Kreuzboden to Saas Almagell (Hohenweg Kreuzboden)

Distance: 6.0 - 6.3 miles (one way)

near Saas Fee in Valais

Introduction

Great views of the Saas Fee Valley

Hohenweg Almagelleralp, aka Hohenweg Kreuzboden, is another great high route in the Saas Valley. The scenic trail traverses the flower-speckled meadows and rugged slopes between the Lagginhorn and Weissmies with splendid views of the Mischabel Range soaring above Saas Fee. As the hike progresses, views open to the Mattmark Dam and the summits ringing the head of the Saas Valley.

Halfway through the hike the trail curves southeast, entering the Almageller Valley. The Portjenhorn and Pt. d’Andolla rise above the head of the valley while the Almagellhorn towers to the south. The trail now descends pretty meadows to Alamgelleralp on the valley floor. Here hikers will find many lovely spots for a picnic or to take a break while enjoying the beautiful views.

Parties can opt to continue the hike to Saas Almagell by following a trail dropping steeply through a pretty larch forest or take the challenging Adventure Trail, featuring a 60-meter long swing bridge, to Furrgstalden. At Furggstalden a chairlift whisks hikers down to Saas Almagell.

The Adventure Trail is not recommended for small children or anyone with a fear of heights. Sections of the trail are narrow, steep and exposed. Hikers need to scale metal ladders, descend rugs bolted to a cliff face and climb around minor obstacles. The trail is great fun but should only be undertaken by surefooted parties prepared for the challenge.

Kreuzboden to Saas Almagell or Furggstalden

Portjenhorn and Pt. Andolla towering above the ridge at the head of the Almageller Valley

At the top of the Kreuzboden Gondola (7,874-ft/2,400-meters) find the trail signs outside the exit of the lift station. Walk east along a gravel path in the direction of Almagelleralp (2h 45min) and Saas Almagell (3h 45min). The trail to Almagelleralp coincides with the first section of the Alpenblumen-Promenade (Alpine Flower Trail), with signs along the path identifying some of the 240 species of wildflower found in the area.

The gravel path curves around the back of the gondola station and turns into a dirt trail heading south/southeast. Soon the trail crosses a wood bridge over a stream fed by meltwater from the Trift Glacier and begins a delightful traverse on easy to moderate grades through pretty meadows sprinkled with wildflowers, traveling along the slopes between the Lagginhorn and Weissmies.

Across the Saastal (Saas Valley) to the west, enjoy wonderful views of the 4,000-meter (13,000-ft.) peaks of the Mischabel Range, including the Allalinhorn, Alphubel, Taschhorn, Dom and Lenzsptize. The massive Fee Glacier glaciers cling to the flanks of the peaks between the Allalinhorn and Lenzspitze while waterfalls, fed by glacial meltwater, gush down the mountainsides to the valley below. Further to the north along the Mischabel chain the Hohbalm and Bider Glaciers spill down the slopes between Lenzspitze and Balfrin. To the north are distance views of the Bernese Alps.

At 0.6 miles the trail crosses a wood/metal bridge over a small stream. Soon the meadows give way to a rocky landscape strewn with large boulders. Follow the trail as it curves to the west at 1.0 mile and starts climbing through rockslides. As you ascend the rugged landscape views open behind you to the Lagginhorn and the Fletschhorn rising above Kreuzboden.

Soon the grade abates and the trail descends gently as it curves to the south around the end of a ridge extending from the Trifthorn at 1.4 miles. (The Trifthorn is a small peak located on the Weissmies southwestern ridge.) From this vantage point enjoy wonderful views of the 13,000-ft/4,000-meter peaks defining the glacial cirque surrounding Saas Fee. In the distance to the south views open to the Mattmark Dam and the peaks rimming the head of the Saastal.

Beyond the viewpoint the trail follows a descending traverse on moderate grades along a steep hillside, threading its way through snow fencing installed to control avalanches. Metal and rope fencing offers a level of security along a steep, narrow section of the trail with some exposure. The trail section should not present any problems unless it is covered with ice or slick snow.

Reach a dirt road and trail junction at 1.7 miles. The road switchbacking down the hillside to the right (west) leads to Furrwald and Saas Grund on the valley floor. We continue straight ahead (south) on the dirt road heading toward Almagelleralp (1h 50min) and Saas Almagell (2h 50min). Follow the road as it traverses the western slopes of the Trifthorn, ascending on easy to moderate grades. This section of the trail offers excellent views of Saas Fee and the Mischabel Range.

The grade abates at 2.0 miles and the road reverts to a trail, which descends south across the hillside on gentle grades. Go through a metal gate at 2.4 miles and then follow the trail as it crosses a few landslides. To the south enjoy ever improving views of the Mattmark area at the head of the valley.

At 2.7 miles the trail climbs briefly to avoid an old landslide and then continues its descent as it curves to the southeast into the Almagellertal (Almageller Valley). Here views open to the Portjenhorn and Pt. d’Andolla towering above the ridge at the head of the valley. The rugged Almagellhorn looms above the south side of valley.

The trail descends on moderately steep grades through rocky meadows along the north side of the valley. Near the valley floor the trail passes a few beautiful old larch trees. At a junction at 3.8 miles continue in the direction of Almagellalp. The trail will actually pass above the Almagellalp’s three story stone structure and then drop down to the valley floor at 4.2 miles. Here signs point east toward east toward Zwischbargu Pass and the Almagell Hut. If you are looking for a nice place to picnic, continue up the valley a short distance to a spot with good views. Otherwise, make a “U” turn and walk west to the alp building where you will find a small restaurant.

When you are ready to continue the hike, follow the trail heading down valley (west) on moderate grades through boulder strewn pastures along the right (north) side of the stream. At 5.0 miles turn left (south) and cross a wood bridge over a stream on the trail heading toward Furggstalu and Saas Almagell.

Travel through a larch forest for 0.1 miles to a second junction. Here you have two options. The trail branching to the right (southwest) drops down steep switchbacks to Saas Almagell. The trail continuing straight ahead (south) toward Furggstalu travels along an “adventure trail,” a challenging route with a 60-meter (~200-ft) long swing bridge. At Furggstalden a chairlift and a trail descend to Saas Alamagell.

The adventure trail is not recommended for small children or anyone with a fear of heights. Sections of the trail travel along narrow boards attached to the sides of steep slopes, climb down metal steps bolted to a cliff face, descend step stairs and cross rockslides. This trail is not for the faint of heart. (The online photo gallery includes pictures of the adventure trail.) If you are not tired and up for the challenge then take the adventure trail and have a great time.

If you have any doubts about the adventure trail, turn right at the junction towards Saas Almagell. The trail descends step switchbacks through larch forest, reaching the Saas Almagell Post bus stop at 6.3 miles. The “Adventure Trail” arrives at Furggstalden at 6.0 miles. At Furgstalden take the chairlift down the Saas Almagell and then walk to the post bus stop. Signs point the way.

Hike Facts

  • Distance: 6.0 - 6.3 miles (one way)
  • Elevation: 7,872-ft. - 8,302-ft.
  • Elevation Gain: 430-ft.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Basecamp(s): Saas Fee
  • Region: Valais

 

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Kreuzboden to Saas Almagell

 

 

Driving Directions

From the Saas Fee Bus Terminal: At the Saas Fee bus terminal, purchase a ticket for Saas Grund Bergbahnen. Get on a bus bound for Brig and get off at the Saas Grund Bergbahnen stop. The ride takes 10 minutes. From the bus stop walk east to the bottom of the Kreuzboden Gondola Station and purchase a one-way ticket to Kreuzboden. See the Kreuzboden Gondola site for schedules and fares.

To Return to Saas Fee from Saas Alamgell: Get on a bus bound for either Saas Fee or Saas Grund. If you are on a Saas Grund bus, change at Saas Grund for a bus going to Saas Free. (During busy times in the summer you may not need to change buses – always check the front of the bus to see its ultimate destination.)

To Return to Saas Fee from Furggstalden: Take the Furggstalden chair lift down to Saas Amagell and then follow the signs to the postbus stop. Get on a bus bound for either Saas Fee or Saas Grund. If you are on a Saas Grund bus, change at Saas Grund for a bus going to Saas Free. (During busy times in the summer you may not need to change buses – always check the front of the bus to see its ultimate destination.) For more information on the lifts see the Saas Fee Lift Schedule and look at the section labeled Saas-Almagell.

 

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Saas Fee

Region Information:
Valais

Other Hiking Regions in:
Switzerland