The Aletsch Glacier in Canton Valais, measuring 23 km in length and 900m in depth at its thickest point (Concordia Place, where four glaciers meet), is the largest glacier in the Alps.
The Aletsch Arena encompassing this glacier among others, is a very large region that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, and is also a very large winter sport area, popular not only with skiiers but also with snow-shoers and regular hikers looking for spectacular views.
And spectacular it is. When walking westward you have the distinctive peak of Mount Matterhorn always in front of you, and behind you is the mighty glacier flanked by Mount Bettmerhorn and Mount Aletschhorn, but just as stunning is the Upper Rhone Valley below to the South and the Massa Gorge and Upper Aletsch Glacier to the North.
On a sunny day without wind, this is pure bliss. And the area is so large that the people tend to spread out, so you don't get that overcrowded feeling, except maybe on the lower portion between the two alpine villages of Riederalp and Bettmeralp.
Along the way are plenty of snack bars, restaurants and cafés to choose from, even if only to sit on a sunny terrace and enjoy the views. There are also a large variety of cable cars and gondola lifts, so this tour can be started and ended in a variety of ways. Those who prefer to walk up from Riederalp instead of taking the gondola / chair lift need to reckon with an hour and a half longer (see also this website for such an alternative, at this link Riederalp Round Tour )
This variation here is the "Sunday Afternoon Walk" option, and is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable.
- The cable cars to Riederalp start in Mörel in the Upper Rhone Valley, reached by car or Gotthard-Matterhorn Railway from Visp. There are two options, a gondola (runs continuously) to Riederalp West, and a large cable car to Riederalp Mitte that runs every half hour, or more often if there are lots of people. From Riederalp West it takes 20 minutes to walk to the Moosfluh station, and from Riederalp Mitte it takes 10 minutes.
- A one-way ride with the gondola / chair-lift at Moosfluh costs 14 SFr. in winter, or 50% with the GA.
- At Bettmeralp there are also two cable cars to descend to Betten in the valley (from which you can take a train to return to the parking lot). The large one officially runs every half hour but more often if there are lots of people. The smaller one runs exactly as per official schedule, and even though you have to change in Betten Dorf, it is timed exactly to the train schedule.
- Both the Betten/Bettmeralp and Mörel/Riederalp cableways are gratis with GA.
- If coming by car, there is also lots of parking in Betten, so you could start there, take the train to Mörel, and end up back at the parking in Betten.
Details about the route
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Detailed map with traced route on SwissMobility map, including elevation profile
GPS file for download
Route description in text form
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If you are vacationing in the Goms Valley to enjoy the plentiful winter sun and the ample opportunities for winter walking or cross-country skiing, this short round tour takes... more >>