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hacsutton May 3rd, 2004 07:43 AM

Saas Fee hiking with baby

We're planning a hiking trip to the Saas Fee area. We have a baby that will be 1yr when we go. Can anyone tell me how the hiking is in that area?? My husband and I are avid hikers and did quite a bit of hiking in the Jungfrau area including hiking from Murren to the top of the Schilthorn to give you an idea of our skill level. However, with a baby on our backs we don't want to do any hikes that are dangerous. Elevation is fine, but we want to have sure footing.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!


mikestil May 18th, 2004 08:56 PM

When you get to Sass Fee you can get
a map from the visitor center, I think
it is free or perhaps several CF's.
You take take lifts or start hiking
from the valley floor. I hiked up to
the Mischelhutte, but if was very steep with ladders. YOu can take a
gondolla from Sass Fee to Hanning, then hike along the side of the valley, and return to the valley by
trail if you wish. The hike to the
Britanhutte can be all day if you hike
from the bottom of the valley, or as
little as 1 hr if you take the gondollas. From the Gondolla it is
as easy level walk on snow to the Britanhutte, with beautiful views and
lunch at the hut if you want, very suitable for you and your baby. When I was the weather was clear, with no rain or cold weather. If you want to
a book, I would recommend "Walking SWitzerland-The Swiss Way- By Lieberman published by theSeattle Mounteers. It has a chapter on Sass Fee.

hacsutton May 19th, 2004 11:46 AM

Thanks so much for the info. I will definitely checkout the book!!

brookwood May 19th, 2004 03:50 PM

I suggest keeping off of the Gemsweg trail downhill. It is very steep. I slipped coming down in '98 and fortunately landed on my pack.
The Hannig hike is less steep and gives a good view of the Dom. But the hillside is barren and I thought it was an ugly hike.

Most of the hikes around Saas Fee are steep. You will see why when you get there. The mountains rise straight up to the sky it seems. The Dom towers about 9,000 feet directly over the town of Saas Fee and it seems like it goes straight up for ever. The escarpments of the Michabel Range are also very steep.

The Gspon Hohenweg trail is one of the classics. It is 15K and is a moderate trail in altitude gain and loss.

the Monte Moro Pass behond the Mattmark Dam leads to gthe Italian border. It is said to be interesting.
You drive to the end of the road and park. Hopefully the weather will be clear. I was there on a day in September when the lake was fogged in and the wind was blowing strongly. Not the kind of day I would pick for a fun hike.
Incidentally the climb to the Michabel Hut from Sas Fee involves a vertical climb of 5,000 feet in 3 miles.

hacsutton May 19th, 2004 05:00 PM

Thanks! I'm starting to get a little nervous that there will not be enough hiking for us to do (with baby). All the hikes you mention sound like the type of stuff we'd do alone, but I'm not going to be comfortable doing that type of steep grade with the little guy on our backs!! Does anyone know anything about some good, but less steep hikes in other areas of the valley? We don't mind elevation gain/loss as long as it's not so steep a gradiant that it makes descending dangerous with the baby.

Ingo May 20th, 2004 04:53 AM


I am also afraid you did not pick the perfect area for hiking with a 1yr old. Like brookwood said, the mountains are rising very high above the village, most hiking paths are steep and narrow, can be slippery. Mostly boulders at higher elevations.

I can recommend the hike from Trift above Saas-Grund (middle station of the gondola to Kreuzboden) to Heimischgartu above Saas Balen. This is an easy hike and well doable with a baby.

In general you will find easier hikes at the northern end of the Saastal. Gspon and Visperterminen are good starting points (gondolas) and accessible by bus. From there follow the paths some hundred meters above the valley floor towards Saas Balen.

You had better chosen the canton Graubünden. Easier hikes there.


hacsutton May 20th, 2004 04:37 PM

Should we change our location??? We really wanted to see that area or zermatt as we heard it was quite beautiful. We've already been to Wengen/Murren/Grindlewald area (which we loved) so we wanted to go elsewhere. We really will probably only hike 6 of the days we're there. Will it be possible for us to find 6 or so do-able hikes within that area that will be worth hiking?

Thanks for all the info!

brookwood May 20th, 2004 07:35 PM

Let me play Devil's advocate for a moment. Hikea around Zermatt are steep too!

So let me return to the Berner Overland.
Have you done the Schynige Platte - First trek in a day?
How about going to one of the mountain botels near the Oberhornsee near Stechelberg, and then going on up to the shelter cabin the next day and return. That would use up two days.
You could go as far up the Sefinenfurka as you thought was safe, because it is steep and full of gritty scree toward the top.
Around Kandersteg, thereis a hike above the lake that is an very high and steep.
In fact, there are two. The Höhturli being one and the one to the cabin above the Oeschinensee being another. The Fründen Hut is the one I have in mind. Elevation gain is 4500 feet, which is enough to test your legs.

The why not Mürren over the Sefinenfurka to Griesalp. From Griesalp go over the Hohtürli and drop down to Kandersteg. If your car is in Lauterbrunne, you can take the train back from Kandersteg.
That would men an overnighter at one of the huts along the way, but that should be quite an adventure.

If not, then you could do the Höhturli from Kandersteg only. Thatis shorter and you could cut if off at any point to return by evening if you so desire.

So I suggest you consider doing more inthe Berner Oberland. The transportation network is better and, to be blunt, the hikes are prettier.

I have not been tempted to return to Saas Fee since I was there in '98. That valley has steep trails, but the steepness is ugly.
At least in my opinion.

From the Passhöhe on the Grimsel, near the Hospiz there is a long trail out to a shelter hut. Part of the trail traverses a glacier. The route is marked.
The Eiger Trail is now open, as of two years ago I think. That is another possiblity.

So unless you have exhausted all of the possibilities of the Berner Oberland, why not consider returning there?
You know the network of trains, buses, and cable conveyences. You know places to stay, and above all you know the terrain a little bit.

And also, you could continue past the restaurant at Steieregg to the base of the Rots Gufer Cliffs if you have not already done so. I would not suggest trying to go up the cliffs with a baby because roped parties are not unusual on this section of the trail. People go up with the ladders and cables to hold onto. But if you are in shape, and have the baby well strapped in, why not?

If you really want a good one, go on over the Sefinenfurka to the shelter hut at

hacsutton May 20th, 2004 08:13 PM

Thanks. It's funny that you mention returning there because that's what we've been looking at since I put the last post. My husband was looking at Beatenberg and Thun. Have you ever been to either?

Ingo May 21st, 2004 01:35 AM

Hi again,

6 easy hikes in the Saas Fee area? Hm, hard to find. Or only boring ones, like along the valley floor. Better return to the Bernese Oberland.

Yes, I have been to both Beatenberg and Thun (as daytrips from nearby places). Beatenberg is on the "wrong" side of the Aare valley - excellent views, but hiking is limited. Thun is a town with 40'000 inhabitants, charming but not the perfect choice for a relaxing vacation.

I highly recommend to base yourself in a village right on Lake Thun: Gunten, Hilterfingen, Oberhofen, Spiez -

Very nice is also the western part of the Bernese Alps - mountains are lower, but there are still glaciers there, and it is somewhat more familiar, authentic and less touristy. Last year in fall I have been to Adelboden, which is nice, and I can recommend Lenk, Gstaad or Saanen (or for the whole Bernese Alps) as well. Kandersteg is right between the western and eastern part of the Bernese Alps, the mountains higher, paths steeper and more challenging. IMO not perfect for the hikes with a baby.

Maybe you would like to read my trip report which includes the stay in Adelboden with several day trips and hikes:;tid=34448796

I also posted a link to my pictures on this thread.

Hope this helps,


hacsutton May 21st, 2004 04:53 PM

Thanks Ingo. Your info is very helpful and your trip report and pics were awesome!! We're taking a look at Adelboden, Lenk, and Gstaad as options. I really appreciate your time and assistance!!

hacsutton May 21st, 2004 05:27 PM

Hi Ingo,

One more thing if you don't mind... Can you compare for me Gstaad and surrounding areas to Wengen/Murren/Grindelwald area? I'm just curious how they compare with regards to scenery and the hiking trails.


Ingo May 22nd, 2004 10:07 AM

I am glad you enjoyed the trip report and the pics.

The mountains in the Gstaad area are considerably lower than in the Jungfrau area (Grindelwald/Wengen/Murren). The elevation difference is not as big. The main crest of the Bernese Alps with glaciers is to see in the background, but when hiking in the Gstaad area you are usually surrounded by green meadows (with cows). Of course you can easily get closer to the higher mountains of the main crest - for example go by bus to Col du Pillon and take the cable car up to the Diablerets Massif, where summer skiing on the glacier is available.

Villages in the Gstaad area kept their local, rural flair much better than in the Jungfrau region. You'll find plenty of the traditional wooden chalets with carvings and paintings. As said before, it is less touristy and more authentic.

Hiking paths are easier in the Gstaad area. Gondolas, trains and buses are very sufficient - like in the Jungfrau region.

One advantage in the Gstaad area is IMO that this area borders to the French speaking part of Switzerland. Rougemont and Chateau d'Oex, which are only a few km away and practically are part of the Gstaad area, are the closest (charming) villages of the French speaking region. You could even easily do day trips to Montreux and Gruyere (castles).


hacsutton Jun 6th, 2004 07:43 PM

Alright everyone... I'm back with one a couple more questions. We are still looking at Saas Fee and I'm sure some of you think we're crazy!! I did take the recommendation of MIKESTIL and got the book Walking Switzerland - The Swiss Way. We reviewed the chapter on Saas Fee and think (based on the descriptions) that about 5 of the hikes in the area would be do-able by hiking up (we love to go up more so than down) and taking the cablecars down to avoid any concerns of slipping and falling because of the steepness of the trails. My questions to you all is have any of you done these particular hikes and can you comment on the upward direction and the safety. We tried to pick ones that did not speak of 'scree'. We hiked the Schilthorn from Murren and took the cable car down a couple of years ago. That trail had some areas that were fairly tricky to navigate going up. I would not have been comfortable climbing up that trail with our son on one of our backs. So if you have done the Schilthorn and can compare these hikes to that trail, that would be even better!!

Langfluh via Spielboden
Hannig and Mellig
Gemsweg (okopfad)
Gspon-Saas Grund, The High Route

Also, we're planning to go to Zermatt at least once during our stay. Any favorite hikes that you might recommend there?

Thanks for all your assistance!

Ingo Jun 7th, 2004 01:18 PM

Langfluh via Spielboden can be a little tricky above Spielboden. But you could stop and go back any time you feel uncomfortable. At least you can go up to Spielboden. But go to Langfluh by cable car at least - it is well worth it.

The path to Plattjen is easy (although quite uphill!). If you plan to continue beyond Plattjen hut to the top station of the gondola and go down by gondola - there are huge boulders there, sometimes I had to jump from one to the other, but it is not really dangerous (not sure with a baby on my back, though).

Hannig is easy. I guess the Oekopfad will be easy, too, no personal experience, though.

Gspon - Saas Grund: not sure about directions of the High Route you mentioned. Leads this route to the middle station of the gondola to Kreuzboden? If yes, the last part before approaching Kreuzboden is at some places a bit narrow, and it goes through rocky patches - and to your right side it goes far down ... But if it goes from the pastures above Saas Balen down to Saas Grund it is easy and well doable.

For Zermatt I recommend to go up to Sunnegga by funicular and from there hike down to the small hamlet Findeln. From there continue to either Blausee lake (up) and return from there via Sunnegga, or hike toward Gornergrat, maybe until you reach Riffelalp hotel. It depends on the time and the money you are willing to spend whether you then decide to take the cog-railway to go first up to Gornergrat and from there down to Zermatt (recommended for the views) or skip the trip to the top and head down by the cog-railway immediately.

hacsutton Jun 7th, 2004 04:20 PM

As always Ingo you provide awesome, detailed information!! I'm hoping we'll be ok as long as we avoid the descents. I appreciate your time and insights. Just curious... How many trips have you done in Switzerland?? It seems like you know the country inside and out based on other posts I have been reading!

Thanks again,

Ingo Jun 8th, 2004 01:50 PM

You're welcome!

For your curiosity: must have been more than 20 trips during the last 10 years. Not included one-day trips w/o staying overnight (like my two day trips to Basel two weeks ago).


sunstar Jun 13th, 2004 06:23 PM

Saas Fee brings back some good memories. Just inside Saas Fee are some nice walks. Someone mentioned Hannig hike. Very steep, but good workout. Very safe also.

I also walked up to the Hutte and walked back down to Saas Grund. On the way back down, you can see Saas Fee across the Saasental valley perched high above it all.

I rode mountain bile over to Saas Allmagel.

The thing about Saas Fee I remember the most was the absence of English speaking tourists. Saas fee is a hot spot for German tourists.

I like Saas Fee. I hope I can get back there again!

Oh and btw, Just across from where the post busses bring people in is the tourist office. You can get cool hiking and mountain biking maps there.

hacsutton Jun 15th, 2004 07:12 PM

Thanks for the info! Yep, I'm in the process of brushing up on my german!!

padams421 Jun 16th, 2004 05:17 AM

As a parent who has hiked in Europe and North America with 1 yr olds, I just want to remind you that your 1 yr old will be mobile (likely to be walking, and certainly crawling). We found that we made the most forward progress on trails when our sons were napping in the back carrier. Once kids are mobile, they don't want to spend too many hours in a carrier even if the scenery is spectacular. 1 yr olds are fascinated by a stone on the ground or a flower, but mountain vistas usually don't hold much interest. We found that 2-3 hour hikes worked great but that we couldn't expect to hike all day, every day. Just be aware that you won't be able to cover the same distances at the same speeds as if you were without the child. There will be diaper changes, feeding, etc. to slow you down. If you take the attitude that you are introducing your child to nature (and sometimes they need to get out of the carier and explore on the ground for a while) rather than thinking that your child will accompany you on your hiking trip, you will have a memorable vacation. Take lots of pictures too. Our sons are now 6 and 8 and fascinated with seeing where they had been that they can't remember.

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