A: Excursions - Local half day or less:
1: Lauchernalp local mountain path walks:
Well maintained and signposted mountain walking paths higher than the level of the chalet surround Lauchernalp and detailed walking maps can be obtained from the Lötschental Tourismus office at the Wiler cable car station. Most of these local walks can be completed in less than 60 minutes.
Pre – breakfast – post – dinner walks:
For quick and easy 30-60 minute walks proceed up the main Lauchernalp village road and to the left of the main cable car station take the signposted path to HOCKENALP, a small hamlet with a village church, and beyond which [towards FALDERMALP] is a classic Swiss mountain meadow with bright alpine flowers, lush green pasture, a thunderous creek, and a roaring waterfall.
The mountain path to FISCHBIEL, which is accessed by turning right from the top of the main village road above the higher Lauchernalp village chalets, is also sign posted and contains an equally beautiful mountain meadow, creek and waterfall – a delightful hidden valley tucked behind FISCHBIEL – and a stunning view of the BIETSHHORN which sits on the opposite side of the valley.
The chalet also has excellent views of the Bietschhorn (3934 m)
You can return to Lauchernalp village via the main Wiler – Lauchernalp road which is a 10 minute walk.
For a third walk go straight up above the village to the lower slopes of the Hockenhorn, past the second ski lift station, and keep walking ahead – the higher you go the better the view will be – but the 3293 metre summit via a glacier which is skied over in winter will take a full day so time your return accordingly.
A fourth walk is via the tangy scent of the deciduous pine forest – lime green in spring, mid green in summer, and golden yellow in autumn – below Lauchernalp village. To access this path walk down the main village road to the ALPINE VILLAGE located below the chalet on the right and take the signposted path to Wiler – the complete walk takes over an hour down and longer back – so time your return accordingly.
The track is the old Wiler - Lauchernalp road so is wide and easy to walk but beware the steep sides and craggy cliffs below!
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE VIEWS FROM CHALET DIE GLETSCHER:
You can enjoy views of the Jungfrau-Bietschhorn-Aletsch UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE area – the first region of the Swiss Alps to receive an outstanding nature classification - without moving from the comfort of the chalet.
Chalet die Gletscher is located just opposite and has spectacular views of the Bietschhorn Mountain and the Langgletscher [“long glacier”] that is an arm of that starts from the same source as the Great Aletsch glacier.
The Langgletscher derives its ancient name from the fact that it once occupied most of the Lötschental valley – most of the valley that you view from the chalet was once covered in ice.
You can also see the start of the River Lonza which emerges from the ice and snow at the base of the glacier.
From the sitting room area of the salon, all three bedrooms, and all three balconies you can view the awesome presence of the Mt Bietschhorn from its valley base to its 3934 meter summit.
The Bietschhorn has two glaciers that are clearly visible in summer [they are covered in ice in winter] from their glassy blue icy appearance and the small glacier creeks that emerge from the terminal moraine. The best view of these glaciers is from the second panel of the floor to ceiling windows of the master bedroom.
The Great Aletsch glacier [Grosser Aletsch Gletscher] starts at the top of the Lötschental valley – and runs into the neighbouring Rhone Valley – and requires and half or full day excursion to view – or a two day hike over the pass above the Langgletscher [lunch is served in summer huts below [Anen Hutte] and above [Hollandia Hutte] the glacier.
LOCAL RESTAURANTS IN LAUCHERNALP AND WILER-KIPPEL:
Restaurant Bärgsunna in Lauchernalp village has an excellent Swiss, Italian, and French cuisine and is located just above the main Lauchernalp cable car station and the and the Restaurant Zudili [web:www.zudili.ch – tel 027 9393333] has a top floor cocktail bar and lower floor coffee shop and dining room – all with excellent views towards to Langgletscher – and both are open in winter and summer [may- oct].Wiler and Kippel villages have about a dozen restaurants between them most part of a hotel but open to all members of the
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Chalet bookings may be made online in PRICES AND AVAILABILITY.
2: Kippel and Blatten – ancient medieval villages.
Kippel virtually adjoins Wiler village so can easily be accessed from LAUCHERNALP by car or cable car.
The preserved village enclave is situated next to the Lötschberg Hotel and has a small local museum open on Thursday afternoons, intricate local wood carving, traditional stock enclosures under ancient village homes – still used to this day – and the delightful 16 century DORKELLER INN for a relaxing pint [humpen] or meal.
A great view of the Lonza River that starts from the melting ice of the upper valley glacier [which you can see from Chalet die Gletscher] can be seen from the lower end of the village beyond the renaissance colonnade of the village baroque church.
Blatten village, a twenty minute drive towards the upper valley glacier – the LANGGLETSCHER – also has a charming array of 15 and 16 century traditional Valais wooden village and agricultural buildings – an ancient stone bridge over the Lonza River – and the EDLEWIESS HOTEL will do for a drink or meal.
Because of its isolated location the Lötschental Valley a great store of ancient myths and legends – such as wild creatures dressed in animal skins and furs chasing local inhabitants – and hence the hideous face masks [Tschäggättä] adorn many of the village homes in Kippel, Blatten ,Wiler and Lauchernalp – to repel these scary monsters.
Wiler village has also preserved most of its ancient medieval wooden village houses and farming buildings – the later of which are still in use today by 21st century local Swiss farmers.
3: The Langgletscher – “long glacier”
The Lötschental [“hidden”] valley had maintained ancient farming communities long before the Romans passed through the valley to travel from Sion to border outposts at Thun and Berne via the Lötschen Pass which lies about one kilometre from the chalet to the left of the higher mountain behind the chalet.
Eons before them most of the valley was covered with a massive glacier the modern remnants of which, in the upper Lotschental valley, is known as LANGGLETSCHER or “long glacier”.
This part of the 824 square kilometre UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE Jungfrau – Aletsch – Bietschhorn region, the first area within the Swiss Alps to receive an outstanding nature classification, as well as Mt Bietschhorn from base to summit, can be comfortably viewed from the chalet itself but a closer inspection “to feel the ice”, makes a superb local excursion requiring a 10 minute drive from Wiler village via Blatten or a 2 and one half hour walk from Lauchernalp village via the HOHENWEG [“ high path”] that runs to a point just above the base of the glacier.
This path proceeds via Fischbiel to Fafleralp which is located below the base of the glacier. If you continue up to the Anen Hutte via the signposted track from Fafleralp you can purchase a served lunch at the hutte in summer and take a quick dip in the very refreshing blue lake besides the glacier before commencing the 2 ½ hour walk back to the chalet. If you don’t want to walk home there is a regular POST BUS service from Fafleralp along the valley floor road via Blatten and Wiler where you can take the cable car or walk up to Lauchernalp village.
During the walk along the hohenweg in summer you will pass close below the snow capped towering presence of Mt Bietschhorn and also enjoy the usual Swiss scenic delights of flowering mountain meadows, lush valleys, cool forests, bubbling creeks and roaring waterfalls.
4: Kandersteg Park and Lakes:
The Blausee Lake can be easily accessed by car as it is situated in a large public park just before Kandersteg village.
The Oeschinen Lake is a spectacular mountain lake formed from a rock fall, fed by glacier streams and surrounded by craggy cliffs is an unforgettable sight and a great picnic spot.
In winter the Kandersteg ski area runs from the side of this lake down to the village and has the best learner slopes in the region.
The drive from Lauchernalp village via the Lötschberg tunnel will take about one hour – allow two hours for bus –rail travel.
5: Leukerbad hot springs spa and baths:
Leukerbad a traditional bathing town which also has a large modern 75 kilometre ski field is located close by in a neighbouring valley and can be walked in 4 hours from the chalet via the Restipass above the hamlet of Kummenalp [which also has a Inn open in summer] – or by car via Gampel – Steg and the Rhone valley in a 45 minute car drive from Wiler towards Sion.
A proposal is currently being considered to link the Lauchernalp and Leukerbad ski areas by cable car – this would triple the LAUCHERNALP ski area and provide the 1500 meter Leukerbad family ski resort with access to Lauchernalp’s 2000-3000 metre all season snow and mainly intermediate and advanced ski slopes.
Leukerbad, known for its hot springs since Roman times, is a famous Swiss spa village and has the largest alpine thermal baths and spa resort in Europe where 4 million litres of water at 51 degrees C flows daily into the otherwise icy indoor and outdoor pools - and every day of the year is a very popular half day or full day family excursion with an array of bathing pools to suit every taste.
Massage and related therapeutic treatments are also available at most baths.
The largest – and most popular with children is BURGERBAD http://www.burgerbad.ch/de/welcome.cfm – tel +41 274722020] - which has seven baths and a glorious alpine setting surrounded by snow capped mountains, escarpments, forest cover, and pure mountain air.
Whether visiting in summer or winter don’t miss this great health, nature and sporting experience.
6: Brig city and castle:
Brig is situated on the road before the Aletsch glacier about 45 minutes car drive from the chalet via Gampel - Steg and the Rhone valley.
Brig has a range of restaurants in the old town, museums, parks, good shopping, gyms, baths, and the local noble’s castle – the Stockalper Schloss – which is open to the public and well worth a visit.
7: Sion city and vineyards:
Accessed by car via Gampel - Steg and the Rhone valley travelling towards Geneva, Sion is an ancient Roman town which has preserved its medieval and classical centre and is dominated by charming traditional Swiss vineyards on the surrounding hills overlooking the city.
A tourist office well marked in the centre of the city – SION TOURISMUS – can provide details [brochures and maps] of local architectural and viticultural tours.
B : FULL DAY EXCURSIONS IN THE VALAIS REGION:
8: Lötschental valley walks:
Accessed from the chalet the Lotschental valley has 250 kilometres of walking trails many visible from the chalet. Summer hiking in the Swiss Alps is a unique experience for both body and soul.
The valley can be walked from the entry at the Rhone Valley up to the upper reaches of the LANGGLETSCHER and over 50 huttes – most within the JUNGFRAU - ALETSCH – BIESTSHORN - UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE region provide summer meals and overnight accommodation if needed.
Maps and hutte bookings may be made at the LOTSHENTAL TORISMUS office at the wiler Cable Car Station. If you get lost – in spite of the numerous signposts – simply head downhill – as the valley floor has a sealed road and public transport back to the chalet.
9: The Great Aletsch Glacier – “grosser Aletsch Gletscher”
Twenty three kilometres long makes this glacier the longest and most celebrated in the Swiss Alps and visiting it requires a 1 -1 ¼ hour drive from the chalet via Gampel-Steg and the Rhone valley and Brig.
You can walk below on and above the glacier to view its snake like twists and turns and awesome size and reach. For more information go to www.wallisguide.ch or www.welterbe.ch
If you don’t believe in global warming you probably will after viewing this magnificent force of nature, which while it is moving down the valley floor at the cracking pace of 180 metres per year, is actually receding by 35 -70 metres each year. See it while you can.
10: The MATTERHORN and Zermatt:
The mountain resort of Zermatt, which has great skiing in both summer and winter, towers over the majestic sculptural peak of the Matterhorn and is a 1 and ½ hour drive from the chalet in Lauchernalp village via Gampel - Steg and the Rhone valley with the turn off at VISP – from where you can also take a train to Zermatt – as parking at the resort is restricted to an outlying hamlet adjoining Zermatt which is then accessed by the same train.
Zermatt has excellent restaurants for lunch and its stores sell every designer label known to mankind.
A highlight in summer, and a great way to view the MATERHORN, is to ski on the snow covered glacier on the lower slopes of the Matterhorn. Skis and all equipment can be hired for the day or half day.
C : ONE TO TWO DAY EXCURSIONS:
11: The Glacier Express:
The world famous Glacier Express train starts from Zermatt and stops at Visp at about 10am and Brig shortly after.
The town of Visp is about a 25 minute drive from Wiler via Gampel Steg and the Rhone valley and tickets for the train can be reserved and purchased at the Visp SBB train station [which also has a good car park and sells English newspapers] - or you can book tickets online at www.glacierexpress.ch
The 300 kilometre 8 hour train journey over some of the highest mountain train lines in the world terminates at St Moritz.
The Glacier Express has special panoramic roof windows, serves excellent food and wine at your table and travels across 291 viaducts and countless mountain valleys, villages, and passes – from the peaks of Valais to the Engadine region.
The journey ends at St Moritz [which for keen shoppers can comfortably take care of any credit left on the cards!].at about 3 pm – and you can then take a fast train [4-6 hours] primarily via non alpine areas to return to Visp/Brig or stay overnight at St Moritz which has both budget and high end accommodation – and if you wish you can do the return 8 hour trip the next day on the glacier Express but will need a new ticket as all tickets are one way. Tickets are priced from 99 euros – for a second class seat – 130 euros for a first class seat.
Lunch on the Glacier Express is served with traditional tablecloths and fine china and drinks in a special crooked glass designed to defy gravity as the train climbs upwards. No nation does trains better than the Swiss and the Glacier Express trains are ultra modern rolling stock with pneumatic suspension and full vibration control.
A rotary snow plough at the front of the train can clear up to 19 tonnes of snow a minute so the 8 hour timetable is always maintained. Regular Trains from St Moritz link up directly with all Swiss airport cities – and hire cars are available from the train station.
12: The Jungfrau – Grindelwald village and the Eiger:
The Jungfrau with Grindelwald and the Eiger [first picture below] can be visited in a full day excursion from the chalet via Goppenstein and the Lötschberg Tunnel – down the Kandersteg valley via Interlaken - in a one hour drive – plus the 20 minute train car journey.
The Jungfraujoch half day train excursion leaves from Grindelwald village and unbelievably exits at the top of the Jungfrau Mountain – for a sit down lunch in a restaurant [see centre picture below]set among the clouds and snow capped peaks of the Swiss Alps!
13: Lötschental Tourismus Office:
The Lötschental Tourist office located at the Wiler cable car station, just below Lauchernalp, can provide all local and Valais region scenic, sporting, and cultural information – and issue free of charge scenic brochures and road and walking maps for all local attractions.
Most of the European client bookings for Chalet Die Gletscher are made by Lötschental Tourismus and the office has Swiss, German, French, Italian and English speaking staff.
Tel: + 41 279388888
14: Map of Lauchernalp and Lötschental Valley:
See below ------
SION city is to the left of GAMPEL - STEG as you face the map and BRIG city is to the right of GAMPEL –STEG – both cities are linked by the Rhone VALLEY motorway – indicated by the blue[Rhone River] and black [autobahn]lines at the base of the map.
The Great Aletsch glacier [Unesco WH Grosser Aletsch Gletscher] is shown on the top right – Unesco WH Mt Bietschhorn [orange caption] – is also shown in the top right of the map opposite Lauchernalp [blue caption]
Leukerbad [spa and baths] is accessed via the second valley to the left of GAMPEL – STEG.
Kandersteg [Park and lakes] is shown in the top left of the map
VISP [Glacier Express] is just past Raron towards Brig city – 20 minutes drive from Wiler.
The red lines on the map are signposted Lötschental walking trails.
MAP FOLLOWS ----------
Click on map to enlarge