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High Passes of Valais West: Ulrichen to Simplon

High Passes of Valais West: Brig to Grächen

Overview

This 7-day self guided tour connects some of the most beautiful valleys in the canton of Valais. Your adventure starts in Binntal, located on the north side of the Lepontine Alps and ends in the valleys of Mattertal and Val d’Anniviers. From sunny slopes, through forests and Alpine meadows and tiny, picturesque villages set amidst lush pastures, the route takes you to the Simplon Pass, which links Brig (Valais) with Domodossola in Northern Italy.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Brig

Welcome to Brig! The town of Brig with its historic old quarter and the Stockalper Palace lies in the sunny Upper Valais at the foot of the Simplon Pass. The history of Brig is closely linked with the Simplon Pass, one of the most beautiful alpine passes which starts immediately beyond the city gates. Napoleon built a road through the Simplon Pass in the 19th century to move his armies, thus creating the first man-made road in the Alps.

Day 2: Brig/Binn – Rosswald | 17 km

By train and bus to Binn. The attractive pass hike over the Saflischpass affords the first views of the Valais 4000-metre-mountain world. The village of Rosswald offers views down into the Rhone Valley from its scenic terrace.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 17 km / 6.5 h ↑1350 m ↓950 m
  • Accommodation: Berghotel Klenenhorn in Rosswald

Day 3: Rosswald – Simplon Pass | 18 km

A varied stage, with panoramic scenery throughout Alpine climb to Bortelhütte, blueberry picking above Rothwald in autumn. The trail leads along with the pass road gallery from Schallbett to the Simplon Pass.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 18 km / 6 h ↑1100 m ↓900 m
  • Accommodation: Pension Hospiz in Simplon Pass

Day 4: Simplon Pass – Visperterminen | 19.5 km

From the Simplon Pass, the path immediately begins to go uphill on the climb up the Bistine Pass. Ahead lies the Nanx Valley, though the trail does not go down it but instead traverses up the valley. At the top of the valley, at the foot of the Fletschhorn mountain with the Gamsa Glacier, you hike back down the valley on the other side. Enjoy the view of Mischabel mountains with the 4545 metre Dom.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 19.5 km / 6 h ↑840 m ↓880 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Rothorn*** in Visperterminen

Day 5: Visperterminen – Saas-Fee | 24 km

In the morning, the left side of the valley is still in the shade. On a hot summer’s day’s hiking, this is a welcome start. Today’s hike will offer some wonderful views in upper Valais with little height difference along mountain slopes through forests and alpine pastures. On your way, enjoy the un-browned old storage huts, barns and stables. The descent to Saas-Grund is rather steep and tricky. As the stage comes to an end, there is one more challenge with a 250 m ascent to Saas-Fee. Here, there is a great choice of restaurants and bars offering various refreshments and delicious food. 

  • Walking for the day: approx. 24 km / 8 h ↑1245 m ↓1410 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Alphubel*** in Saas-Fee

Day 6: Saas-Fee – Grächen | 20 km

The trail from Saas-Fee to Grächen is spectacular, extremely exposed in parts with steel cables providing secure holds on precarious sections and demands a certain head for heights. Begin by hiking through larch, stone pine and spruce trees. The surroundings become rockier and rockier, and the drop next to the path is steep down the mountain. Walk along the Saas Valley at 2,000 m above sea level. Dizzying views deep into the Saastal and enthralling views to the Fletschhorn, Lagginhorn and Weissmies. Take the cable car from the Hannigalp towards Grächen.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 20 km / 7 h ↑1250 m ↓1450 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Eden*** in Grächen

Day 7: Departure

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a mix of nice hotels, guesthouses and pensions in double or twin private en-suite rooms, except at the Pension Hospiz in Simplon Pass, where no en-suite rooms are available. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All breakfast are included. Picnic lunches are optional at an extra charge and can be ordered locally. You can have dinner at your hotel or the nearby restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

A smooth start in the beginning in the valley of Goms. As soon as you reach the Simplon Pass area, the trails get more rugged. Good physical condition is required. Please check the kilometres and the altitude change in the day-to-day itinerary above (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from July to September. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

The climate is moderately continental, with cold winters and warm summers. In autumn and spring, and sometimes even in winter, the foehn can blow from the south. In summer, the temperatures are generally pleasant and lend themselves to outdoor activities. However, sometimes there can be rains and thunderstorms.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Zurich (ZRH) or Geneva (GVA).

By train or bus
  • Take the train from Zürich Airport to Brig (approx. 2h 30m). For more information and timetables, please visit Swiss Railways (SBB/CFF/FFS) or use the Omio planner above.
  • By car: Parking spaces in Brig (CHF 8 per day). Return journey by bus and train from Grimentz via Vissoie and Sierre to Brig. Duration approx. 1.5 hours

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer on all walking days (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Detailed route notes (1 x per room) & GPS tracks
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Bus and cable car fare
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Extra charges may be applicable for last-minute bookings for this specific tour!
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • Extra nights in Brig are available upon request

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