Ibex Trail and ascent to the Mällig
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner Explorers Choice
Ibex trail above Saas-FeePhoto: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
The ibex is the emblematic animal of the Alps: a wild goat famous for the magnificent long, curved horns carried by adult males. These superb climbers favour steep, rough terrain at high altitude. Hikers who keep their eyes open and tread carefully have good chances of spotting these animals along the first half of the hike, above the treeline – and even of taking photographs close up.
Our hike begins with a ride by gondola from Saas-Fee to Hannig, followed by a steep, zig-zag climb up the slopes of the Mällig. This leads past old avalanche defences, an ancient glacier moraine and across rocky terrain to the mountain’s four mini-peaks. These reveal glorious views of the Saastal valley and the circus of 4,000-metre summits that frame Saas-Fee – including the glaciated Mischabel massif with the Dom (4,545 m), the highest peak located entirely within Switzerland.
The trail continues climbing the ridge beyond to reach the highest point of the hike, just above 2,750 m. Here it turns north-east, initially following the high ridge of the Senggflüe before zig-zagging down through boulder-strewn slopes to the treeline and through the upper limits of the Alpine forest.
Soon after, the path reaches a junction with the high trail along the western slopes of the Saastal valley from Grächen to Saas-Fee. Here, our route turns right, following the high trail southwards through pine forest. The contrast with the exposed, rocky slopes higher up is dramatic: now the trail leads through shady glades, where the pine-scented air is decorated with filigree threads of bird song. Eventually our path reaches the first chalets of Saas-Fee before leading into the resort’s historical heart.
- Hike of two contrasting halves: stony, panoramic high-altitude terrain, then fragrant pine forest
- Scenic gondola ride to start of walk, panoramic restaurant
- Good wildlife-spotting opportunities: ibex and birds of prey higher up, forest life lower down
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:
Public transportTrain to Visp; change on to postal bus to Saas-Fee. Short walk (10 min) from bus terminal to gondola station for Hannig. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.
Getting thereA9 motorway and main road up the Rhône valley to Visp. Turn south up the Vispertal valley, following signs for Saas-Fee.
ParkingSaas-Fee is car free. Multi-storey car park at entrance to Saas-Fee.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
- good footwear
- clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
- hat or cap
- bottle for water
- binoculars (optional)
- hiking poles (optional)
- printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)
For certain walks:
- 5 Waypoints
- 5 Waypoints
Questions and answers
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