Walking in the Valais

120 Walks and Treks

By Kev Reynolds

Comprehensive guidebook to the Valais region, describing 111 day walks and 10 multi-day tours. Home to the Matterhorn and Dent Blanche, the routes are in the Fieschertal and the Aletsch glacier region, the Lötschental, Saastal, Mattertal, Turtmanntal, Val d'Anniviers, Val d'Herens, Val de Bagnes, Val Ferret and Vallée du Trient.



Valley walks should be possible between late May and late October, but for higher routes, late June until the middle of October would be the best time to go.


Zermatt, Saas Fee, Grächen, Zinal, Les Haudères, Arolla, Champex, Fiesch, Kippel and Blatten are just a few of the centres used for walking in the Valais.


Walks are graded 1-3 for length and/or difficulty. Grade 1 is suitable for family outings; Grade 2 is moderate walking on good paths, but with the need to be well shod; Grade 3 routes are more strenuous and with some steep ascents and descents with which to contend. No special equipment is required.
Must See

Must See

The Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, The Dom, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Dent Blanche, Bietschhorn and the Grand Combin form a backdrop to the walks. Also featured, the Grosser Aletschgletscher is the longest icefield in the Alps, while magical valleys like the Lötschental. Saastal, Fieschertal, Val d'Anniviers, Hèrens and Bagnes have a wealth of walks on offer.
16 Apr 2014
17.2 x 11.6 x 2.1cm
  • Overview

    With the greatest collection of 4000m peaks in Western Europe and charming valleys and hillsides dotted with chalets and hay barns, the Valais represents the quintessential Alps.

    This walkers’ paradise in southern Switzerland is located on both sides of the Rhône valley and includes the whole of the Pennine Alps, with France and Italy forming its southern and western borders. The region is crowned by iconic mountains including the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Monte Rosa and the Combin. It explores the deep valleys of the region including the Lötschental, Saastal, Mattertal, Val d’Anniviers, Val d’Hérens and Trient.

    There are pristine snowfields and long glacier tongues, meadows full of flowers and marmots that will eat out of your hand. Accommodation is plentiful, ranging from simple mountain huts and back-country dormitories and campsites, to the grandest of hotels, and the integrated public transport system is world-renowned.

    Routes wander from the popular Mattertal and Saastal valleys, to the quiet reaches of the Fieschertal and the picture-perfect Val d'Hèrens. A popular guidebook, this fourth edition continues to provide excellent routes for walkers of any ability – gentle valley strolls, walks of moderate difficulty and strenuous, steep routes from accessible and tourist-friendly bases such as Saas Fee, Zermatt and Arolla.

    • 111 day walks described in full, arranged valley by valley, with other route suggestions
    • 10 multi-day tours for longer trips
    • detailed guidance on valley bases, mountain huts, access and facilities
  • Contents

    The Valais region
    The valleys
    Getting there
    Transport within the Valais
    Notes for walkers
    Suggested equipment
    Recommended maps
    Using this guide
    Grading of walks
    Fieschertal and the Aletsch Glacier
    Walk 1 Fieschertal – Burg Hut – Fieschertal
    Walk 2 Fieschertal – Gletscherstube Märjela
    Walk 3 Burg Hut – Gletscherstube Märjela
    Walk 4 Fiescheralp – Gletscherstube Märjela
    Walk 5 Gletscherstube Märjela – Aletschgletscher – Biel – Fiescheralp
    Walk 6 Gletscherstube Märjela – Aletschgletscher – Riederfurka
    Walk 7 Riederfurka – Aletschwald – Hängebrücke – Belalp
    Walk 8 Ferden – Kummenalp – Fafleralp
    Walk 9 Ferden – Kummenalp – Lötschenpass Hut
    Walk 10 Lötschenpass Hut – Selden – Kandersteg
    Walk 11 Fafleralp – Petersgrat – Kandersteg
    Walk 12 Fafleralp – Krindeln
    Walk 13 Fafleralp – Anen Hut – Fafleralp
    Walk 14 Fafleralp – Blatten – Goppenstein
    Walk 15 Ried – Bietschhorn Hut
    Walk 16 Gspon – Kreuzboden
    Walk 17 Kreuzboden – Weissmies Hut
    Walk 18 Kreuzboden – Trift – Saas Grund
    Walk 19 Kreuzboden – Almagelleralp – Saas Almagel
    Walk 20 Saas Almagell – Almagelleralp – Almageller Hut
    Walk 21 Saas Almagell – Saas Grund – Saas Balen
    Walk 22 Saas Almagell – Furggalp – Saas Almagel
    Walk 23 Saas Almagell – Furgtälli – Saas Almagel
    Walk 24 Mattmark – Antrona Pass – Saas Almagel
    Walk 25 Mattmark – Ofental – Mattmark
    Walk 26 Mattmark – Monte Moro Pass – Mattmark
    Walk 27 Saas Grund – Saas Fee (via Kapellenweg)
    Walk 28 Saas Grund – Seng – Saas Fee
    Walk 29 Saas Fee – Saas Almagell – Saas Fee
    Walk 30 Saas Fee – Gletschergrotte – Spielboden
    Walk 31 Saas Fee (Hannig) – Mischabel Hut
    Walk 32 Saas Fee (Hannig) – Gletschersee – Saas Fee
    Walk 33 Saas Fee (Felskinn) – Britannia Hut
    Walk 34 Saas Fee (Plattjen) – Britannia Hut
    Walk 35 Saas Fee (Plattjen) – Hannig
    Walk 36 Jungen – St Niklaus
    Walk 37 St Niklaus – Randa – Täsch – Zermatt
    Walk 38 St Niklaus – Grächen
    Walk 39 St Niklaus – Gasenried
    Walk 40 Grächen – Hannigalp – Saas Fee
    Walk 41 Grächen – Gasenried
    Walk 42 Randa – Schaliberg – Randa
    Walk 43 Täsch – Täschalp
    Walk 44 Täschalp – Täsch Hut
    Walk 45 Täschalp – Täsch
    Walk 46 Zermatt (Sunnegga) – Täschalp – Täsch
    Walk 47 Zermatt (Sunnegga) – Fluhalp – Findeln –Zermatt
    Walk 48 Zermatt – Findeln – Eggen
    Walk 49 Zermatt (Riffelberg) – Riffelsee – Zermatt
    Walk 50 Zermatt (Rotenboden) – Monte Rosa Hut
    Walk 51 Zermatt (Schwarzsee) – Hörnli Hut
    Walk 52 Zermatt (Schwarzsee) – Stafelalp – Zermatt
    Walk 53 Zermatt – Zmutt – Zum See – Blatten – Zermatt
    Walk 54 Zermatt – Herbrigg – Hubel – Zmutt
    Walk 55 Zermatt – Zmutt – Schönbiel Hut
    Walk 56 Zermatt – Trift
    Walk 57 Zermatt – Trift – Höhbalmen – Hubel – Zermatt
    Walk 58 Zermatt – Höhbalmen – Zmutt – Zermatt
    Walk 59 Zermatt – Höhbalmen – Schönbiel Hut
    Walk 60 Zermatt – Trift – Rothorn Hut
    Walk 61 Zermatt – Trift – Mettelhorn
    Walk 62 Gruben – Chalte Berg
    Walk 63 Gruben – Meidpass – Hotel Weisshorn
    Walk 64 Gruben – Augstbordpass
    Val d’Anniviers
    Walk 65 Chandolin – Cabane d’Illhorn – Illhorn
    Walk 66 St–Luc (Tignousa) – Bella Tola
    Walk 67 St–Luc (Tignousa) – Meidpass – Gruben
    Walk 68 St–Luc (Tignousa) – Hotel Weisshorn – Zinal
    Walk 69 Zinal – Forcletta – Gruben
    Walk 70 Zinal – Hotel Weisshorn – Ayer
    Walk 71 Zinal – Cabane de Tracuit
    Walk 72 Zinal – Roc de la Vache – Zinal
    Walk 73 Zinal – Cabane d’Ar Pitetta
    Walk 74 Zinal – Cabane du Grand Mountet
    Walk 75 Zinal – Cabane du Petit Mountet
    Walk 76 Zinal (Sorebois) – Cab. du Petit Mountet – Zinal
    Walk 77 Grimentz (Moiry) – Col de Sorebois – Zinal
    Walk 78 Grimentz (Parking du Glacier) – Cab. de Moiry
    Walk 79 Grimentz (Barrage de Moiry) – Haut Tour du Lac
    Walk 80 Grimentz (Barrage de Moiry) – Lac des Autannes
    Walk 81 Grimentz (Moiry) – Sex de Marinda – Grimentz
    Walk 82 Grimentz – Zinal
    Val d’Hérens
    Walk 83 Les Haudères – La Sage
    Walk 84 Les Haudères (Ferpècle) – Bricola
    Walk 85 Les Haudères – Veisivi – Roc Vieux
    Walk 86 Arolla – Lac Bleu – La Gouille
    Walk 87 Arolla – Les Haudères – Evolène
    Walk 88 Arolla – Cabane de la Tsa
    Walk 89 Arolla – Plan de Bertol
    Walk 90 Arolla – Pra Gra
    Walk 91 Arolla – Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges – Arolla
    Walk 92 Arolla – Pas de Chèvres
    Walk 93 Arolla – Col de Riedmatten – Cabane des Dix
    Walk 94 Le Chargeur – Cabane des Dix
    Walk 95 Le Chargeur – Col de Riedmatten – Arolla
    Walk 96 Le Chargeur – Cabane de Prafleuri – Le Chargeur
    Val de Bagnes
    Walk 97 Verbier – Clambin – Cabane du Mont Fort
    Walk 98 Cabane du Mont Fort – Cab. de Louvie – Fionnay
    Walk 99 Fionnay – Cabane de Panossière
    Walk 100 Mauvoisin – Cabane de Chanrion
    Val Ferret
    Walk 101 Praz de Fort – Plan Bagnet – Cabane d’Orny
    Walk 102 Ferret – Grand Col Ferret
    Walk 103 Ferret – Lacs de Fenêtre
    Walk 104 Ferret – Champex
    Walk 105 Champex – Sembrancher
    Walk 106 Champex – Cabane d’Orny
    Walk 107 Champex – Alp Bovine – Col de la Forclaz
    Walk 108 Champex – Fenêtre d’Arpette – Col de la Forclaz
    Vallée du Trient
    Walk 109 Trient – Chalet du Glacier – Trient
    Walk 110 Trient – Col de Balme – Croix de Fer
    Walk 111 Trient – Ref. Les Grands – Col de Balme – Trient
    Multi–Day Tours
    Tour 1 Tour of the Upper Mattertal
    Tour 2 Tour du Val d’Anniviers
    Tour 3 Tour of the Weissmies
    Tour 4 Tour of Monte Rosa
    Tour 5 Grand Tour of Monte Rosa
    Tour 6 Tour of the Matterhorn
    Tour 7 Tour of the Val d’Hérens
    Tour 8 Tour of the Dents du Midi
    Tour 9 Chamonix to Zermatt: Walker’s Haute Route
    Tour 10 Tour of Mont Blanc

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Useful addresses
    Appendix C Bibliography
    Appendix D Glossary

  • Maps

    The Landeskarte der Schweiz (LS) series of maps that cover the Valais region are magnificent works of art. Open any sheet and a picture of the country immediately leaps from the paper – for by clever use of shading, contours and colouring, the line of ridges and rock faces, the flow of glaciers and streams, the curve of an amphitheatre, narrow cut of a valley, expanse of a lake, and the forest cover of a hillside all announce themselves with great clarity. They are a source of inspiration prior to setting out and a pleasure to use day by day.

    At the head of each valley section in this book, a note is given in regard to the specific map recommended for use. In every instance the 1:50,000 series of Wanderkarten, produced in collaboration with the Swiss walking organisation the SAW (Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wanderwege), has been chosen. Although more detail is presented on the 1:25,000 sheets, the Wanderkarten – distinguished by their orange covers and with the letter ‘T’ after their official number – should be adequate for most, if not all, the walks described. These maps are available in the UK from Stanfords in London (see Appendix A for the address) or locally in the Valais from bookshops or tourist offices.

    The commercial publisher Kümmerly + Frey also covers the Valais with a series of 1:60,000 maps based on the LS sheets, and these are mostly available in local resorts. Their 1:120,000 sheet Wallis covers the entire canton and is a useful locator, with a number of major long walking routes outlined in red.

    Some regional tourist authorities also produce their own Wanderkarten to show walking routes based on specific resorts or valleys, and these are on sale at the local tourist offices.

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    Aug 2018

    Walk 46, page 141: Please note that the high route option via Ober Sattla has been officially closed and is no longer feasible. There is a path from Taschalp to Ober Sattla, but only as far as the viewpoint and no further.

    Sept 2014

    Readers planning to visit the Monte Rosa Hut above Zermatt are advised that the route described as Walk 50 in the current (4th edition, published 2014) Valais guide has changed dramatically due to climate change and is no longer valid. The current route involves a steep descent onto the Gorner glacier by way of near-vertical ladders, followed by a glacier hike crossing numerous widening crevasses. Glacier recession and the collapse of moraines will inevitably mean further changes in the coming months and years. Unless adequately equipped and experienced in glacier travel, the Zermatt website (www.zermatt.ch) recommends walkers to undertake this route only with a mountain guide.

    April 2014

    A number of websites have changed since this guide went to print.

    For weather forecasts in Switzerland, the correct website is now:

    Val d'Anniviers

    For the Bureau des Guides in Anniviers, the current contact details are:
    Tél +41(0)78 965 71 20 info@guides-anniviers.ch http://valdanniviers.ch/tourisme/guides-accompagnateurs.html

    For the Chalet Ecole in Anniviers, the current contact details are:
    Tel 027 476 17 60 info@i-g.ch www.i-g.ch

    For Cabane des Becs de Bosson, the correct email and website are now:
    nicki78@netplus.ch www.cabanedesbecs.ch

    Val d'Herens

    For Cabane de Bertol, the correct email and website are now:
    cabane.bertol@gmail.com www.bertol.ch

    For Hotel du Mauvoisin, the correct website is now:

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Kev Reynolds

A lifelong passion for the countryside in general, and mountains in particular, drives Kev's desire to share his sense of wonder and delight in the natural world through his writing, photography and lecturing.

Claiming to be The Man with the World's Best Job, he has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Cicerone since the 1970s, producing over 50 books, including guides to five major trekking regions of Nepal, and to numerous routes in the European Alps and Pyrenees, as well as walking guides for Kent, Sussex and the Cotswolds.

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