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Chamois trail

Hikes · Valais
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Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • View to the glacial lake
    / View to the glacial lake
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / View to the village of Saas-Fee
    Photo: CC BY-ND
  • / Spielboden cable car with restaurant Gletschergrotte and Hannig
    Photo: CC BY-ND
m 2400 2300 2200 2100 2000 1900 1800 1700 8 6 4 2 km Hannig Saas-Fee
Panoramic high-level hike that showcases Saas-Fee from different angles and reveals the power of the glaciers that sculpted this bewitching landscape.
moderate
Distance 9.7 km
3:30 h
588 m
588 m

The Gemsweg (“Chamois Trail”) circular route reveals views of Saas-Fee from three sides as it leads through the spectacular glacial landscape that attracted the first international visitors more than 150 years ago and continues to bewitch guests today.

The hike begins at Saas-Fee. The first half of the walk leads uphill across the mountain slopes to the west of the resort, eventually reaching the crest of the former lateral moraine of the Fee Glacier. The ridge offers a fine view of the young landscape revealed by the retreating glacier: a stony valley decorated with a lattice of rivulets flowing into a glacial lake. Two centuries ago, all this lay under a river of ice: the atmosphere is magical.

Our trail follows the ridge downhill before traversing this new riverscape upstream of the lake. A climb through the forest leads to the Gletschergrotte, a mountain restaurant with sun terrace that offers a handy refreshment stop.

Beyond, the trail cross a pair of glacial streams along the way. It then goes down along the Feevispa river and leads you back to the village of Saas-Fee. 

The walk offers good chances of spotting wildlife including chamois. These agile and shy goat-antelopes can run at up to 50 kph and jump 2 metres vertically in the air. You’ll need patience and a keen eye to spot them!

 

Highlights 

  • Superb views of Saas-Fee, its mountains, glaciers and valley
  • Encounter with the new landscapes sculpted by the Fee Glacier
  • Panoramic gondola rides & restaurants at start and finish

Author’s recommendation

Visit the restaurant Gletschergrotte and taste local dishes from Valais. The restaurant’s name is due to a glacier grotto, which was accessible at this place a few decades ago.
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Restaurant Terminus, 2,205 m
Lowest point
Glacial lake, 1,760 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

For all hikes:

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on «Print» icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature.

For mountain hikes:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

For high-altitude hikes:

  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.

Tips and hints

More information about the destination:

Start

Hannig, gondola summit station (1,798 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'637'903E 1'106'455N
DD
46.108539, 7.928856
DMS
46°06'30.7"N 7°55'43.9"E
UTM
32T 417221 5106664
w3w 
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Destination

Plattjen, gondola summit station

Turn-by-turn directions

From Saas-Fee, the trail heads up west, crossing the Torrenbach and Triftbach rivers before descending gently to Trift. After a steep downhill zig-zag section, the trail traverses the rocky slopes to reach the former lateral moraine of the Fee Glacier.

Our route follows the crest of the moraine downhill, but at the junction turns sharp right to cross the river bed upstream of the glacial lake. Beyond, the path climbs through forest and rocky slopes to reach the Gletschergrotte restaurant.

This latter section from river to restaurant is also the final stretch of Saas-Fee’s fascinating Gletscherlehrpfad (Glacier Trail): 12 information panels show how glaciers have shaped the landscape.

Beyond the restaurant, the trail crosses two more branches of the glacial river before going back to Saas-Fee via the south side. 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Train to Visp; change on to postal bus to Saas-Fee.

Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Getting there

A9 motorway and main road up the Rhône valley to Visp. Turn south up the Vispertal valley, following signs for Saas-Fee.

Parking

Saas-Fee ist car free. Multi-storey car park at entrance to Saas-Fee.

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'637'903E 1'106'455N
DD
46.108539, 7.928856
DMS
46°06'30.7"N 7°55'43.9"E
UTM
32T 417221 5106664
w3w 
///lived.logo.reworked
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Saas-Fee has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 2526 Saas-Fee (composite)

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download) 

For certain walks:

  •  Swimwear

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Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
9.7 km
Duration
3:30 h
Ascent
588 m
Descent
588 m
Out and back Scenic Circular route Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna Cableway ascent/descent

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