Our first visit in 2007 was a little cloudy for taking the gondola up to Belalp so we opted for the 3 hr hike through the woods on the outskirts of Blatten in the direction of the dam and down the gorge path, cut into the rock high above the Massa Gorge, taking you down to the end of the valley with fine views over the Rhone Valley and around to Ried Morel following water channels. From Ried Morel there are fine views towards Fiesch and a gondola can be caught down to Morel in the valley below and the local train station.
A very pleasant easy hike and along the route are info boards (german and french) regarding the water.
Belalp to Riederalp Hike
In 2008 we were back at Blatten, the skies were clear plus a new suspension bridge over the Masa Gorge had just opened the week before giving access to a new hiking route from Belalp, high above Blatten, to Riederalp cutting short a longer hike of 8 hours down to approx 5 hrs.
Lovely variety of views and terrain starting off from the alpine village of Belalp, reached by gondola from Blatten, through alpine meadows with tiny chapels, descent to the Aletsch glacier edge, across the new suspension bridge over the Massa gorge and finally ascending through the Aletsch forest to Riederalp to a welcome hut. Its a long hike with ascent and descents of over 500m, with some step sections but the views are well worth while - just take plenty of water and wear good shoes.
The web link below provides more info and even a google earth file showing a virtual route - although it doesn't do justice to the steep sections!
Too many pics to show her so more in a travelogue if interested.
Blatten - Belalp
Blatten is an idyllic resort in the swiss canton of Valais, a short bus ride from the valley town of Brig offering numerous sporting activities amidst a spectacular setting and easy access to the UNESCO World Heritage landscape of the Atlesch glacier. Belalp is a popular winter sports resort above Blatten, easily reached by gondola.
We have visited here twice - in the summers of 2007 and 2008 each time to do different hikes - in 2007 the Masaweg following the gorge from Blatten to Reid Morel.
In 2008 we were back to tackle the new hiking route from Belalp to Riederalp across the new scary suspension bridge.
Hanging Bridge Hike - Belalp to Riederalp II
Down in the meadow was another picturesque alpine chapel and now we could see the dam in the Massa Gorge.
soon the bridge was in sight but first we had to scramble over rock - where the glacier has now receded flow, flattened and smoothed over the years.
...a short detour to the end and we were looking straight on to the end of the glacier
at last crossing the bridge - a bit of a sway and springy under foot but wide enough for 2 to pass each other.
view of the hanging bridge
I could even look down into the gorge way way below...
Climbing up the other side we soon reached a small lake - the Grunsee - with good views back over the path we had taken across the meadows
then followed a long climb up through the Aletsch forest with some of the oldest pine trees in Europe and up to Riedfurka where there was a welcome mountain hut where we could rehydrate before dropping down to Riederalp and the gondola and train journey back to Brig.
An adventurous hike but lots of variety and interest.