Geological Significance · Views · Wildflowers
Be sure to check all lift operating times so you don't end up stranded!
This trail is popular for a good reason! The easy grades and amazing views make for a fully enjoyable outing. Being lift-served keeps this route surprisingly accessible and enables high alpine views for much less effort.
Highlights include the Bettmerhorn viewpoint over the glacier, the Märjelensee lakes, a welcoming hut, and a kilometer-long, underground tunnel.
From the valley floor (Betten train station), take the Betten-Bettmeralp cable car up to Bettmeralp. Walk through the hamlet of Bettmeralp to the Bettmeralp-Bettmerhorn lift. Exit the top of this lift to the left and head out on the wooden boardwalk towards the Bettmerhorn viewpoint. Prepare to be wowed by your first glimpse of the magnificent Aletsch Glacier. This is the longest glacier in the alps.
Follow sign posts to the Märjelensee Gletscherstube mountain hut. The trail winds down the ridge to the southwest through rocky outcrops and grassy patches. After a few trail junctions, the path turns towards the glacier for good. For the next couple miles, the glacier will be continually in your sights. Continue on this mostly gentle, traversing path, paralleling the glacier over stable ground (very few loose rocks).
Turn the corner towards the wide-open Märjelen area. Descend to the pretty stream that burbles downhill, emptying the lakes into the side of the glacier. An optional side-trip to the edge of the glacier brings you to eye-level with this icy behemoth. The out-and-back path for this side-trip is marked with paint on rocks, but it is fainter than the main trail. Some scrambling and a rock hopping across a stream may be necessary.
Back on the main trail, head uphill to the east - keeping the stream on your left. After passing a few scattered ponds, the Gletscherstube Märjelen hut comes into view. Relax with a meal or a drink in this pretty meadow setting.
From the hut, head downhill on the wide gravel access road to just below the dammed lake. The entrance to the 1-km long, level tunnel is set into the grassy hillside. This tunnel (Tälligrattunnel) was built in the 1980s to supply water to the Aletsch region in the Valais canton. Don't be put off by the drippy beginning of the tunnel passage - the drips mostly go away after the first few yards. Although the tunnel is lit by electric bulbs, some folks will have an easier time avoiding the large puddles and running water by using a headlamp or phone's flashlight. In mid-June it was chilly inside the tunnel and a light jacket was welcome.
Emerge from the tunnel, out into the sunshine and the Aletsch Arena plateau. The trail becomes a wide, dirt road. Follow signposts back to the Fiescheralp lift. Pass by some pretty valleys, overlooks and several old shepherd huts. Either take the Fiescheralp lift back down to the town of Fiesch or complete the loop by contouring through the ski runs and back to Bettmeralp.
Flora & Fauna
Good variety of perky wildflowers along this trail!
Shared By: Megan W