motorway via Sion and Sierre, then main route to Visp. 

Parking

Parking at the train station in Visp. Follow the local car park routeing in Visp. 
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Brochures: Road Cycling Map

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo Maps 1:25'000: 1288 Raron / 1308 St. Niklaus / 1329 Saas


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
34.3 km
Duration
4:00h
Ascent
1556 m
Descent
0 m
Public transport friendly In and out Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Insider tip

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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