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Hikes

From Visperterminen to the Simplon Pass via the Nanztal valley

Hikes · Valais
Responsible for this content
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Simplonpass
    / Simplonpass
    Photo: Christian Pfammatter, Valais/Wallis Promotion - Christian Pfammatter
  • / Steinadler Simplonpass
    Photo: Brig Simplon Tourismus AG
  • / Gibidumsee.
    Photo: Fritz Hegi, Wandermagazin SCHWEIZ
2000 2200 2400 2600 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Giw Gibidumsee Gibidumpass Altes Spittel

The panoramic high trail over the Bistine Pass to the Simplon Pass leads past the crystal-clear Gibidumsee lake and through the pristine natural landscapes of the wild Nanztal valley.

difficult
18.7 km
5:00 h
762 m
723 m

A chairlift carries you from Visperterminen to the upper station of Giw. Immediately you embark on the steepest climb of the whole hike, up to the Gibidum Pass. It is definitely worth making the short detour via the Gibidumsee lake, which serves as a reservoir and also feeds the Heido, one of the famous “Suonen” or historical irrigation channels of Valais. Once, the Upper and Lower Heido served to carry water to the meadows of Visperterminen, but today only the upper channel remains in operation. Since 1916, a 2.65-kilometre tunnel under the Gibidum has carried water direct from the Nanztal valley to Visperterminen.

From the Gibidum Pass, the trail follows the course of the “Suone” into the upper reaches of the wild and pristine Nanztal valley, accessible only on foot. Alternatively, you can take a more direct route to the Bistine Pass by descending to the valley floor near Bististafel and climbing the far side. This is a shorter option but considerably tougher, thanks to the steep descent and ascent, than the gentler route via the upper valley. The Nanztal runs from south to north, and lies between the Vispertal valley and the Simplon Pass. 

At Obers Fulmoos, you cross the river Gamsa and start climbing the eastern slopes of the Nanztal towards the Bistine Pass. Up here, you can already see the final goal of the hike: the Simplon Pass with its mighty eagle sculpted in stone. The monument was built during the Second World War by the 11th mountain brigade, who guarded the Simplon Pass, as a powerful symbol of vigilance.

The hike from the summit of the pass down to Blatte represents a descent of about 500 vertical metres, followed by a short climb up to the Simplon Pass. 

 

Highlights:

  • Gibidumsee lake and the historical Heido “Suone” for the irrigation of the meadows and vineyards of Visperterminen.
  • The magnificent natural landscapes of the wild and pristine Nanztal valley. 

Author’s recommendation

Allow time for a break at the Gibidumsee lake, with its fine views. Because of the shallow water, you can enjoy a dip here in summer.

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Zigera, 2485 m
Lowest point
Blatte, 1889 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.

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

Tips, hints and links

More information about the destinations: 

Start

Visperterminen, chairlift (1963 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.255536, 7.923748
UTM
32T 417047 5123002

Destination

Simplon pass

Turn-by-turn directions

From Giw (2,000 m), a climb of 200 vertical metres leads via Stafel to the Gibidum Pass (2,202 m). The route then follows the Heido “Suone” (irrigation channel) as far as Obers Fulmoos in the upper Nanztal valley. The hike continues on the opposite side of the valley up to the Bistine Pass. The more direct alternative route from the Gibidum Pass down towards Bististafel and up the opposite side of the valley is tougher, thanks to the steep descent and challenging climb of 600 vertical metres over a distance of 4 km up to the Bistine Pass. The final descent from the Bistine Pass is steep once again, especially at first. After about 5 km you finally reach the Simplon Pass at 2,000 m.

Public transport

Regular train connections from throughout Switzerland to Visp. Continue by PostBus to Visperterminen. At end of hike, travel by PostBus from the Simplon Pass down to Brig. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch

Getting there

A9 motorway and cantonal road 9 to Visp. Follow the signs for Visperterminen, taking the Terbinerstrasse road via Unterstalden and Oberstalden as far as Visperterminen.

Parking

Parking at the Visperterminen-Giw chairlift; follow local parking directions in Visperterminen. Better still, park instead in Visp or Brig and travel by public transport to Visperterminen and back from the Simplon Pass to your car.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Visperterminen has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1289 Brig / 1309 Simplon


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Photos of others


Difficulty
difficult
Distance
18.7 km
Duration
5:00 h
Ascent
762 m
Descent
723 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Mountain railway ascent/descent Insider tip

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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