Hangebrucke, Belalp, Stausee Gibidum and the Massaweg

A Riederalp walk posted on 24/04/19 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 16/05/19

A Circular walk from Ried Morel (alternatively Morel or Riederalp) taking in an easy descent through woodland to glaciated rock scenery and the hanging bridge over the Massa which is the water flowing from the Aletsch Glacier. Then crossing peaceful alpine pastures to make the ascent up the steps to Hotel Belalp before dropping again on paths and roads to the dam at the end of Stausee Gibidum. The final section follows the scenic Massweg trail back to Reid Morel.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 11h15[?]
Distance Distance : 22.75km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1983m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1977m
Highest point Highest point : 2139m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1175m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Alps
Location Location : Riederalp
Starting point Starting point : N 46.359559° / E 8.0339°
Download :
Oberaletsch The greedy locals will have your food. Riederhorn from Hotel Belalp. Villa Cassel on the left. Church at Hotel Belalp

Description

It is not possible to drive up to Riederalp, you must walk up or take a cable car. This walk starts from the parking at Ried-Morel, alternatively, you could start at Morel in the valley bottom and take the cable car from there.

(D) From the parking, walk to the cable car station and take the cable car to Riederalp. Leave the cable car station and take the road through the town passing the supermarket with it on your right. Walk along the road passing hotels until the road takes a bend past (or go up steps beside) 'Berghaus Toni' and you come to a signposted path.

(1) Turn left and follow the signposted track to Hotel Riederfurka and Hangebrucke. At Hotel Riederfurka, go through a gate and into the pasture passing signposts for different trails.

(2) The Via Alpina, Aletsch Panorama Weg and UNESCO Panorama Weg all converge in this area. The signposts are well marked and you will always follow well-marked trails downhill to the Hangebrucke for part of the time you will share the same trail as the Aletsch Panorama Weg.
The path descends through tranquil woodland and into an area of smooth glaciated slabs. Cross the rocks to descend again. Soon you will see the river Massa which is the meltwater coming from the snout of the Aletsch Glacier. Turn a corner and the Hangebrucke will be ahead of and below you.

(3) Descend the steps to and cross the Hangebrucke with the waters swirling and crashing below you. If you have visited the museum at the cable car station below the Bettmerhorn you will know about the incredible volume of water which comes from the Aletsch Glacier every year to be stored in Stausee Gibidum.
After crossing the bridge, ascend over more glaciated rock to a signpost where you can cut back on yourself towards Hotel Belalp. We took time to cross the rocky slabs, enjoy the view and eat some sandwiches. But watch out the local goats are very friendly and will try to steal your food.

(4) From the signpost, follow the path uphill through some light woodland and to the beautiful and peaceful Oberaletsch pasture. Here there are a few traditional farms and a small church; the sound of cowbells and the distant, ever-present rumble of the river provide the soundtrack. It's another good place to eat your sandwiches before taking the path uphill towards Hotel Belalp.

(5) Just before Hotel Belalp, the path climbs up a broad, rocky gully via some well-maintained stone steps which zigzag up the hill. These are used for herding sheep to and from the pastures. From the top of the steps, you will soon arrive at Hotel Belalp; another good place to take refreshments, look around the small church and enjoy the views over to Riederalp before you head off on the next stage.

(6) From Hotel Belalp, follow the well-marked path over the pasture towards Egga. It gently descends into woodland which can be a relief from the sun on a hot day. Always head to Egga; you will come out of the trees and down a good path on a broad spur above the village. Just before the parking place takes the path on your left between houses, it means that you are off the road. You will cross the road this to follow the path again, past more fields and into more woodland.

(7) At a bridge over the river and either take the man-made track or the signposted path downhill to the road.

(8) Turn left and follow the road, passing some houses and then a turn off on the right.

(9) Keep going straight. The turnoff on the right leads down to the bottom of the dam and can be taken if you want to miss it out.

(10) Descend the metal stairs onto the dam wall and cross this taking time to enjoy the views over the lake and down the valley. If you took the via ferrata, depending on the way you went, you will arrive at either side of the dam.

(11) At the far side of the dam, climb the stairs and then follow the Massaweg path downhill, which is steeply at first, to join the good track/road beneath the dam and beside a bridge.

(12) Follow the Massaweg walk south. It is easy to follow and there are information boards providing fun facts and useful information about how water was channeled this way for irrigating the fields. The track goes past a house and then the path leaves the man-made road and takes a footpath on the right.

(13) Follow the footpath, eventually passing beneath some steep cliffs where there are chains for handrails. Keep a look out for the remains of the wooden troughs and pipes once used to channel the water. As you near the end of the valley with views over Brig, the path starts to turn a little to the east and you will come across paths heading of right and downhill towards Bitsch. Ignore these paths and stay on the Massaweg towards Ried-Morel. You will pass a seat on a rocky spur with a good view over Brig and towards the Simplonpass.

(14) Keep straight ahead. The path traverses the hillside in a northeasterly direction, cutting through pasture until it joins the road to Ried-Morel.

(15) Cross the road and follow it for a short way until you pick up the Massaweg again as it leaves the road on your left slanting upwards. It crosses more pasture and intersects with a path on the left and a house on your right. Turn right with the house on your right and follow the path downhill to the road.

(16) From here, the path cuts through the zig zag of the road in Ried-Morel and comes out opposite the small supermarket.

(17) Turn left and follow the road back to your car.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Ried-Morel car park
1 : km 2.19 - alt. km 2.19 - Signposted track to Hotel Riederfurka
2 : km 3.01 - alt. km 3.01 - Path splitting
3 : km 6.61 - alt. km 6.61
4 : km 7.66 - alt. km 7.66
5 : km 10.42 - alt. km 10.42
6 : km 10.84 - alt. km 10.84 - Hotel Belalp
7 : km 13.62 - alt. km 13.62 - Junction with Alpina Red RD96
8 : km 14.05 - alt. km 14.05 - Junction with the road
9 : km 14.82 - alt. km 14.82
10 : km 15.41 - alt. km 15.41
11 : km 15.75 - alt. km 15.75
12 : km 16.31 - alt. km 16.31 - Massaweg south
13 : km 17.37 - alt. km 17.37
14 : km 20.16 - alt. km 20.16
15 : km 21.99 - alt. km 21.99 - Junction with Riederstrasse
16 : km 22.43 - alt. km 22.43
17 : km 22.58 - alt. km 22.58
D/A : km 22.74 - alt. km 22.74 - Ried-Morel car park

Useful Information

A long walk which can be tiring on a hot day, fortunately, the frequent wooded sections offer some relief from the sun. It is possible to do this in good approach shoes and the paths are all well maintained and navigation is easy as they are well signposted.

Take water but you can also buy food/drink at Hotel Belalp, but it is quite expensive.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The scenery around Riederalp is amazing if this is a one time visit take a detour to Villa Cassell before taking the path down to the bridge.

Obviously, the Hangebrucke is one of the highlights of this walk, I love the tranquil pasture at Oberaletsch and the sheep steps up to Hotel Belalp.

The crossing of the dam at Stausee Gibidum is another good part of the walk and the Massaweg trail is interesting enough to make you forget about weary feet.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.