Hikes

Hikes

Goms high trail

Panoramic high-altitude trail along the sunny side of the upper Rhône valley. Glorious views of the Valais mountains. Easy to walk in sections, thanks to the railway linking the villages.

  • Difficulty

    difficult

  • Length

    28.3 km

  • Duration

    9:20 h

The Goms is the name given to the valley of the young Rhône, and the Gommer Höhenweg (Goms high trail) runs its entire length. The trail leads along the sunny side of the valley, a couple of hundred vertical metres above the valley floor – promising gorgeous views of the whole valley, its historical villages and the snow-capped peaks beyond. The full trail measures nearly 28 km, but it is also easy to walk in stages. The railway line of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn runs the length of the valley, linking all the villages – each of which is no more than 20–30 minutes’ walk from the trail. Each village, with its wooden houses bronzed by the Valais sun, has its own special historical charm. The path glides above them all, through flower-filled pastures and fragrant forests of pine, promising excellent chances of spotting alpine wildlife. The trail also passes through part of the Binntal Landscape Park. Most of the woodland along the valley is designated as “protective forest”, carefully maintained in order to protect the villages and infrastructure along the valley floor from potential hazards such as avalanches and rockfalls. Above Ritzingen, the route passes through a forest known as the Bawald, where an audio theme trail (smartphone required) explores the many roles played the forest and the work of the foresters. The trail begins at Oberwald, for centuries a key transport hub at the heart of the Alps. Today, it remains the gateway to the historical Furka and Grimsel passes, as well as the starting point for the Furka heritage steam railway. End point is sunny Bellwald, one of the oldest and best-preserved mountain villages in Valais.   Highlights Scenic high-altitude trail, gorgeous views of the Rhône valley and snowy peaks Charming historical villages at start and finish Easy to walk in sections, thanks to the railway stopping at all the villages along the valley

Turn-by-turn directions

The route is clearly marked throughout («Gommer Höhenweg»). One attractive option is to walk the hike in two leisurely day-stages, stopping the night at the pretty village of Münster, the historical capital of the Goms.

Walkers can alternatively access the trail from any of the valley’s villages, each of which has its own railway station. Many of the villages have their own cultural/historical trail, well worth exploring.

About two-thirds along the route, above the village of Biel, a cosy mountain hut – the Berghütte Walibach – serves Valais specialities and other refreshments. 

At the end of the route, at Bellwald, hikers can either walk down to the valley floor or ride the cable car to the railway station at Fürgangen. Here it’s worth walking another 100 m to step onto the Goms Bridge, a 280-metre pedestrian footbridge that soars high above the young Rhône, offering a sensation of floating on air.

Start: Oberwald (1366 m)
Destination: Bellwald (1558 m)

Author's recommendation

Down in the valley, check out the fascinating audio trail devoted to climate and renewable energy, ideal for exploring by electric bike. 33 stops between Oberwald and Mörel. Hire of audio equipment (free) and bikes at Oberwald station and other outlets.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    1789 m 1363 m

  • Ascent

    1127 m

  • Descent

    935 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 6 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

Train to Oberwald (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn). At end of walk, take cable car from Bellwald down to Fürgangen railway station (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn).

Find full timetable information at cff.ch.

Approach

A9 motorway and main road up the Rhône valley to Oberwald. At end of walk, take cable car from Bellwald down to Fürgangen, and take train (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn) back to starting point.

Parking

Oberwald (near station)

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: 

<p>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.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>For all hikes:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on “Print” icon, top right of this page.</li> <li>Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.</li> <li>Close gates after passing through.</li> <li>Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.</li> <li>Do not leave any waste in nature. </li> </ul> <p><strong>For mountain hikes:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.</li> <li>Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.</li> <li>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.  </li> </ul> <p><strong>For high-altitude hikes:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.</li> <li>Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.</li> <li>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.</li> </ul>