This hike starts with a steady, wooded climb above town followed by a rolling traverse through larches and blueberry meadows, past waterfalls, with beautiful views throughout.
This route passes through an inaccessible area and is therefore closed.
Distance 9.8 km
Highest point2,339 m
Lowest point1,776 m
This is a great go-as-far-as-you-like hike, making a wide circuit around the Saas Fee valley. A good, easy to moderate day would be to hike from Saas Fee as far as Gletshergarten, before following signs directly down to Saas Fee.
If you’re more ambitious you can continue around the valley to Hannig, where you can either hike down to town, rent a scooter (“Trotti bike”) to ride down, or hop on the gondola for a quick and easy descent.
There are two restaurants enroute, at Gletschergarten and Hannig.
If it rains... This is a fine rainy-day walk. Much of the early part of the walk is wooded and not too high or exposed, and the waterfalls can be particularly impressive on wet days. Warm up in the dining room at Gletschergrotto with a hot chocolate.
You might skip the last part of the hike on a wet day and just return to Saas Fee from Gletschergrotto instead of hiking up to Hannig.
The trail starts from the Alpin Express gondola on the south edge of town. From the main square, with the Hotel Dom on your left, walk down the main road and follow it as it curves left and crosses a bridge 7-8 minutes from the main square. Turn right at the end of the road, and pass the Spielboden/Alpin Express lift station. 5 minutes past the station, you’ll reach the trailhead, which points you up to the left, posted Plattjen Berghaus 1:25 (1 hr 25 min).
Follow this trail uphill through the woods. The trail cuts across a mountain road a couple times, but mainly zig-zags steeply uphill. You’ll be working hard for the next hour or so to gain altitude before levelling off to a nice traverse.
About 40 minutes into your climb, you’ll keep left on a sign posted to Maste 4, and then another 20 minutes on, reach another fork in a high clearing, where you’ll bear right and downhill on the trail signposted to Gletschergrotto and known as the Gemsweg trail. If you miss the Maste 4 trail, you will end up just a little higher on the trail at the Plattjen Berghaus, an abandoned hut at 2200 meters, where you’ll have the opportunity to catch the Gemsweg trail. It’s slightly more work, but not much, and is a perfectly fine option.
It’s worth pausing to enjoy the view here for a bit. To the south, the valley is headed off by the beautiful Alphubel peak, over 4200 meters high and draped with glaciers pouring down it’s northern flanks. As you sweep your gaze around to the west is the Mischabel range. The sharp point of Dom, at 4545 meters (14,907 ft), doesn’t stand out quite as much as it might due to the lack of glaciers on this side, but has the distinction of being the highest mountain to lie entirely within Switzerland (that is, not on a shared border with Italy).
Continuing on the trail, you’ll be descending now, dodging in and out of the woods, and passing a number of impressive waterfalls. As you cross around the valley, you’ll come eventually to the Gletschergrotto restaurant, a cozy place with a nice outdoor terrace (and indoor seating), which makes a perfect stop for lunch or a snack.
If you want a short day today, there are signs from the Gletschergrotto restaurant (from the far side of the patio) leading you directly back to Saas Fee in 20 minutes.
For a longer day, the trail to Hannig is also very nice, and is only about 2 hrs from here. Starting from the back of the patio, follow the signs to Trift and Hannig.
The trail first drops down to the bottom of the valley on glacier scoured rocks with a number of interpretive signs talking about glaciers. Cross the stream on the bridge, and the trail starts climbing again steeply, first along the ragged edge of the glacial moraine wall, then across meadows.
Keep along the trail to Trift, a high scenic overlook, where you again take the steep upper trail, keeping right to contour around the valley to Hannig.
Hannig has a large, active restaurant with a big outdoor terrace, and is a great destination itself to sit and enjoy the alpine atmosphere. There is a large playground for kids, and if you’re in the mood, you can even rent Trotti bikes (large scooter-bikes with brakes but no pedals) for a thrilling descent on gravel roads down to town.
Otherwise there are easy trails signposted to town, or you can simply take the gondola that leaves from right behind the restaurant. Your Saas Pass gives you free travel on the gondola.