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From Leukerbad to Albinen via the historical Albinen ladders

Hikes · Valais · open
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Leukerbad
  • Albinenleitern
    / Albinenleitern
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
  • / Albinenleitern
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
  • / Start der Albinenleitern
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
  • / View to the village of Albinen
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
  • / Die Gassen vom urchigen Bergdorf Albinen
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
  • / Der Dorfplatz Albinen
    Photo: My Leukerbad AG
m 1600 1500 1400 1300 1200 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Heimatmuseum Alte Mühle Heilkräutergarten Albinen
The oldest via ferrata in Switzerland - or rather in the Alps since 1781. Climb the dramatic sequence of wooden ladders on the historical trade route between the villages of Albinen and Leukerbad.
open
difficult
Distance 6.2 km
2:00 h
185 m
309 m

Highlight of this walk is the ascent of a sequence of eight wooden ladders, which once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen. The latter is a traditional Valais village of ancient wooden chalets blackened by sunshine. The two-hour hike from Leukerbad to Albinen is only for those with a good head for heights.

Starting in the village of Leukerbad, the trail leads southwards and through the Lochwald forest to reach the beginning of the thrilling ascent of the Albinen ladders. These once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen, and were primarily used for the transport of agricultural goods. It is also likely – although unproven – that the ladders formed an extension of the Gemmi Pass route linking the Kander valley with the Rhône valley.

The sequence of ladders represents a climb of about 100 vertical metres and ends by the base station of the Flaschen–Torrentalp gondola. Here, the Restaurant Flaschen offers a welcome break for refreshments.

The trail continues, partly through forest, partly through fields and meadows, passing above the hamlet of Dorben before reaching Albinen. This is a typical Valais mountain village with many well-preserved houses and barns. Only the village church is built in modern style, as its predecessor was destroyed in an earthquake. The population was largely self-sufficient until the mid-20th century; the access road was built only in the 1960s.

To make the most efficient use of the land available, locals built their houses very close together. As all the gables of the houses face the same way, across the valley, the village has a remarkably uniform appearance, and is today a heritage site of national importance. 

From Albinen, hikers can either continue in the direction of the mountain villages of Guttet-Feschel and Erschmatt or return to Leukerbad. In order to follow a different route back, walkers can return to Leukerbad via Torrentalp and another dramatic passage, the Wolfstritt.

 

Highlights:

  • The dramatic Albinen ladders, which once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen.
  • The unspoilt mountain village of Albinen with its well-preserved wooden houses dating from the 17th and 18th

Author’s recommendation

Make the walk into a full-day hike by returning on foot from Albinen to Leukerbad – via the Bannwald protective forest, Torrentalp and Wolfstritt.
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Flaschen, 1,554 m
Lowest point
Albinen, 1,278 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. My Leukerbad 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 destinations: 

Start

Leukerbad, main village square (1,401 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'614'729E 1'136'432N
DD
46.379101, 7.630085
DMS
46°22'44.8"N 7°37'48.3"E
UTM
32T 394651 5137081
w3w 
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Destination

Albinen

Turn-by-turn directions

The trail takes you past the base station of the Torrent cable car to reach the bottom of the eight Albinen ladders. Soon after you have climbed up, you pass the base station of the gondola for the Rinderhütte on the Torrent. The trail then leads above the asphalt road as far as Albinen, where you can enjoy some well-deserved refreshments. If you wish, and you have the energy, continue your hike either through the forest towards Guttet-Feschel and Erschmatt or return to Leukerbad via Torrentalp. Alternatively, you can take a bus back to Leukerbad or down to Leuk.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public-transport-friendly

Leuk can be reached by train (SBB), then by bus (LLB - Leuk Leukerbad Bus Reisen) to the starting point in Leukerbad. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Getting there

From Basel and Zurich: A1 motorway to Bern; A6 to Spiez; direction Kandersteg; Kandersteg - Goppenstein car transport; direction Gampel; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Geneva: Motorway A1 to Lausanne; direction Sion/Sierre; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Milan: Motorway A8/A26 direction Simplon; car transport Iselle-Brig; direction Leuk - Leukerbad.

Parking

Different underground car parks in Leukerbad. Follow the local car park routeing in Leukerbad.

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'614'729E 1'136'432N
DD
46.379101, 7.630085
DMS
46°22'44.8"N 7°37'48.3"E
UTM
32T 394651 5137081
w3w 
///showcases.branded.marathons
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Leukerbad has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region and will give you detailled information about this hike.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1267 Gemmi

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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Status
open
Difficulty
difficult
Distance
6.2 km
Duration
2:00 h
Ascent
185 m
Descent
309 m
Public-transport-friendly Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Linear route Insider tip

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