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Ibex Trail and ascent to the Mällig

Hikes · Valais
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  • Ibex trail above Saas-Fee
    / Ibex trail above Saas-Fee
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Saastal Tourismus AG
  • / Hiking path in Saas-Fee with view to the glaciers
    Photo: Christian Perret, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • / Wanderer im historischen Dorfteil von Saas-Fee
    Photo: Christian Perret, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
m 3200 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 1800 1600 10 8 6 4 2 km Saastal-Blick Gebidum Mällig Saas-Fee, Busterminal Abenteuerwald
Climb from the top of the Hannig gondola to the panoramic Mällig (2,700 m) and descent to Saas-Fee. Good chance of spotting the emblematic ibex wild goats with their magnificent curved horns.
moderate
10.1 km
4:15 h
418 m
954 m

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.

 

Highlights: 

  • 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

Author’s recommendation

Holders of the «Citizen’s Pass» enjoy free travel on all summer lifts in Saas-Fee (excluding Metro Alpin) and all postal buses in the Saastal valley, along with many discounts in resort.
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Mällig, 2,756 m
Lowest point
Saas-Fee, 1,803 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, hints and links

More information about the destination: 

Start

Hannig, gondola summit station (2,339 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'636'938E 1'107'185N
DD
46.115157, 7.916434
DMS
46°06'54.6"N 7°54'59.2"E
UTM
32T 416271 5107413
w3w 
///path.forgotten.cracker

Destination

Saas-Fee, bus terminal

Turn-by-turn directions

From the centre of Saas-Fee, take the gondola up to Hannig (2,339 m). The trail is clearly marked throughout: from the first zig-zag ascent up Mällig to the shallower climb along the ridge beyond to the walk’s highest point (2,752 m), and then the steady descent north-east to the junction with the Saas-Fee–Grächen high trail. Here our route turns right, descending steadily through the forest. At Bärenfalle (the historical bear trap), the trail levels out, and after a few hundred metres reaches the first chalets on the edges of Saas-Fee. Hikers can either continue straight on to the resort centre and the bus terminal, or turn left to reach the large car park at the entrance to the village.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

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

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'636'938E 1'107'185N
DD
46.115157, 7.916434
DMS
46°06'54.6"N 7°54'59.2"E
UTM
32T 416271 5107413
w3w 
///path.forgotten.cracker
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

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
10.1 km
Duration
4:15 h
Ascent
418 m
Descent
954 m
Scenic Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Cableway ascent/descent Insider tip Point to Point

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