The morning hour has gold in its mouth: Grimsel Pass and Aletsch Panoramaweg

Get up at four o’clock in the morning to drive quickly over the Grimsel Pass in the direction of Obergoms in the first light of the morning. Such ideas arise when two crazy ladies plan a hike together. Instagram colleague @nicolehunziker and I had wanted to go to the mountains together for a long time, but the time aspect made us postpone the project into the future from time to time. But this time we finally fixed a date and decided to hike the second stage of the Aletsch Panorama Trail. I suddenly had the idea “we could combine this with a detour to the new suspension bridge between Fürgangen and Mühlebach in Goms”. And promptly our hike turned into a mini-road trip from the Bernese Oberland over the Grimsel Pass across Goms followed by a hike along the longest glacier in the Alps.

Conclusion: Spontaneous is still best.

Mini road trip over the Grimsel Pass

The Grimsel area is one of the few Swiss regions that is difficult to reach by public transport. There is a post bus connection over the pass, but no matter which direction you come from, it takes a lot of time. And if you want to catch the first rays of sunshine at 06:00 a.m. at the top of the pass, you either have to spend the night at the top, or get up at the crack of dawn like we did and arrive with your own car / motorbike.

Coming from Guttannen, we fear for the sunrise due to the suddenly piling clouds. At the start at 04:45 in Thun the sky was still starry?! As soon as we have crossed the fog at Räterichsbodensee, we are greeted by a cloudless sky and a magnificent panorama with the peaks glowing in the dawn high above the sea of fog. At the top of the pass at Totensee, the sun is already peeking out from behind the peaks. Dreamlike moments.

So early in the morning there is hardly any traffic on the road and so we can allow ourselves one or two spontaneous stops on the way to Oberwald. Particularly enchanting is the view towards the Rhone Glacier, the Furka Pass road and the Hotel Belvedere, which is located high above the valley in a bend of the pass road. And through the car window I discovered some very charming Goms villages on the drive from Oberwald to Bellwald. If we had stopped everywhere, the hike would probably have fallen into the water. That’s why I’ll return to Goms at some point with more time.








Attraction “Goms Bridge”

At the Fürgangen-Bellwald train station we stop again. The new 280 m long suspension bridge, which connects the two hiking areas of Bellwald and Ernen over the Rhône, was officially inaugurated on 14 June. In the meantime, the bridge has already become an attraction in Goms. And since I had already read so much about it, I naturally wanted to take a closer look at this building. Particularly impressive is the view into the depths, where the still young Rhone meanders through the fir forest.



Out and about on the Aletsch Panorama Trail

And then, shortly before nine o’clock, we reach our actual destination – the Betten valley station. Here we park the car, take the cable car to Bettmeralp and from there, after a short walk through the village, continue up to the Bettmerhorn. With a view of the Matterhorn, we treat ourselves to a well-deserved breakfast at the mountain station. With coffee and nut croissants in your stomach, it’s simply better to hike.

Freshly strengthened, we follow the Aletsch Panorama Trail in the direction of Lake Märjelen. The hiking trail lives up to its name. The Aletsch Glacier is practically at our feet. Up to Lake Märjelen, the trail runs mostly in stony terrain. In between, surefootedness is required, but otherwise the path is easy to walk on and not particularly demanding. A constant companion is the tinkling of the sheep, which indulge in the beautiful alpine life above and below the hiking trail. At the junction “Roti Chumma” we are suddenly confronted by a snuggly black-nosed sheep – but the term “ball of wool” would probably describe it more accurately.

Bettmerhorn Bettmeralp auf dem Aletsch Panoramaweg







At Lake Märjelen, there are numerous secluded resting places on large stones in the middle of cotton grass meadows. But you can also leave your picnic at home, because the Gletscherstube tempts you with delicious menus. I order a cheese slice, and since we are so early, we enjoy the idyllic atmosphere on the terrace afterwards.







There are two options to choose from for the onward journey to Fiescheralp. Either you hike around the Tälligrat or you take the shortcut through the Tälligrat tunnel. We opt for the latter and dive into the dark world of the 1 km long tunnel. Originally, the tunnel was used to drain Lake Märjelensee.

On the last section there are beautiful views in the direction of Bellwald and Fiescher glacier as well as curious cattle along the way.





Practical tips for the Aletsch Panorama Trail

The route can be found on the map below. The Aletsch Panorama Trail leads in two stages from Belalp to Fiescheralp. Last summer we explored the first stage. We started the second stage on the Bettmerhorn. The route via Märjelensee is 9.1 km long, includes an ascent of 180 meters and a descent of 600 meters in altitude. The pure running time is around 3 hours. The Bettmerhorn can be reached from Betten via Bettmeralp by cable car. GA travelcard holders do not have to buy an additional ticket for the feeder to Bettmeralp – the same applies to the return journey from Fiescheralp to Fiesch. A one-way ticket from Bettmeralp to Bettmerhorn costs CHF 15.40 without GA travelcard (50% discount with GA travelcard). Depending on the length of your stay in the Aletsch Arena, it may be worth buying a hiking pass.

In the Gletscherstube on the Märjelenalp you can not only eat well, but also spend the night.

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