Hikes

Hikes

Ascent of the Eggerhorn, descent into the Binntal

Climb from the young Rhône valley up a panoramic peak, and descent into the pristine Binntal valley. Thrilling experience of the scenery and villages of the Binntal Landscape Park.

This exhilarating ascent of the Eggerhorn (2,503 m) starts in the main Rhône valley and concludes with a descent beyond into the wild Binntal valley. The contrasts along the way and the spectacular summit views of the two valley systems make for an unforgettable hike.  In fact the entire route lies within the confines of the Binntal Landscape Park, known for its pristine scenery, geological variety and wealth of plant and animal life. The historical villages seem to live in a state of suspended animation, having been bypassed by modern traffic routes; several have won awards for their superb state of preservation. The hike begins in Ernen, one of the first Swiss villages to win the Wakker Prize for the conservation of its architectural heritage. Over recent years, Ernen has made a name for itself as a music village, thanks to its classical concerts in summer featuring international musicians. A steady climb through the forests above Ernen leads to a gentler ascent across the flower-covered pastures at Alpe Frid. The trail then becomes much steeper, but the reward is well worth the effort: spectacular panoramic views from the summit of the Eggerhorn. The route then leads into a different realm: the pristine Binntal valley, which was entirely cut off from the outside world for months every winter until construction of an access tunnel just half a century ago. The historical settlements of traditional wooden houses and barns, bronzed by the sun, are full of charm. Our route down from the Eggerhorn cuts across the pastures to the village of Imfeld (also known as Fäld); an alternative route features a steeper zig-zag descent to Binn. Both ancient villages are among the best-preserved in Valais.   Highlights Ernen – historical “music village” with a renowned international summer festival Eggerhorn – exhilarating climb, panoramic views Binntal valley: pristine landscapes, charming villages of ancient wooden houses

Turn-by-turn directions

From the centre of Ernen, the trail climbs steadily through the forest that covers the slopes overlooking the village. Once the path reaches the high pastures above, it follows the shoulder of the mountain, leading eastwards across open meadows before climbing through a final stretch of forest to reach the treeline. From here, the path leads more steeply up to the summit of the Eggerhorn.

Beyond, the route heads down into the Binntal valley. The most direct path zig-zags all the way down to the village of Binn: a popular alternative conclusion to the hike. Our route, however, branches off to the left at an altitude of about 2,000 m, traversing the slopes for about 1 km before dropping steeply down to the open pasture at Nacke. Here, at an altitude of about 1,800 m, our trail once again turns off to the left and heads eastwards across the slopes down to Imfeld.

Start: Ernen (1195 m)
Destination: Imfeld (1517 m)

Author's recommendation

Stay a night in Ernen before the walk, timed to coincide with a concert. The music festival (June-Sep) features not only chamber music but also jazz, folk and literary events.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    2502 m 1196 m

  • Ascent

    1422 m

  • Descent

    1101 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 4.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 5.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 6 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

Train to Fiesch (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn), change on to postal bus to Ernen. At end of walk, take postal bus back to Fiesch. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Approach

A9 motorway and main road up the Rhône valley to Lax; shortly after, take right turn for Ernen. At end of walk, take bus back to Ernen.

Parking

Ernen. Follow the local car park routeing in Ernen.

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)  

 For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

 

For all hikes:

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on «Print» icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature.

For mountain hikes:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

For high-altitude hikes:

  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.

Additional information

More information about the destination:

Literature

The tourist office in Ernen has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Maps

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1269 Aletschgletscher and 1270 Binntal