Aletsch Glacier
Aletsch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier

Swiss Alps
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Sunny day over the Altesch GlacierGondola ascending to the trailhead of Altesch Glacier overlookHiker near Altesch GlacierAltesch Glacier, SwitzerlandPicnic near Altesch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier

Distance: 4.1mi
Elevation: 1,371ft
Time: 2.5-3.5h

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The Aletsch Glacier hike gives you a great view of the largest glacier in the Alps from an elevated vantage point. The hike is easy and starts with a gentle descent. There is a chance you will encounter marmots on the trail.

Aletsch Glacier Map

Getting there

The Aletsch Glacier is near Bettmeralp, in the Canton of Valais. From Lausanne, you can drive 105.6mi to Bettmeralp (about two and a half hours). You will need to take a lift up to Bettmeralp village at 6562ft elevation. Another lift to Bettmerhorn lift station (8661ft) takes you to the start of the hike.

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About

When to do

May to October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Pets allowed

Yes

Family friendly

Older Children only

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Low

Route Type

Out and back


Aletsch Glacier
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Aletsch Glacier

The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps at a staggering 14.3mi long. This route will take you on a trail alongside the glacier from a safe distance. The trail is rocky, so light hiking boots are recommended as a baseline. There is a restaurant and restroom at the Bettmerhorn station should you need a quick break, as there are no amenities after this.

Find out what time the last lift will operate from Bettmerhorn station and set a turn around time for your group. Once you hit this time, head back to the lift station even if you have not reached the turn around point of the GPS route. You don’t want to get stuck!

From the Bettmerhorn lift station, follow the trail westward and downhill towards the glacier. There is a fork on the trail about 1640ft from the lift station, head to the right here.

The trail zig zags steeply downwards to the glacier then levels out and heads northeastward parallel to the glacier. You will cross an area of moraine or unconsolidated rocks, and we recommend moving through this section without delay due to the possibility of rockfall.

Follow the trail until you hit the turnaround point indicated by the GPS route, about 1.9mi from the lift station. This is a great time for a picnic. Reverse the route back to the lift station with some time allowance before the last lift service for the day. The trail becomes steep as you get near the lift station, so save a bit of energy for the end.

Insider Hints

  • There is multi-day parking at the lower lift station below Bettmeralp.

  • Have your camera ready in case you spot a marmot beside the trail.

  • Staying overnight or two at Bettmeralp village will give you more time to enjoy the hike and surrounding area. Several hotels are located in the village, but book ahead.

  • If you will stay in a hotel in Bettmeralp, take note that all your luggage has to go up by the gondola

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