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    Nostalgic Steam Engines in the Upper Goms Valley

    Furka Pass - Stn. Muttbach - Gletsch - Oberwald

    Nostalgic Steam Engines in the Upper Goms Valley

    Furka Pass - Stn. Muttbach - Gletsch - Oberwald

    One of Europe's most important waterways, the Rhône River, has its source at the Rhône Glacier near the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps. From the glacier lake near the Hotel Belvedere along the Furka Road, the river cascades down smoothly sanded rock walls into the Goms Valley, passes through the little town of Gletsch and then roars through a narrow canyon before leveling out in the lower Goms Valley on its way to Lake Geneva.

    Before the Furka Base Tunnel was opened in 1982, the area was serviced by a high altitude train whose overhead electric lines had to be removed in winter and the railway line closed due to high levels of snow. After the line was closed, the steam engines were sold to Vietnam, but then brought back to Switzerland at great expense and effort by railway enthusiasts, and the old railway line was then reopened as a Heritage Line for tourists.

    This tour starts at the Furka Pass but you can also start at the Hotel Belvedere and walk to the Furka Pass, which adds 1 hour and 15 minutes of walking time, but affords great views of the Rhône Glacier from above (if you want to walk to the Glacier Tongue or the Ice Grotto, cost is 10 Fr. at the Kiosk).

    If you time the hike correctly, you can watch the crossing of the Heritage Steam Trains just West of the Tunnel Entrance/Exit. From there you continue along the valley bottom following the path of the river (which is called the Rotten here, the German name for the Rhône) to Gletsch, the home base of the old railway line and hub for the various pass roads which join here (Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass). There is a little museum here with information about the DFB (Dampfbahn Furka) Railway and the Rhône Glacier.

    From here you head below the winding Grimsel Road and if you time it right again, you’ll get another glimpse of the Steam Railway coming up the canyon from Oberwald. The trail then passes through the narrow gorge and along the left mountain flank before descending to Oberwald.


    Published on 15.09.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 30.07.2016
    Published on 15.09.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 30.07.2016

    Route Details

    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Time Required
    3 hours 30 minutes
    12 km
    117 m
    1180 m
    Season Start / Season End
    July - October
    Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
    Points of Interest
    Rhone Glacier, Furka Steam Train, DFB Train Station in Gletsch
    Starting Point
    Furka Pass
    Starting Point with Public Transport
    Oberwald in the Goms Valley
    Return with Public Transport
    Places to Eat
    Gletsch, Oberwald
    Things to Note
    Starting the hike at the Belvedere Hotel adds 1 hour and 15 minutes to the hiking time. To walk to the glacier tongue (whether you want to see the ice grotto or not) costs 10 Fr.

    Route Description

    00:00 Start at the Furka Pass Road and head down the hill in the direction of Gletsch

    00:40 Reach the Muttbach Station where the Steam Trains cross just West of the DFB Summit Tunnel. Continue in the direction of Gletsch.

    01:40 Reach Gletsch. A visit to the little museum and kiosk gives information about the old Steam Railway and the Rhone Glacier. Continue toward Oberwald. You have to walk a short piece along the main road before the trail heads up again a bit to the right.

    01:55 Here is a good look-out point to perhaps watch the next Steam Engine from Oberwald arriving in Gletsch.

    02:05 The trail joins the busy road for a few meters before descending into the gorge where the Rhone River roars through. Continue walking along the North Side of the River

    02:40 Reach a junction in the trail, head down to the River and cross the river, keeping in the direction of St. Niklaus and Oberwald.

    02:55 Reach the St.Niklaus Chapel. Continue along the trail toward Oberwald.

    03:10 Cross the river a couple of times and follow along the railway line and the river into Oberwald.

    03:30 Reach the Oberwald train station.





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