Gspon to Kreuzboden (Gspon Hohenweg)

Distance: 8.6 miles (one way)

near Saas Fee in Valais

Introduction

Mischabel panorama

The panoramic Gspon Hohenweg traverses high above the east side of the Saastal Valley with splendid views of the Mischabel Range. The range, separating the Saas Valley from the Mattertal – with Zermatt at it head, is a magnificent wall of mountains with twelve peaks over 13,000-ft/4,000-meters high including the Dom – the highest mountain entirely in Switzerland.

Starting in Gspon, a sun-drenched hamlet on the high slopes near the foot of the Saas Valley, the trail travels south/southeast high above the valley floor, through meadows and forest with ever evolving views of the Mischabel Range. Initally the Seetelhorn, Biggerhorn and Balfrin dominate the view. Halfway along the route the jagged profiles of the Taschhorn, Dom and Lenzspitze join the stunning scene.

Soon views open to the southwest where the massive Fee Glacier spills down the slopes between the Allalinhorn and Alphubel. These peaks, along with the Taschhorn, Dom and Lenzspitze, form an amazing cirque of 4,000-meter peaks surrounding Saas Fee. Huge glaciers cling to the flanks of the peaks while waterfalls fed by glacial meltwater gush down the mountainsides to the valley below.

The trail ends at Kreuzboden where a scenic gondola whisks hikers down to the Saas Gund for a bus ride back to Saas Fee or back down the valley. Purists can walk down to Saas Grund along a very steep trail plunging over 2,700-ft. to the valley floor.

This walk is an easier and shorter alternative to the challenging Saas Fee Hohenweg across the valley, making it a good option for families or anyone looking for a great hike with lovely views.

The trail can be walked in either direction, I recommend walking up valley, from Gspon to Kreuzboden, for the best views.

Gspon to Kreuzboden along the Gspon Hohenweg

Great views of Balfrin and the wall of peaks lining the west side of the Saastal Valley

Take the bus from Saas Fee to the Stalden Bahnhoff and then the two stage cable car to Gspon. (See directions below.) In Gspon (6,217-ft/1,895-meters) find the trail signs outside the lift station. Walk south/southeast along the cobbled track descending through the village toward Chrizbode (Kreuzboden). Along the way enjoy fine views of the Mischabel Range, including Balfrin, the Lammerhorn, Bigerhorn and Seetalhorn, towering above the west side of the Saastal Valley. The Bernese Oberland peaks, including the distinctive triangular-shaped Bietschhorn, rise above the Rhone Valley to the north/northwest.

Reach at “Y” intersection at Ze Hischinu (6,070-ft/1,850-meters) at 0.2 miles. Bear left on the dirt road in the direction of Chrizbode. The path branching to the right drops to Stalden. Beyond the intersection the road ascends through pastures on easy to moderate grades along the east side of the valley and soon enters the trees. After walking a little over a mile the trees thin and give way to meadows with nice views of the peaks across the valley.

At 1.7 miles arrive at Oberfinilu (6,690-ft/2,039-meters) where the trail splits. Bear left on the narrow track ascending toward Chrizbode that travels through a small alp with a pretty little chapel and then enters the trees. Pass a trail splitting off to the left toward Richtung and continue the ascending traverse on moderate to steep grades. Note the trail signs now point you toward Kreuzboden (the alternative spelling).

At 2.4 miles the trail starts traveling through an area scarred by landslides. Beyond the last slide the path climbs through trees up a rocky hillside to Schwarzwald (7,218-ft/2,200-merters) at 3.0 miles, a small alp/cafe set amid lovely meadows with wonderful views of the Balfin massif and the wall of mountains forming the Mischabel Range along the western side of the Saastal Valley. In the distance, a portion of the glacial cirque rising above Saas Fee is visible.

Beyond the meadows the trail briefly re-enters the trees before descending rocky meadows to cross a stream at 3.4 miles. The path now follows an ascending traverse through trees, dipping in and out of minor gullies with small streams.

Reach a pasture at 3.9 miles with more great views across the valley. The trail ascends across the pasture, passing an old stone building and the remains of holding pens, before dropping down soggy slopes on moderately steep grades to cross a wood bridge over the Mattwaldbach (stream).

Past the bridge the trail climbs a series of switchbacks through a small wooded area and then ascends a rockslide to emerge on a large, beautiful pasture at 4.7 miles with knockout views of the Mischabel Range. The Lammerhorn and Balfrin are now joined by the jagged profiles of the Taschhorn, Dom and Lenzspitze, the tallest peaks in the range. Further to the southwest, the massive Fee Glacier spills down the slopes between the Allalinhorn and Alphubel. To the north are splendid views of the Bietschhorn.

The pasture is a great place for a picnic or to simply take a break and soak in the scene. When you are ready to continue, follow the trail as it wanders southeast across the pasture on easy grades and then travels through woods populated with nice old larch and pine trees. Openings in the forest offer ever improving views of the Mischabel Range. In the distance Saas Grund sprawls along the valley floor while and Saas Fee lies nestled in a hanging valley along the west side of the valley.

At 5.1 miles the path climbs briefly and then descends on moderate grades to a trail junction at Linde Bodu (7,310-ft/2,228-meters) at 5.5 miles. Here a trail branches to the right (south) toward Saas-Balen and Saas Grund. Continue toward Kreuzboden, descending through nice meadows and then trees to a gravel road at 5.6 miles.

Follow the gravel road as it ascends southeast on easy grades, reaching a signed “Y” intersection at 6.0 miles. The trail to the left ascends toward Gletscher Swwejine and Sattel. We bear right toward Kreuzboden. Looking south, views open to the Mattmark area and the Schwarzberg Glacier at the head of the valley.

Reach Hoferalpi (7,415-ft/2,260-meters) a short distance past the junction where more signs direct you toward Kreuzboden. Soon the road passes to the right (south) of an alp with a restaurant. Shortly beyond the alp the trail dips into and then climbs out of a ravine, crossing a bridge over a creek carrying glacial meltwater. Past the ravine the path ascends steeply through pretty meadows to the tiny hamlet of Gruebe (7,546-ft/2,300-meters) at 6.5 miles.

The steep ascent through rocky meadows continues beyond Gruebe. Stunning views of the amazing cirque 4,000-meter peaks, including the Alalinhorn, Alphubel, Taschhorn, Dom and Lenzspitze, surrounding the Saas Fee valley will help take your mind off the stiff climb. Huge glaciers cling to the flanks of the peaks while waterfalls fed by glacial meltwater gush down the mountainsides to the valley below.

At 7.0 miles the grade abates as the trail reaches the massive boulder field along the southwest flanks for the Jegihorn. Trail crews have done an exceptional job of plotting a course through the rock, with a few brief respites where the trail crosses rocky meadows. Grand views along the way make it hard to keep your eyes on the trail while admiring the panorama of the Mischabel range.

Finally the rocks end and you arrive at Hannig (8,022-ft/2,445-meters), a popular viewpoint, at 8.0 miles. Here the trail turns left (east), descending to Kreuzboden on moderate grades. Along the way enjoy views of the Lagginhorn and Weissmies towering above the Kreuzboden valley.

Reach the gondola at Kreuzboden (7,874-ft/2,400-meters) at 8.7 miles. During the summer the area features a children’s playground, a small lake and a restaurant with a sun terrace offering sweeping views of the Mischabel Range. From Kreuzboden take the gondola down to Saas Grund and catch a bus to Saas Fee.

Alternatively, you can walk back to Saas Grund via Triftalp on a knee crunching trail that descends extremely steep switchbacks down a rugged hillside, losing 2,760-ft (841-meters) over 2.8 miles. My advice is to take the gondola and save your knees.

This walk is an easier and shorter alternative to the challenging Saas Fee Hohenweg across the valley, making it a good option for families or anyone looking for a great hike with lovely views.

The trail can be walked in either direction, I recommend walking up valley, from Gspon to Kreuzboden, for the best views.

Hike Facts

  • Distance: 8.6 miles (one way)
  • Elevation: 6,260-ft. - 8,110-ft.
  • Elevation Gain: 1,850-ft.
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • Basecamp(s): Saas Fee
  • Region: Valais

 

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile for the Gspon Hohenweg

 

 

Driving Directions

From the Saas Fee Bus Terminal: Take the bus bound for Brig and get off at the Stalden Bahnhoff (train station). The ride takes 32 minutes. Walk across the train tracks to the Stalden- Gpson Luftseilbahn (Cable Car) station and buy a one-way ticket to Gspon. This is a two stage cable car that requires you to change cars at Stalden Reid. Note that the first stage of the cable car stops at a mid-station. Stay put until you get to Stalden Reid where you change to the cable car bound for Gspon. It is a very short walk to the connecting cable car and there is a short wait so you don’t need to rush while changing cars.

Returning to Saas Fee from Unter Dem Berg: The bottom station for the Kreuzboden gondola is in Saas Grund. To return to Saas Fee, walk from the gondola station to the main road. Cross the road to the post bus stop (located near a signpost with the post bus schedule). Catch the bus headed for Saas Fee.

 

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Saas Fee

Region Information:
Valais

Other Hiking Regions in:
Switzerland