2022 July: hiking Saas-Fee resort, Switzerland

Five refreshing nights were well spent visiting the beautiful car-free resort of Saas-Fee, the main village in Saastal (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, Switzerland. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 5,900 feet (1,800 meters) elevation, surrounded by thirteen peaks above 13,123 feet (4,000 meters). This year-round, classic ski resort has a heart of well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (Bustling Zermatt and the Matterhorn lie in the adjacent valley branching west.)

Riding the lifts of Saas-Fee (July 15–18) provided a well-needed break between two strenuous treks: the Tour du Mont Blanc and Swiss Via Alpina (National Route 1), during 5.5 weeks in the Alps. From June 28–August 5 in 2022, we walked 200+ miles and ascended 56,000 vertical feet. Alpenwild.com sponsored my photography and booked our epic Self-Guided packages. Luggage transfers provided between comfortable hotels lightened our day packs every day (except for three overnights in refuges). See Tom’s abridged gallery “2022 Alps favorites: TMB, Via Alpina, Saas Fee“; or full portfolio “2022 Alps: all TMB, Via Alpina, Saas Fee

Alphubel peak. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: Alphubel peak rises above Saas-Fee village.

Alphubel peak at sunrise seen from Hotel Allalin, Saas-Fee village, Switzerland, Europe. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: Our room’s deck in the luxurious Hotel Allalin afforded a great view of Alphubel peak, seen here at sunrise in Saas-Fee.

Allalinhorn at sunrise. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: The Allalinhorn during sunrise.

The scenic Gspon Hohenweg day hike was tougher than an internet article said (adding 800 feet of gain), forcing us to speed walk to finish before the last lift down. Gspon Hohenweg was actually 9 miles with 2650 feet cumulative ascent, 1063 ft descent (measured on Gaia GPS and Suunto altimeter). A sunny weather forecast had tempted us to walk too soon, with bodies still exhausted from the strenuous TMB finished just two days previously. TIPS: Start with the earliest bus from Saas-Fee to Stalden-Saas bus stop. Buy a one-way ticket to the top of the Stalden- Gspon Luftseilbahn (Cable Car). At the end of the hike, take Kreuzboden gondola down to Saas Grund, where a bus ascends to Saas-Fee. (Be sure to examine hiking descriptions closely, as some only report net altitude gain, instead of cumulative vertical ascent, which more accurately represents the actual work required, as I always report here on PhotoSeek.com.)

Below: the Hohenweg starts in the charming village of Gspon:

Scenes from the Gspon Hohenweg (9 miles, 2650 feet ascent, 1063 ft descent). Tips: Start with the earliest bus from Saas-Fee to Stalden-Saas bus stop. Buy a one-way ticket to the top of the Stalden- Gspon Luftseilbahn (Cable Car). The hike ends by taking Kreuzboden gondola down to Saas Grund, where a bus ascends to Saas-Fee. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)

A butterfly and bumblebee share a magenta pink Knapweed (Centaurea genus) flower. Scenes from the Gspon Hohenweg (9 miles, 2650 feet ascent, 1063 ft descent). Tips: Start with the earliest bus from Saas-Fee to Stalden-Saas bus stop. Buy a one-way ticket to the top of the Stalden- Gspon Luftseilbahn (Cable Car). The hike ends by taking Kreuzboden gondola down to Saas Grund, where a bus ascends to Saas-Fee. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: A butterfly and bumblebee share a magenta pink Knapweed (Centaurea genus) flower.

Saas-Fee village, seen from hiking the Gspon Hohenweg in Switzerland (9 miles, 2650 feet ascent, 1063 ft descent). From left to right are: Allalinhorn; Alphubel peak; and Dom (4,545 m or 14,911 ft), the main summit of the Mischabel group (German: Mischabelhörner), which is the highest massif lying entirely within Switzerland. Tips: Start with the earliest bus from Saas-Fee to Stalden-Saas bus stop. Buy a one-way ticket to the top of the Stalden- Gspon Luftseilbahn (Cable Car). The hike ends by taking Kreuzboden gondola down to Saas Grund, where a bus ascends to Saas-Fee. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: along the Gspon Hohenweg, admire peaks rising above Saas-Fee village: from left to right are the Allalinhorn, Alphubel, and Dom (4,545 m or 14,911 ft), the main summit of the Mischabel group (German: Mischabelhörner), which is the highest massif lying entirely within Switzerland. Behind Dom lies busier Zermatt, hidden to the west.

In Saas-Fee, we enjoyed sightseeing on the Spielboden-Längfluh lift. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: In Saas-Fee, we enjoyed sightseeing on the Spielboden-Längfluh lift.
Below: A short stroll from the lift reaches this turquoise pond; on the right is Dom, the seventh highest summit in the Alps.

On the right is Dom (4,545 m or 14,911 ft), the main summit of the Mischabel group (German: Mischabelhörner), which is the highest massif lying entirely within Switzerland. Dom is the seventh highest summit in the Alps, overall. This pond is reached via the Spielboden-Längfluh lift from Saas-Fee, the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau in the Pennine Alps at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)

Below: Roped climbers descend a glacier above Längfluh.
Climbers descend a glacier above Längfluh, Saas-Fee, Valais canton, Switzerland, Europe. In Saas-Fee, we enjoyed sightseeing on the Spielboden-Längfluh lift. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley) in the district of Visp. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)

Traditional rodent-proof granary in Saas-Fee village. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: one of the many historic rodent-proof granaries preserved in Saas-Fee village.

For a rewarding walk above Saas-Fee village, we rode the Hannig gondola round trip for a hike to the peak of Mallig (2.6 miles round trip with 1050 feet gain). Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: For a rewarding outing directly above Saas-Fee, we rode the Hannig gondola round trip for a hike to the peak of Mallig (2.6 miles round trip with 1050 feet gain).

Carved wooden face. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, (Saas Valley), in the district of Visp, canton of Valais, in Switzerland, Europe. The village perches on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) elevation, surrounded 13 peaks above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). This classic ski resort features a car-free city center and well-preserved Swiss wood architecture. (© Tom Dempsey / PhotoSeek.com)
Above: a carved wooden face in Saas-Fee.

In four days based in Saas-Fee, we walked 16 miles, accumulating 3800 feet of vertical ascent and 2200 feet descent.

The above photo highlights are excerpted from my trip gallery “SWITZERLAND: Saas Fee“.

We were ecstatic to return to Europe since our last visit five years ago (in 2017 to the UK). We previously visited the Alps in 2016, 2013, 2011, 2005, & 1981.

To plan a trip, see Tom’s online guide to the Alps.

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