The walks around Heimischgartu and the Hoferälpji are some of the most beautiful hikes in the valley and show off nature at its very best. This area is home to many small Alpine settlements and typical Valais structures from years gone by that are still standing today in good condition. Heimischgartu lies above Oberi Brend and is home to the Heimischgartu Chapel, built in 1959 in honour of the Virgin Mary, by peasants performing socage. The area also offers a splendid view of the Mischabel massif and the Fee Glacier.
The path begins at the bus stop in the Saas-Balen village square and starts out south along Bergstrasse. Hikers then turns through 180 degrees to follow the trail as it leads to Hollerbiel by the waterfall.
After crossing the bridge, the path forks off the road to the right (facing uphill) and runs parallel to the road until it reaches Grundbiele. From here, hikers begin the ascent along a zigzag path up to the hamlet of Matt. Once past Matt, the path once again leaves the road on the right and climbs high up to Rächti, where it starts to head south. At Ze Gartu, the path climbs slightly higher to Heimischgartu, where the trail ends. Hikers can either descend via the same route or via alternative route A, which turns the ascent over Matt into a beautiful circular hike. This trail is suitable for mountain bikes until it reaches Heimischgartu.
Alternative A: The route over the Rittmal has the same destination point as the main trail, and the two can be joined together to form a circular hike. The ascent begins along Bergstrasse to Hollerbiel and then follows the road up to Meiggerli, where the path forks left (facing uphill) and continues to climb until it joins the road again. After a short section on the road, the trail forks off to the right and leads to the Rittmal – the start point for the alternative descent from the Gspon High-Altitude Trail. The path then continues past the pretty Alpine settlements of Underi Brend and Oberi Brend, crosses over the Fellbach stream and ends at Heimischgartu.
(Saas-Balen, Rittmal, Underi/Oberi Brend, Heimischgartu; 8.2 km; 621-metre altitude difference; 2.15h)
Alternative B: More proficient hikers have the option of carrying on from Heimischgartu and tackling the beautiful climb over the Hoferalpji and Distel areas to the Grüebu Glacier. This alternative route passes many delightful natural locations and glacial lakes before arriving at the snout of the Grüebu Glacier. This route is also suitable for experienced mountain bikers.
(Heimischgartu, Hoferalpji, Grüebesee; 11.1 km; 1,365-metre difference in altitude; 5 hours)
Make sure you plan enough time for the hike and be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes and good outdoor clothing.
Pay attention to the Postauto bus timetable.
A church and chapel guide is available from all tourist offices in the Saas Valley.
Key figures for the last 12 months (since Oktober 2015)
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Compared with all other Hiking tours in the Wallis region
Tour history (B05532)
First published: Montag, 1. Juli 2013
Last updated: Freitag, 23. Januar 2015
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