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    On the Hunt for the «Flower of Light»

    Unterbäch – Eischoll – Ifil Alp – Ergisch

    On the Hunt for the «Flower of Light»

    Unterbäch – Eischoll – Ifil Alp – Ergisch

    The small community of Eischoll in Canton Valais boasts to be the official home of the rare Spring Meadow Saffron Flower (Colchicum Vernum), nicknamed "Flower of Light" (very similar to the Autumn Crocus). Although the flower is found in other parts of Southern Europe, it is only in the Canton of Valais where there are a few meadows where this flower grows in Switzerland. Shortly after the snows melt (anywhere between February and April) the flowers spring up near the village of Eischoll in vast quantities, creating an image of a purple/pink carpet across the meadows.

    The hope of seeing this spectacle of nature brings many tourists to this area. Our visit to the fields near Eischoll mid-April might have been a bit too late this year, because although we had sightings of individual flowers, we seem to have missed the fully blooming meadows, which is a real shame. It probably pays to call ahead.

    But this easy 8 km walk can be done anytime after the snow melts and still offers great panorama views up and down the Rhone valley, and walks through quaint Valais villages.

    Although the famous meadows are between Eischoll and Ergisch we chose to start in Unterbäch to see if there were some flowers along that stretch. Plus part of the trail there is along the old Haltsuon irrigation channel with indications of some remains of ancient wooden troughs. From Turtig in the Rhone Valley are two cable cars up to Unterbäch and Eischoll, and if one is in revision, there is a shuttle bus at the top between the two villages.

    The first of the famous meadows is just outside and above the town of Eischoll, but we found a few flowers on the Ifil Alp, which is closer to Ergisch. When the meadows are fully in bloom there is a suggested round tour from Eischoll with a lower trail through more meadows and an upper trail through the forest. We chose the forest trail on this day in the hope of finding the flowers at a higher altitude.

    Instead of looping back to Eischoll we walked on to Ergisch, a pretty village with a bus schuttle back to Turtmann in the valley bottom.


    Published on 24.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 19.04.2016
    Published on 24.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 19.04.2016

    Route Details

    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Time Required
    2 hours 30 minutes
    8 km
    229 m
    360 m
    Season Start / Season End
    March - November
    Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
    Points of Interest
    The old mill at Eischoll. Meadows just outside Eischoll and at Ifil Alp.
    Starting Point
    Starting Point with Public Transport
    Return with Public Transport
    Places to Eat
    Unterbäch, Eischoll, Ergisch
    Things to Note
    The cable cars from Turtig to Unterbäch or Eischoll are no charge for holders of the SBB GA.

    Route Description

    00:00 Start at the cable car station in Unterbäch and head in the direction of Eischoll / Haltsuon. It is the longer but much nicer variation.

    00:50 Arrive in Eischoll. At the main central square there are trail markers. Follow the sign to Ergisch, up through the village along the stream that runs under the houses. Once on the road, head left up the hill and soon the pink meadows should appear (if the time is right!)

    01:00 Arrive at a red bench with trail markers. If you follow Ifil / Ergisch (which is what we did) you will walk mostly through forests with sightings of Eurasian Jays to reach the Ifil Alp from the top. If you follow the sign Tännholz / Ergisch you will walk through meadows and across streams with more panorama views, but will have to go uphill a bit to the meadows.

    01:40 Arrive at the Ifil Alp, which is another meadow with a display of the Colchicum Vernum.

    01:50 Arrive at the Ifil trail marker, head West to Ergisch

    02:10 Arrive in Ergisch






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